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Herbs & Botanicals

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Clematis (wei ling xian)

What is clematis? What is it used for?

Clematis is a non-climbing, leafy plant native to Europe. The plant grows to a height of 2-4 feet, with white, pink or purple flowers. The flowers are used in a variety of herbal formulas and preparations.

Traditionally, clematis was used to treat blisters and as a poultice for infected wounds and ulcers. It was also employed as a remedy for venereal diseases (particularly syphilis), rheumatism and bone disorders. Today, it is used by the pharmaceutical industry for rheumatic pains, headaches and varicose veins. Homeopathic practitioners sometimes incorporate clematis into their formulas for ulcers and the promotion of wound healing.

How much clematis should I take?

There is no standard recommended dosage for clematis; however, tiny amounts of clematis are used in homeopathic dilutions.

What forms of clematis are available?

Clematis is seldom used in modern practices. It is available in the form of decoctions, which are used in poultices, extracts and homeopathic formulas.

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

Clematis is poisonous. While there are no known health hazards or side-effects when the herb is taken in proper doses, extended skin contact with freshly harvested clematis can cause skin rashes and blisters. High doses taken internally may cause gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, colic, and irritation of the urinary tract.

Clematis should never be used by children, or by women who are pregnant or lactating.

References

  • Ali-Shtayeh MS, Abu Ghdeib SI. Antifungal activity of plant extracts against dermatophytes. Mycoses 1999;42(11-12):665-72.
  • Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C (eds.) PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 2000, p. 194-195.
  • Kizu H, Shimana H, Tomimori T. Studies on the constituents of clematis species. VI. The constituents of clematis stans sieb. et zucc. Chem Pharm Bull Dec 1995;43:2187-94.
  • Shropshire CM, Stauber E, Arai M. Evaluation of selected plants for acute toxicosis in budgerigars. J Am Vet Med Assoc Apr 1, 1992;200:936-9.
  • Xu R, Zhao W, Xu J, Shao B, Qin G. Studies on bioactive saponins from Chinese medicinal plants. Adv Exp Med Biol 1996;404:371-82.

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