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Herbs & Botanicals

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Millettia (ji xue teng)

What is millettia? What is it used for?

Millettia is a type of climbing vine native to east Asia. The plant derives its Chinese name ("ji xue teng") because of the color contained in its resin. The stems of the millettia vine contain a reddish-brown colored resin, similar to dried chicken's blood. ("Ji" means chicken and "xue" means blood in Chinese.)

In traditional Chinese medicine, the stems are used in herbal medicines. The branches and leaves are removed first, then the stem is sliced and allowed to dry in the sun.

Millettia is considered to be bitter and sweet in flavor and warm in nature, and is associated with the Liver meridian. It treats blood deficiency and blood stasis syndromes, and help activate the flow of qi. In modern times, millettia has been used to regulate menstruation, and treat related conditions such as menstrual bleeding, dysmenorrheal and anemia. It can also help treat soreness and numbness in the extremities.

Several studies have shown that millettia can treat cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, and some types of skin diseases. There is also evidence that suggests millettia can boost the immune system, and even fight some forms of cancer. However, many of these studies have included millettia as part of a larger formula, so the specific role of millettia in treating these conditions remains unclear.

How much millettia should I take?

The typical daily dosage of millettia is 10 to 15 grams, either decocted with wine or boiled down into an extract for oral use. Some practitioners may recommend larger doses (up to 30 grams) depending on the condition being treated.

What forms of millettia are available?

Millettia is available in powder or extract form. Dried millettia stems can be found at some herbal shops, as can a syrup made from the resin in millettia stems.

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

While there are no reports of millettia toxicity due to taking large doses, it should not be taken by women during pregnancy. It is considered relatively safe for long-term use, provided it is used as directed. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with millettia. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking millettia or any herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Technology Press, 1998.
  • Hsu H, et al. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide. Keats Publishing, 1986.
  • Ping L, et al. Journal of Pharmacology and Clinical Application of TCM 1998;14(3):25-26.
  • Xu GJ, Wang Q, et al. Anti-Tumor Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs. Fujian Science and Technology Press, 1997.
  • Zhang Y. A Complete Collection of Anti-Cancer Chinese Traditional Medicines. Jiangsu Science and Technology Press, 2000.

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