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Ophiopogon (mai dong)
What is ophiopogon? What is it used
Ophiogon is a small herb grown in small parts of China. The
plant has long, thin green leaves and tuberous whitish roots,
which are used in a variety of herbal remedies. It is typically
harvested in the summer and allowed to dry out before use.
Studies on ophiopogon have shown it to possess antipyretic,
antitussive, expectorant, diuretic, cardiotonic and tonifying
properties. It has also been reported to lower blood sugar,
reduce inflammation and protect the body from bacterial infections.
In traditional Chinese medicine, ophiopogon is believed to
moisten the lungs and nourish yin; strengthen the stomach;
clear away heat in the heart; and moisten the bowels to relieve
constipation. It is also believed by some to be a very powerful
How much ophiopogon should I take?
Most practitioners recommend 5-10 grams of dried ophiopogon
root decocted in water, depending on the condition. It may
also be combined with other herbs to treat deficiencies or
What forms of ophiopogon are available?
The most common form of ophiopogon is as a whole, uncut root.
Fresh ophiopogon tuber is considered better than hard, dry
tubers. It may also be available in powder form, especially
as part of another herbal formula.
What can happen if I take too much
ophiopogon? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
According to TCM principles, ophiopogon should not be used
in cases of spleen deficiency that result in diarrhea, or
in cases of cough due to exopathegonic wind or retention of
phlegm in the lungs.
As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions
with ophiopogon. As always, consult with a qualified health
care provider before taking ophiopogon or any other herbal
remedy or supplement.
Other Resources :
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More You Know About Nutrition
- Chang HM, But PPH. Pharmacology and
Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. Philadelphia,
PA: World Scientific, 1986.
- Hua Q, et al. Experimental study on the
potentiation effect of ginseng and ophiopogon injection
for chemotherapy in mice with graft tumors. International
Journal of Oriental Medicine 2001; 26(1): 14-18.
- Huang B, Wang Y. Thousand Formulas
and Thousand Herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Harbin: Heilongjiang Education Press, 1993.
- Yeung HC. Handbook of Chinese Herbs.
Rosemead, CA: Institute of Chinese Medicine, 1996.
- Zhu YP. Chinese Materia Medica: Chemistry,
Pharmacology, and Applications. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic