Herbs & Botanicals
Platycodon (jie geng)
What is platycodon? What is it used for?
Platycodon is a perennial plant that grows to a height of about three
feet. Also known as bell-flower or balloon-flower, platycodon is indigenous
to China, Japan, Korea and Siberia. The plant is characterized by its
flower buds which, when unopened, resemble small, inflated balloons. The
main and secondary roots are used medicinally.
The healing effects of platycodon are derived from its volatile oil and
other compounds, including saponins and plant sterols. Traditionally,
platycodon has been used as an expectorant and to treat bronchitis, tonsillitis,
sore throat and other respiratory conditions. Scientific tests have shown
that the saponins may contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties;
however, its efficacy in treating respiratory conditions has not been
How much platycodon should I take?
Many herbalists and health care practitioners recommend a total of six
grams of platycodon powder a day (0.5 grams as a single dose). Patients
may also take one gram of a platycodon decoction (0.2 grams as a single
What forms of platycodon are available?
Platycodon is available in a variety of forms, including whole platycodon
root, cut root and powdered root. Some stores also sell platycodon decoctions.
What can happen if I take too much platycodon?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
When administered in the recommended dosage, there are no known health
hazards in conjunction with platycodon. In addition, as of this writing,
there are no known drug interactions with platycodon. Before taking platycodon
supplements, however, be sure to discuss the situation with a qualified
health care practitioner.
- Bensky D, et al. Formulas & Strategies (Chinese
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica). Eastland Press, 1993, p. 138.
- Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C (eds.) PDR
for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 2000,
- Hansel R, Keller K, Rimpler H, et al. (eds.) Hagers
der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, 5 Aufl Bde 4-6. Heidelberg: Springer
- Kim KS, Ezaki O, Ikemoto S, et al. Effects of platycodon
grandiflorum feeding on serum and liver lipid concentrations in
rats with diet-induced hyperlipidemia. Yakugaku Zasshi Aug 1995;41:485-91.
- Kim KS, Ezaki O, Ikemoto S, et al. Rat plasma corticosterone
secretion-inducing activities of total saponin and prosapogenin methyl
esters from the roots of platycodon grandiflorum ADC. Yakugaku
Zasshi Aug 1995;41:1191-4.