Herbs & Botanicals
Abutilon Seed (dong kui zi)
What is abutilon seed? What is it used for?
Also known as the Indian mallow or the velvetleaf, abutilon is a type of tree that grows predominantly in the world's tropical regions and belongs to the Malvacae family. The fruit of the tree is gathered once it ripens in the late summer or early autumn. The fruit is dried in the sun. After drying, the seeds are harvested from the fruit, then ground into a type of powder or paste.
According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, abutilon seeds have sweet, moistening, and neutral-cold properties, and are associated with the Bladder, Large Intestine and Small Intestine meridians. Its main functions are to clear heat and dampness, and to invigorate the blood. Today, abutilon seeds are sometimes still used to reduce fevers, reduce inflammation, and increase the flow of urine. Some practitioners also use abutilon seeds to treat respiratory conditions such as tuberculosis, and to aid in digestion. Externally, abutilon seeds can be ground down into a poultice or paste to treat skin ulcers and boils.
How much abutilon seed should I take?
The typical dosage of abutilon seed is between 15 and 30 grams, boiled in water and taken as a tea or decoction. Some practitioners recommend smaller amounts (9 to 15 grams). Larger amounts can be used if abutilon seed is being applied to the skin.
What forms of abutilon seed are available?
Powdered abutilon seeds can be found at many Asian markets, herbal shops and specialty stores. Some stores also sell abutilon seed pastes and poultices.
What can happen if I take too much abutilon seed? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
The leaves and flowers of abutilon have been given a class 1 rating by the American Herbal Products Association; however, seeds have not been investigated by the AHPA. Abutilon seeds should be used with caution on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking abutilon seeds or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.
- Abutilon. Available online at www.botany.com/abutilon.htm.
- Abutilon (dong kui zi). Available online at www.herbalshop.com/tcm/ChineseHerb_A001.html.
- Abutilon indicum. Available online at www.medicineatyourfeet.com/abutilonindicum.html.
- Dong kui zi. Available online at www.sacredlotus.com/herbs/herb.cfm/hid/92.
- Mallow. Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, 2005. Available online at www.encyclopedia.com/html/m1/mallow.asp.