Common Name: Du Heng
Asarum forbesii is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of leaves up to 15cm tall from a creeping rootstock, The rather interesting, but unpleasant-smelling flowers are hidden amongst the leaves[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine
Although no reports of toxicity have been found for this plant, at least 3 other members of this genus have reports that the leaves are toxic[
]. Some caution is therefore advised in the use of this plant.
E. Asia - C. China
]. Moist shady places in forests and valleys; at elevations under 800 metres[
Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[
Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden[
The flowers are malodorous and are mainly self-pollinated but are also pollinated by mycotrophic flies[
Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position[
The root is used in the treatment of goitre, cough, fever and worms[
]. Continued use of this plant gives the body a fragrant odour[
This species is used medicinally, known as tu xi xin[
In China, species of Asarum that produce pungent aromatic roots are used in traditional medicine as a remedy for pain and colds. Among them. Asarum heterotropoides mandshuricum is considered of the greatest value, although Asarum sieboldii is believed to have been the first species used in ancient Chinesemedicine. All the remaining species, including those utilized in folk medicine, are used for the same or slightly different purposes[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer[
]. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter[
]. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 - 4 or more weeks at 18°c[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring.
Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase[
]. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.