Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)

Perennial
Campanula glauca. Thunb. C. grandiflora.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Balloon Flower
Platycodon grandiflorus
Campanulaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    This species has a history of herbal use in China going back over 2,000 years and modern clinical tests have demonstrated its efficacy[218, 238]. It is widely used there in patent remedies and is also made into cough tablets[238].

    The root contains saponins and is anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiphlogistic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, expectorant, haemolytic, hypoglycaemic, sedative, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. It lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the liver and inhibits the release of histamine[116, 147, 174, 176, 178, 218, 238, 279]. It is used internally in the treatment of coughs with profuse phlegm, colds, bronchitis, pleurisy, pulmonary abscesses and throat infections[176, 238]. It is also used to treat hypertension and diabetes in Korea[279]. The root of plants 2 – 3 years old are harvested in the spring or autumn, peeled and used fresh or dried[238].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves – cooked[177]. The radical leaves are said to be slightly toxic so only the top leaves should be used.

    Old leaves are powdered and used as a flavouring.

    Root – cooked[177]. Eaten in soups as a tonic vegetable[238]. It is also peeled and pickled or preserved in sugar[218]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The root is poisonous[116]. The older, basal leaves are also said to be slightly toxic[179]. If these reports are true then this is an exceptional species in a family that is generally free of toxins and often used for food[K].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame[111]. Free and quick germination[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the winter when the plants are dormant[238, K]. Basal cuttings of non-flowering shoots in spring, preferably with a piece of root attached[188]. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any good well-drained garden soil but prefers a light more or less sandy soil in a sunny position or light dappled shade[200]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[200]. Another report says it is hardy to -20¡c[187]. A very ornamental and long-lived plant[1, 233], there are several named forms[238]. It is cultivated, especially in China, as a medicinal plant[61, 238]. This species has brittle roots and strongly resents root disturbance. It should be planted out in its permanent position as soon as possible, and preferably when dormant in the winter[111, 238].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria.

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.