Known in China as Cangzhu, the Atractylodes is a plant that is more commonly used as an alternative medicine in China, Thailand and Japan mainly for treating indigestion and stomach pains. It is a perennial that grows to about 18-inches and prefers moist soil. The underground root, tuber, rhizome or stem of this plant is the part that’s used for alternative health remedies.
Next to Ginseng, this is one of the best tonic herbs for the daily treatment of spleen Qi deficiency or damp spleen and promoting the Chi energy in the stomach. It acts wonderfully as an overall diuretic, thus helping the body to eliminate dangerous toxins.
Alternative Names of Atractylodes
- Atractylis lancea
- Atractylis ovata
- Atractylode Blanc
- Atractylode Gris
- Atractylodes chinensis
- Atractylodes japonica
- Atractylodes lancea
- Atractylodes macrocephala
- Atractylodes ovata
- Atractylodis Radix
- Bai-Zhu Atractylodes
- Cang Zhu
- Chang Zhe
- Red Atractylodes
- Rhizoma Atractylodis
- Rhizoma Atractylodis Macroce
- Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae
- Rhizome d’Atractylode
- White Atractylodes
- White Atractylodis
Top Health Benefits of Atractylodes
Atractylodes is best for people who suffer from disorders in the stomach or the spleen. Improved gastrointestinal function has been noted in scientific studies and clinical trials. Why is this important? Evidence indicates that at least 80% of Americans have digestive issues ranging from nuisances to chronic diseases.
The other benefits of this alternative medicine are as follows:
- Improve appetite especially for people who have lost a lot of weight
- Stomach pains
- Reduction of bulge in the belly
- Treatment of swelling or inflammation in the body
- Treatment of diarrhea
- Anti-candida yeast
- Cleansing of the blood
- Treatment of lung disease
- Treatment of severe gastric disorders
- Aids in urination to combat fluid retention
- Antioxidant against oxidative stress
In Chinese Traditional Medicine, Atractylodes essential oils are commonly used for the following:
- Refreshing the spleen and stomach
- Restoring the inner qi
- Metabolizing body fluids
- Treating general swelling
- Preventing excessive phlegm
- Preventing extreme perspiration
- Treating joint and limb pains
- Soothing the uterus during pregnancy
Claims in ancient Chinese medical history say that the active polysaccharide substances in White Atractylodes root are more suited for treating digestive disorders. The people who used it during those days felt that their stomach and the rest of their digestive system seem refreshed.
This review comprehensively summarizes current information on the pharmacological activities of AL and their active constituents including antidisease, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antipyretic activities, as well as activities on central nervous, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. – Pubmed
Atractylodes Side Effects & Contraindications
Side effects from excessive doses of white Atractylodes root powder supplements or essential oil include dry mouth and hard stools due to its inducement of urination and estrogen-like activity, similar to campanumaea pilosula, poria tcm and radix achyranthis bidentatae.
While generally considered a safe herbal plant in traditional Asian medicine, insufficient data exists to justify its use by pregnant or lactating women, though if you watch the video below, the herbalist from Vitajing Herbs makes a claim that it promotes and overall healthy pregnancy. Proceed with caution and seek sound advice if you decide to take this herbal tonic as an expecting mother.
And finally, if you’re known to have allergy to ragweed plants, avoid use of this herb to be on the safe side.
Again, insufficient information is available to state what is a safe, effective dose of Atractylodes to treat common maladies. Treat dosing directions on herbal powder extract supplements and essential oils with care and use due caution. As always, consult your primary care physician before embarking on an alternative health treatment.
Atractylodes Plant Variants
Note that there are different types of this herb. The most frequently used and the most effective one is Atractylodes macrocephala, known as Baizhu in China. The less common is Atractylodes lancea which is known as the Cangzhu.
Baizhu is the stronger and more effective herb especially for cleansing the spleen. Its efficiency is elevated when the root or rhizome (after cleaning) is eaten raw. When taken dried or in extract powder form, Baizhu is more effective for drying moisture in the body especially for people with heightened perspiration. On the other hand, Cangzhu is used to remedy exterior problems that are brought about by exposure to fog and other moisture.
In the near future we’ll be posting on additional herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine including hoelen, fu ling, siler root, codonopsis, ban xia, and pinellia.