Atractylis lancea chinensis (Bunge) Kitam.
Atractylis macrocephala (Koidz.) Hand.-Mazz.
Atractylis macrocephala (Koidz.) Nemoto
Atractylis nemotoiana Arènes
Common Name: Bai Zhu
Atractylodes macrocephala is a herbaceous, perennial plant growing 20 - 60cm tall. It produces a stem, branched from the base, from a thick rhizome[
It is widely cultivated in China for its use as a medicinal herb[
E. Asia - China
Pastures and waste ground[
]. Grassland and forests; at elevations from 600 - 2,800 metres[
Atractylodes macrocephala tolerates temperatures down to at least -15°c[
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in sun or partial shade[
Bai Zhu is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine[
]. It is a bitter-sweet tonic herb that acts mainly upon the digestive system and strengthens the spleen[
The root is antibacterial, diuretic, hypoglycaemic, sedative, stomachic and tonic[
]. It is used in the treatment of poor appetite, dyspepsia, abdominal distension, chronic diarrhoea, oedema and spontaneous sweating[
]. It is often used in conjunction with other herbs such as Codonopsis tangshen and Glycyrrhiza uralensis[
]. Combined with Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) it is used to prevent miscarriage[
The roots are harvested in the autumn and baked for use in tonics[
The root contains an essential oil, glucoside and inulin[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the following spring or early summer.