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Herbs & Botanicals

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Quisqualis (shi jun zi)

What is quisqualis? What is it used for?

Also known as the Rangoon creeper, quisqualis is a type of creeping, climbing vine, with lush, green leaves and shoots, large clusters of fragrant pink or red flowers, and large fruit that turns purple in the late summer and autumn.

The name "quisqualis" comes from the Latin words for "who" and "what kind," which indicate that there was originally some question as to whether the plant was a vine or shrub. It can reach a height of 30 feet, and grows throughout the tropical regions of the world. In China, it is found in the Sichuan, Guangdong, Cuangxi and Yunnan provinces. The seeds are used in herbal preparations, and are harvested after the fruit is picked and dried in the sun.

In traditional Chinese medicine, quisqualis has sweet and warm properties, and is associated with the Spleen and Stomach meridians. Its main functions are to kill parasites, strengthen the spleen, and dissolve accumulations in the body. Quisqualis is used to treat roundworms and abdominal distention, and to improve one's appetite. It is sometimes given to infants to relieve indigestion and improve appetite.

How much quisqualis should I take?

The typical dosage of quisqualis is between 4.5 and 12 grams, boiled in water and drunk as a decoction.

What forms of quisqualis are available?

Dried quisqualis seeds can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores. Some shops also sell quisqualis infusions, decoctions and powders. Many vendors also sell larger formulas that incorporate quisqualis.

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

Prolonged use of large doses may lead to a variety of unwanted conditions, including dizziness and vomiting. However, as of this writing, there are no known drug interactions associated with quisqualis. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking quisqualis or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Kwon HC, Min YD, Kim KR, et al. A new acylglycosyl sterol from quisqualis fructus. Arch Pharm Res April 2003;26(4):275-8.
  • Space JC, Flynn T. Report to the Government of the Cook Islands on Invasive Plant Species of Environmental Concern. Honolulu: USDA Forest Service, 2002.
  • Welsh SL. Flora Societensis: A Summary Revision of the Flowering Plants of the Society Islands. Orem, Utah: E.P.S. Inc., 1998, p. 64.
  • Xiao QM. The treatment of 48 cases of pediatric recurrent abdominal pain with jia wei jian zhong tang (added flavors fortify the center). Xin Zhong Yi (New Chinese Medicine) December 2002;34(12):54-55.
  • Youn HJ, Noh JW. Screening of the anticoccidial effects of herb extracts against eimeria tenella. Vet Parasitol April 19, 2001;96(4):257-63.

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