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Herbs & Botanicals

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Schizonepeta (jing jie)

What is schizonepeta? What is it used for?

Schizonepeta is a flowering plant that resembles a thistle in appearance. It grows in the Fiangsu, Zhejiang and Fiangxi provinces in China. The aerial parts of the plant (such as the leaves, stems and flowers) are gathered in autumn and winter, dried in the shade and cut into pieces. Schizonepeta can be used raw, or after being baked until it turns yellow and black.

Schizonepeta contains several chemical compounds, including menthol, menthone, cineole, hesperidin, caffeic acid and schizonodiol. In traditional Chinese medicine, schizonepeta has warm and pungent properties, and is associated with the Lung and Liver meridians. Its functions are to expel wind and stop bleeding. Typically, schizonepeta is used to treat wind-cold exterior syndromes that have symptoms such as headaches, chills and fever. It also helps to treat bloody stools and uterine bleeding; studies of schizonepeta extract suggest it can speed up the time it takes for blood to clot. (Carbonized schizonepata should be used for these conditions.) Schizonepeta can also reduce inflammation and swelling.

How much schizonepeta should I take?

The typical dose of schizonepeta is between 4.5 grams and 9 grams, boiled in water and used as a decoction. Some practitioners use schizonepeta as part of a poultice to treat certain skin conditions.

What forms of schizonepeta are available?

Dried, sliced schizonepeta can be found at many herbal shops and specialty stores. Carbonized schizonepeta is also available. In addition, many stores sell schizonepeta powders and decoctions.

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

Schizonepeta has been known to cause allergic reactions and swelling in sensitive individuals; in addition, large doses of schizonepeta's volatile oil may lead to unwanted side-effects. It should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or patients who have blood disorders or dry mouth. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking schizonepeta or any other 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.
  • Ding AW, et al. Journal of Nanjing University of TCM 1998;14(5):282-3.
  • Liu JT, et al. China Journal of Pharmacy 1999;34(2):87-89.
  • Xu HQ, et al. Journal of Nanjing College of TCM 1994;10(6):25-26.
  • Zeng N, et al. Journal of TCM Pharmacology and Clinical Application 1998;14(6):24-26.

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