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Ligusticum wallichii - Franch.

Chuan Xiong

AuthorFranch. Botanical references266
FamilyUmbelliferae GenusLigusticum
Synonyms
Known HazardsNone known
RangeE. Asia - Himalayas, from India to China.
HabitatShady slopes in forests at elevations of 1500--3700 metres in western China[266].
Edibility Rating 0 (1-5) Medicinal Ratingapple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics

icon of man icon of perennial/biennial/annual Perennial growing to 1m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Habitats

Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Haemostatic; Nervine; Oxytoxic; Vasodilator.

This plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[218]. It is used as a main ingredient of a 'coronary pill' which is said to have a definite therapeutic effect on heart problems. Carthamnus is the other major ingredient whilst Acronychia and Salvia are also included[218]. Haemostatic[172]. The root is analgesic, emmenagogue, nervine, oxytocic, sedative and vasodilator[176, 218]. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, cerebral embolism, coronary heart disease, headaches and body aches[176]. The root is an ingredient of 'Four Things Soup', the most widely used woman's tonic in China[254]. The other species used are Rehmannia glutinosa, Angelica sinensis and Paeonia lactiflora[254]. The root has also shown antibacterial activity against E. coli, Bacillus dysenteriae, Pseudomonas, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio Proteus[176].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[1, 200].

Propagation

The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a greenhouse or cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer if they have grown large enough. Otherwise, keep them in a cold frame for the first winter and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring.

Links

References

[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press 1951
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).

[172] Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. 0
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.

[176] Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles 1985
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.

[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[218] Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. 1985 ISBN 0-917256-20-4
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.

[254] Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London 1996 ISBN 9-780751-303148
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

[266] Flora of China 1994
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.

Readers Comments

Ligusticum wallichii

Arnold Kim Wed Apr 10 16:58:54 2002

Link: DreamPharm Ligusticum chuan xiang

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