Herbs & Botanicals
Ligustrum (nü zhen zi)
What is ligustrum? What is it used for?
Also known as privet, ligustrum is a small, evergreen-like tree
native to China and eastern Asia. It is used mostly as a form of
decoration and source of shade in the United States. The shrub contains
large clusters of white flowers with bluish-purple berries that
are used medicinally. The berries contain a variety of nutrients,
including calcium, fructose, glucose, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Since ancient times, ligustrum has been used as a yin tonic in
traditional Chinese medicine. It was often used in combination with
astragalus to treat various conditions, including tinnitus and premature
aging. Recent studies conducted in China suggest that ligustrum
stimulates the immune system, fights inflammation, and helps protect
the liver. Some studies suggest it improves vision and can relieve
the symptoms of rheumatism and pneumonia.
How much ligustrum should I take?
Patients eating powdered berries should take between 5-15 grams
per day. Alternatively, some herbalists recommend 3-5 millileters
of ligustrum tincture three times per day.
What forms of ligustrum are available?
Ligustrum berries are widely available in dried, crushed and powdered
forms. Ligustrum tinctures are also available; powdered berries
can be added to boiling water to make a ligustrum-based tea.
What can happen if I take too much ligustrum?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions
should I take?
At this time, no adverse effects have been reported in patients
taking ligustrum. There are no well-known drug interactions with
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regelianum and osmanthus heterophyllus (oleaceae).
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