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Herbs & Botanicals

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Evodia (wu zhu yu)

What is evodia? What is it used for?

Evodia is a seasonal tree, native to northern China and Korea, that grows to a height of about 30 feet. It has long, dark green, shiny leaves, with white flowers that bloom in the summer, and bears small, reddish-brown fruit, which is harvested for medicinal purposes before it ripens.

Evodia has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years. It is characterized as having a warm nature and an acrid, bitter taste. Taken internally, evodia is used to treat abdominal disorders such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and is purported to be especially effective in treating cases of diarrhea that occur in the morning.

Evodia is also used as a painkiller. It treats the headaches that occasionally accompany nausea and vomiting, and relieves pain associated with abdominal hernias. The warm nature of evodia fruit is said to counteract cold conditions in the stomach and increase appetite.

Research conducted in Japan has found that evodia extracts strongly inhibit the growth of the heliobacter pylori bacteria, which reinforces its traditional use for digestive ailments.

How much evodia should I take?

The recommended dosage of evodia is 1.5-5 grams daily, boiled in water for oral use. Evodia can be used fresh, or it can be dried and ground into a powder. It is often mixed with other herbs, such as ginger and coptis, in formulas to control nausea and vomiting. It can also be taken with ilex to treat cold and flu symptoms.

What forms of evodia are available?

Fresh and dried evodia fruits can be found at some herbal shops and specialty stores. Evodia powders and extracts are also available.

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

Evodia is considered by herbalists to be slightly toxic, and as such, it should not be taken unless under the supervision of a trained practitioner. It should not be used by women who are pregnant. Women who attempting to conceive a child should also avoid evodia.

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with evodia. However, you should always consult with a licensed, qualified health care provider before taking evodia or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Bensky D, Gamble A. Chinese Herbal Medicine. Seattle: Eastland Press, Inc., 1986.
  • Chevallier A. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. London: Dorling Kindersley Publishers, 1996.
  • Evodia. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Gale Group, 2001.
  • Li S, Zhang J, Wang H, Li Y. Assay of essential oil from evodia rutaecarpa var. officinalis by GC/MS. Zhong Yao Cai July 1999;22(7):344-6. Chinese.
  • Molony D. Complete Guide to Chinese Herbal Medicine. New York: Berkeley Books, 1998.

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