Bulbs of Lycoris Radiata As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Lycoris radiata, also called red spider lily, red magic lily, or Shi Suan (石蒜) is a plant in the amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae. Native to China, Korea and Nepal, the plant had been introduced to a lot of countries in the world. The bulbs of lycoris radiata are poisonous but used in traditional Chinese medicine as expectorant and detoxicant, it can also relieve internal heat or fever.

Odour & Nature:

Pungent, sweet, warm-natured, high toxicity.


Bulbs of lycoris radiata functions by influencing the lung, stomach and liver.

Indications & Formulas:

Bulbs of lycoris radiata is cooked and taken orally to induce vomiting to treat food poisoning.

Fresh bulbs of lycoris radiata and castor beans are pounded and used in treating edema (swelling caused by fluid retention).

A decoction of bulbs of lycoris radiata is taken orally to cope with epilepsy.

Pounded bulbs of lycoris radiata, fresh ginger and green onion is applied externally to treat rheumatism.


Contraindicated in pregnancy.

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 ChinaAbout.net. 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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