Herbs & Botanicals
Alisma (ze xie)
What is alisma? What is it used for?
Alisma is a water plant found throughout the marshlands of Asia. Also
known as the Oriental water plantain, alisma stands approximately three
inches in height and 1-2 inches in diameter, with raised fibrous roots
that are tuberous in appearance. It has a slight odor and a slightly bitter
The roots are used in herbal remedies, and are prepared by soaking
the rhizome in water, they cutting it into thick slices and drying it
in the sun.
Many of alisma's uses center around the urinary system. It is often used
by obese people to help remove water weight, or by people who have urinary
infections or difficulty urinating. It is also used to help the prostate
gland function properly and to improve urinary function.
How much alisma should I take?
The amount of alisma to be taken depends on the condition being treated.
Some practitioners recommend 6-9 grams of dried alisma root placed in
water as a decoction. For fluid retention and dizziness, some herbalists
combine alisma with atractylodes in a decoction. For diarrhea, some practitioners
suggest using alisma along with atractylodes, moutan and polyporus.
What forms of alisma are available?
Sliced, dried alisma root can be found at Asian markets and some specialty
What can happen if I take too much alisma? Are
there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I
Because alisma is used to promote urination, it should not be taken by
patients who are dehydrated or have difficulty retaining fluid. As of
this writing, there are no known drug interactions with alisma. As always,
make sure to consult with a qualified health care provider before taking
alisma or any other herbal product or supplement.
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