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Herbs & Botanicals

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Buddleia (mi meng hua)

What is buddleia? What is it used for?

Buddleia is a hardy evergreen shrub that can reach a height of more than six feet in some areas. Grown throughout eastern Asia and western China, it prospers in dry and moist soils, and flowers between December and February. The flowers and flower buds (usually green or yellow in appearance, with small, white hair-like projections) are used medicinally.

In the West, buddleia is used primarily as an ornamental plant, and is nicknamed the "buttefuly bush" for its ability to attract butterflies. In traditional Chinese medicine, buddleia is prized for its ability to treat a range of eye conditions, including bloodshot eyes, eye secretions, excess lacrimation, and sensitivity to light (photophobia). It also helps to reduce muscle spasms, and can act as a mild diuretic. Some practitioners use buddleia to treat sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea.

How much buddleia should I take?

The typical dosage of buddleia is between three and nine grams, boiled with water as a decoction. Both the flowers and the flower buds can be used in herbal preparations.

What forms of buddleia are available?

Whole, dried buddleia flowers and flower buds can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores. Some herbal shops also sell buddleia extracts, tinctures and infusions. Powdered buddleia flower can also be found at some locations.

What can happen if I take too much buddleia? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions or adverse side-effects associated with buddleia. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking buddleia or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Dirr MA, Heuser MW. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens, GA: Varsity Press, 1987.
  • Duke JA, Ayensu ES. Medicinal Plants of China. Reference Publications, Inc., 1985. ISBN # 0-917256-20-4.
  • Genders R. Scented Flora of the World. London: Robert Hale. London, 1994. ISBN # 0-7090-5440-8.
  • Phillips R, Rix M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants, Volumes 1 & 2. London: Pan Books, 1998. ISBN # 0-330-37376-5.
  • Yeung HC. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Los Angeles: Institute of Chinese Medicine, 1985.

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