Herbs & Botanicals
Akebia Fruit (ba yue zha)
What is akebia fruit? What is it used for?
The akebia fruit comes from the akebia vine (also known as the clematis). Native to Korea and Japan, different parts of the plant are used for different purposes. This article will discuss the uses of akebia fruit; akebia stem (or clematis stem) is discussed elsewhere on this site. The fruit is edible, between two and three inches long, and turns dark violet when ripe, with numerous red-brown seeds. Typically, akebia fruit is harvested just before turning ripe, then dried. The seeds are usually left intact with the fruit for use in herbal remedies.
According to the principles of Chinese medicine, akebia fruit is bitter and cold, and is associated with the Liver and Stomach meridains. Its main actions are to regulate the flow of liver qi, to promote blood circulation and relieve pain, and to promote the flow of urine. It is used to treat epigastric conditions such as a distended stomach and abdominal pain, along with amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. Some practitioners have used akebia fruit to reduce masses such as tumors and cysts that may be caused by qi stagnation.
How much akebia fruit should I take?
The typical dosage of akebia fruit is between 15 and 30 grams, decocted in water and taken orally. Much smaller doses should be taken when using akebia fruit extracts.
What forms of akebia fruit are available?
Whole, dried akebia fruits can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores. Some shops also sell akebia extracts.
What can happen if I take too much akebia fruit? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
Akebia fruit should not be given to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, it should not be given to patients diagnosed with yin deficiency. Large doses may lead to intestinal problems such as colic and diarrhea, due to the fruitÕs high saponin content. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking akebia fruit or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.
- Bown D. Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. ISBN # 0-7513-020-31.
- Dharmananda S. The treatment of gastrointestinal cancers with Chinese medicine. Available online at www.itmonline.org/arts/gicancer.htm. Published May 1997.
- Gaeddert A. What is coriolus versicolor? Medicinal mushroom used in cancer therapy. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, August 2001.
- Genders R. Scented Flora of the World. London: Robert Hale, 1994. ISBN # 0-7090-5440-8.
- Reese A, Lyons RE, Swearingen JM. Fiveleaf Akebia (akebia quinata). Washington, D.C. National Park Service, Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group, 1998.