Atractylodes As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Atractylodes (Chinese: Cang Zhu, 苍术) is a genus in the sunflower family, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) in treating various diseases including abdominal distention, diarrhea, edema, cold due to wind-cold as well as nyctalopia (also known as night blindness).

Odour & Nature:

Bitter, warm-nature, non-toxic,


Atractylodes functions by influencing the spleen and stomach.

Indications & Formulas:

Pills made from atractylodes, prepared rehmannia root, dried ginger and rice paste can be taken with water to treat loss of appetite.

Pills made from atractylodes, distiller’s yeast and honey can be taken internally to cope with indigestion.

A mixture of medicated leaven, atractylodes (soaked in washing water of rice) and rice paste can be made into pills for oral taking to treat summer diarrhea in infants and children.

Pork liver cooked with atractylodes (soaked in washing water of rice over night before using) and millet can be used as a treatment for glaucoma.

Ash of salted atractylodes can be used in tooth brushing to mitigate swelling gums.

Atractylodes (soaked in washing water of millet over night before using) and urine of boys under ten can be used in treating rheumatism.

Pills made with atractylodes powder and red dates can be taken orally to cope with spleen and kidney deficiency.

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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