Two insect-moulting hormones are found in the roots. Can this have a practical application as an insecticide? The stem of the plant is used as a toothbrush that is said to be good for the teeth and is also a treatment for pyorrhoea.
The roots, leaves and stems are widely used in Chinese herbal medicine. They are anodyne, antirheumatic, bitter, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue and vasodilator. They act predominantly on the lower half of the body and are used in the treatment of aching back and knees and asthenia of the lower limbs. Research suggests that they can cause dilation of the cervix and so this herb should not be used when pregnant. The herb is taken internally to treat hypertension, back pains, urine in the blood, menstrual pain, bleeding etc. The root juice is used in Nepal in the treatment of toothache. This juice is also used in the treatment of indigestion and is considered to be a good treatment for asthma. The stem of the plant is used as a toothbrush that is said to be good for the teeth and is also a treatment for pyorrhoea. The plant can be used fresh or dried. The leaves and stems are harvested in the summer and are usually crushed for their juice or used in tinctures. The roots are harvested from 1 or 2 year old plants in the autumn or winter and usually dried and ground into a powder or used in decoctions.
Seed - sow late spring in a greenhouse. Germination should be fairly rapid, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle. It is probably wise to grow this plant on in the greenhouse for its first winter, planting it out into its permanent position in late spring after the last expected frosts.
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Prefers a rich, sandy, slightly acid soil in partial shade. This species is probably not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to at least -5°c. When grown in a rich soil the roots can be up to 1.2 metres long. Widely cultivated in China, especially in Henan Province, as a medicinal plant and as a food plant.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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