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Herbs & Botanicals

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Spirodela (fu ping)

What is spirodela? What is it used for?

Also known as the duckweed, spirodela is an aquatic plant that typically floats on the surface in ponds and other areas of standing water. It is found throughout China. In addition to being an important food source for fish and waterfowl, it is a component of many herbal preparations. The entire plant is used in herbal remedies. The plant is gathered in the summer, cleaned of impurities, then dried in the sun.

In traditional Chinese medicine, spirodela has pungent and cold properties, and is associated with the Lung and Urinary Bladder meridians. It helps to promote perspiration and urination, and reduces itching and swelling. It is often used to treat measles and similar types of skin rashes, along with general aches and pains. Spirodela can either be taken alone or in conjunction with other herbs.

How much spirodela should I take?

The amount of spirodela to be taken depends on the condition being treated. The general dosage of spirodela is between three and 10 grams of herb, mashed or ground into a powder and decocted in water for drinking. It can also be used as a type of wash or rinse for skin rashes and measles.

What forms of spirodela are available?

Whole, dried spirodela can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores. Some shops also sell spirodela pills, extracts and powders. Spirodela is also an important component in many herbal remedies.

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

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions or adverse side-effects associated with the use of spirodela. However, spirodela should not be given to patients with weak constitutions, or those who suffer from excessive sweating. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking spirodela or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Cole CT, Voskuil MI. Population genetic structure in duckweed (lemna minor, lemnaceae). Canadian Journal of Botany February 1996;74(2):222-230.
  • Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C (eds.) PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 2000, p. 258.
  • Landolt E. Lemna yungensis, a new duckweed species from rocks of the Andean yugas in Bolivia. Bulletin of the Geobotanical Institute ETH 1998;64: 15-21.
  • Les DH, Crawford DJ, Landolt E, et al. 2002. Phylogeny and systematics of lemnaceae, the duckweed family. Systematic Botany 2002;27(2):221-240.
  • Tarver DP, Rogers JA, Mahler MJ, et al. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Florida, third edition. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Natural Resources, 1986.

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