Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae Origin: White atractylodes rhizome
is the rhizome of the perennial herbaceous plant Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz., of the family Asteraceae/Compositae. Native to east Asia, it is grown on pastures and waste ground in China, Japan and Korea.
The perennial grows to about 0.5 m by 0.4 m. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
In China, the plant is produced in Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian and other provinces. It is collected in November, cleared of soil, stems and leaves, dried in the sun or roasted, macerated in water or water in which rice has been washed, sliced, and used unprepared or stir-baked with bran or soil. The berb stir-baked charred yellow is called charred white atractylodes rhizome
Bitter and sweet in flavor, warm in nature, and related to the spleen and stomach channels. Functions:
, consolidates superficies, removes dampness, induces diuresis and prevents miscarriage. White atractylodes rhizome
is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. The root is a bitter-sweet tonic herb that acts mainly upon the the digestive system and strengthens the spleen.
Being sweet and warm for invigorating qi
, bitter and warm for removing dampness, it mainly invigorates the spleen and stomach-qi
, removes dampness and activates the spleen. It is often used for deficiency of the spleen and stomach and water retention.
In addition, sufficiency of the spleen-qi
enables superficial qi
to protect the body from diseases, water to circulate and to prevent midcarriage. Therefore, the herb has the effects of consolidating superficies to stop sweating, inducing diuresis and preventing miscarriage. Applications:
1. It is often used in combination with ginseng
, poria and liquorice
for invigorating qi
and strengthening the spleen, such as Sijunzi Decoction, to treat deficiency of spleen-qi
, anorexia, gastro-abdominal distention and fullness, lassitude and loose stool; with astragalus root, dangshen
root and other herbs for invigorating qi
and elevating yang
, to treat sinking of qi
in the middle-jiao
, lingering diarrhea and proctoptosis; and unripen bitter orange for strengthening the spleen and removing food rentention, to treat deficiency of spleen-qi
and dyspepsic abdominal distention.
2. It is often used in combination with astragalus root, prepared aconite root
, areca nut shell, poria and other herbs for invigorating qi
, warming yang
, inducing diuresis and eliminating edema, to treat deficiency of spleen-yang
, edema and difficulty in urination; and with poria, cinnamom twig, liquorice
and other herbs for warming yang
and removing fluid retention, such as Gui Zhu Gan Decoction, to treat deficiency of spleen, excessive dampness, phlegm retention, dizziness, palpitation, oppressive chest and short breath.
3. It can be used in combination with astragalus root, light wheat
and other herbs for invigorating qi
and consolidating superficies to stop sweating, to treat deficiency of qi
and spontaneous perspiration; and with white peony root
, schisandra fruit, oyster shell
and other herbs for nourishing yin
and astringing perspiration, to treat deficiency of yin
and night sweat.
In addition, the herb can also be used to treat deficiency of spleen and threatened abortion. Dosage and Administration:
Use stir-baked for invigorating qi
and strengthening the spleen, and use unprepared for removing dampness and inducing diuresis. Cautions on Use: Reference Materials: Toxic or Side Effects: Modern Researches: White atractylodes rhizome
contains mostly essential oils (volatile oils) and saccharides.
As a tonics, white atractylodes rhizome
enables patients to gain weight and build up strength. It has an obvious and lasting effect of inducing diuresis. White atractylodes rhizome
can promote the excretion of electrolytes, sodium in particular. It can slightly reduce blood sugar, protect the liver and prevent the decrease in hepatic glycogen caused by carbon tetrachloride. The herb has an inhibiting effect on Diplococcus meningitidis. It can obviously prolong the thrombin time of rats and human beings, hence, posses anti-coagulant effect. White atractylodes rhizome
is used in the treatment of poor appetite, dyspepsia, abdominal distension, chronic diarrhoea, oedema and spontaneous sweating. It is often used in conjunction with other herbs such as Codonopsis tangshen and Glycyrrhiza uralensis.
Combined with Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) it is used to prevent miscarriage.
For self protection, the outer skin (bark) of many plants contains essential oil, which in turn has elements that serve as an immediate chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens. How? There is an element called hydroxynitrile glucoside in essential oil. This element will release toxic hydrogen cyanide by endogenous plant glucosidase upon tissue disruption (see Anne Vinther Morant, Kirsten Jorgensen, Charlotte Jorgensen, Suzanne Michelle Paquette, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Birger Lindberg Moller, and Soren Bak, "beta-Glucosidases as Detonators of Plant Chemical Defense," Phytochemistry
Vol. 69, Issue 9 (June 2008), pp. 1,795-1,813).
Glucosidase is a catalyzing enzyme that improves healthy functions of our body. It is a lipase that decomposes fat; it can also check inflammation and improve memory (see Mikako Sakurai, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Ko Zushida, Kazuyuki Yamada, Satoshi Nagamine, Tomohiro Kabuta and Keiji Wada, "Reduction in memory in passive avoidance learning, exploratory behaviour and synaptic plasticity in mice with a spontaneous deletion in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 gene," European Journal of Neuroscience
Vol. 27, Issue 3 (February 2008), pp. 691-701).