Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked. A peppermint-like flavour, the leaves are used in salads or used as a potherb. Rich in vitamin A., the leaves also contain about 3.9% protein, 2.25% carbohydrate, 0.7% fat, 1.4% ash. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.The dried leaves are a tea substitute.
The fruit is one of the most popular tonics used in Chinese herbal medicine. A decoction is used to clear the vision, strengthen the kidneys, restore semen and nourish the liver. The fruit protects the liver from damage caused by exposure to toxins. It is also used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, vertigo, nocturnal emissions and aching back and legs. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. The seed is used as a haemostat for the control of bleeding, with a special action on the kidneys and sex organs. The root bark is antibacterial, antipyretic, hepatic, hypoglycaemic and vasodilator. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions such as digestive secretions. The root is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia in small children, chronic febrile disease, night sweats, cough and asthma, tuberculosis, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. The root can be harvested at any time of the year but traditionally it is harvested in the spring and can be dried for later use. The root bark contains betaine. This can increase the rate of growth of farm animals and increase the weight and amount of eggs, it is used in the treatment of achlorhydria, atherosclerosis and hepatic diseases.Haemostatic.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel if possible, July/August in individual pots in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, autumn to late winter in a cold frame. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.Layering.
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A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -23°c. This species is widely cultivated for its edible young shoots in China.There is much confusion between this species and the closely related L. barbarum. Most, if not all, of the plants being grown as L. chinense in Britain are in fact L.barbarum.
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