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White Atractylodes Rhizome

White Atractylodes Rhizome-Original stateWhite Atractylodes Rhizome-Medicinal materialWhite Atractylodes Rhizome-Pieces
White Atractylodes Rhizome-Original stateWhite Atractylodes Rhizome-Medicinal materialWhite Atractylodes Rhizome-Pieces

        
        Latin:
        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.
         
        Properties:
        Bitter and sweet in flavor, warm in nature, and related to the spleen and stomach channels.
         
        Functions:
        Invigorates qi, 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 and stomach-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 and stomach-qi, anorexia, gastro-abdominal distention and fullness, lassitude and loose stool; with astragalus root, dangshen, bupleurum 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 stomach-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 and kidney-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:
        5-15 g.
       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).