Health Benefits of Polygonum Orientale – Ben Cao Medical Book

1. Description:

Polygonum orientale (scientific name: Polygonum orientale L., also known as knotweed, knotgrass, bistort, tearthumb, mile-a-minute, ars-smerte or smartweed; Chinese Pinyin: Hong Cao, Simplified Chinese: 荭草, 游龙, 石龙, 天蓼, 大蓼, 茏古, 红蓼), is a species of flowering perennial and herbaceous plant in genus Polygonum (Polygonaceae family). Native to China and Australia, the seedling, stem, leaves and fruits of Polygonum orientale are used as sedative, antibloat drug and antidiarrheal in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as rheumatic arthritis.

2. Odour, Properties And Channels:

Polygonum orientale is considered to have pungent, warm and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the liver and spleen meridians.

3. Uses, Health Benefits of Polygonum Orientale & Medical Formulas:

3.1 Acute Gastroenteritis

A decoction of Polygonum orientale and fragrant fermented soy beans is taken orally to treat acute gastroenteritis.

3.2 Antidiarrheal

A decoction of Polygonum orientale stem, Polygonum orientale leaves and wine is taken to treat liver deficiency related diarrhea.

Fresh Polygonum orientale juice is taken orally to treat diarrhea in infants and children caused by deficiency cold in spleen and stomach.

3.3 The Digestive System

Medicated rice wine with Polygonum orientale is taken orally to treat nausea or vomiting caused by cold in stomach.

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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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