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Herbs & Botanicals

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Dalbergia (jiang xiang)

What is dalbergia? What is it used for?

Also known as rosewood, dalbergia is a type of fragrant tree (the scientific name is lignum dalbergiae odoriferae) that grows in China and other parts of Asia. It can reach a height of 35 to 45 feet, with elliptical leaves and small yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.

The inner wood, or "heart wood," of the tree is harvested and used in herbal preparations. After the wood is harvested, it is sawed into small pieces, then dried in the shade.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, dalbergia is associated with the Liver, Spleen and Stomach meridians, and has spicy and warm properties. Its main function are to invigorate the blood, remove stagnations, and help move the qi downward. Dalbergia is used to treat conditions such as congestion in the chest and lungs, and abdominal pain. Dalbergia can also be used externally to treat pain, swelling and bleeding caused by external injuries. Dalbergia is often used with other herbs, such as frankincense, agastache and costus.

How much dalbergia should I take?

The typical dose of dalbergia is between 3 and 6 grams, usually decocted in water. If dalbergia powder is being used, a smaller dose (1-2 grams) may be employed.

What forms of dalbergia are available?

Whole, dried slices of dalbergia wood can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores. Dalbergia is also available in powder, pill and capsule form.

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

Exposure to dalbergia may cause some contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. Otherwise, dalbergia is considered extremely safe. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with dalbergia. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking dalbergia or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Athavale PN, Shum KW, Gasson P, et al. Occupational hand dermatitis in a wood turner due to rosewood (dalbergia latifolia). Contact Dermatitis June 2003;48(6):345-6.
  • Bi H, Song X, Han C, et al. Studies on the chemical constituents of the essential oil from the leaves of dalbergia odorifera T. Chen. Zhong Yao Cai October 2004;27(10):733-5.
  • Lin L, Xu H, Xiao X, et al. A study on the quality of various species of dalbergia. Zhong Yao Cai July 1997;20(7):366-9.
  • Sugiyama A, Zhu BM, Takahara A, et al. Cardiac effects of salvia miltiorrhiza/dalbergia odorifera mixture, an intravenously applicable Chinese medicine widely used for patients with ischemic heart disease in China. Circ J February 2002;66(2):182-4.
  • Wang S, Zheng Z, Weng Y, et al. Angiogenesis and anti-angiogenesis activity of Chinese medicinal herbal extracts. Life Sci April 2, 2004;74(20):2467-78.

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