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Akebia (Akebia quinata)

Rajania quinata.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Akebia quinata

The peeled stems are very pliable and can be used in basket making[174].

Plants have sometimes been used as a ground cover, but their method of growth does not really lend themselves to this use[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    The stems are anodyne, antifungal, antiphlogistic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, galactogogue, resolvent, stimulant, stomachic and vulnerary[174, 178, 218, 238]. Taken internally, it controls bacterial and fungal infections and is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, lack of menstruation, to improve lactation etc[238]. The stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238].

    The fruit is antirheumatic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic[218]. It is a popular remedy for cancer[218].

    The root is febrifuge[218].

    The plant was ranked 13th in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China[218].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw[2, 105, 177]. Sweet but insipid[3]. The fruit has a delicate flavour and a soft, juicy texture[K]. Lemon juice is sometimes added to the fruit to enhance the flavour[183]. The bitter skin of the fruit is fried and eaten[183]. The fruit is 5 – 10cm long and up to 4m wide[200, 266].

    Soft young shoots are used in salads or pickled[183].

    The leaves are used as a tea substitute[105, 177, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Surface sow in a light position[133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 15¡c[133]. Stored seed should be given 1 month cold stratification[113, 133] and can be very difficult to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[11, 113]. The cuttings can be slow to root[200]. Cuttings can also be taken of soft wood in spring[113]. Root cuttings, December in a warm greenhouse[113]. Layering in early spring[1]. Very easy, the plants usually self-layer and so all you need to do is dig up the new plants and plant them out directly into their permanent positions.
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[200]. Prefers a good loamy soil[11]. Succeeds in acid or alkaline soils[200]. Prefers partial shade but succeeds in full sun[3, 200]. Succeeds on north facing walls[219]. Plants are fast growing and can be invasive[200]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20¡c but they can be somewhat tender when young[200]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. This species grows very well in S.W. England[11]. Plants are evergreen in mild winters[11]. Resentful of root disturbance, either grow the plants in containers prior to planting them out or plant them out whilst very young[219]. Plants are not normally pruned, if they are growing too large they can be cut back by trimming them with shears in early spring[202]. The flowers have a spicy fragrance, reminiscent of vanilla[219]. Plants are shy to fruit, they possibly require some protection in the flowering season, hand pollination is advisable[3, 11]. Plants are probably self-sterile[11, 182], if possible at least 2 plants should be grown, each from a different source. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.