Herbs & Botanicals
Ophiopogon (mai dong)
What is ophiopogon? What is it used for?
Ophiogon is a small herb grown in small parts of China. The plant has
long, thin green leaves and tuberous whitish roots, which are used in
a variety of herbal remedies. It is typically harvested in the summer
and allowed to dry out before use.
Studies on ophiopogon have shown it to possess antipyretic, antitussive,
expectorant, diuretic, cardiotonic and tonifying properties. It has also
been reported to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation and protect the
body from bacterial infections.
In traditional Chinese medicine, ophiopogon is believed to moisten the
lungs and nourish yin; strengthen the stomach; clear away heat in the
heart; and moisten the bowels to relieve constipation. It is also believed
by some to be a very powerful shen tonic.
How much ophiopogon should I take?
Most practitioners recommend 5-10 grams of dried ophiopogon root decocted
in water, depending on the condition. It may also be combined with other
herbs to treat deficiencies or tonify yin.
What forms of ophiopogon are available?
The most common form of ophiopogon is as a whole, uncut root. Fresh ophiopogon
tuber is considered better than hard, dry tubers. It may also be available
in powder form, especially as part of another herbal formula.
What can happen if I take too much ophiopogon?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
According to TCM principles, ophiopogon should not be used in cases of
spleen deficiency that result in diarrhea, or in cases of cough due to
exopathegonic wind or retention of phlegm in the lungs.
As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with ophiopogon.
As always, consult with a qualified health care provider before taking
ophiopogon or any other herbal remedy or supplement.
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