Chinese Privet (Ligustrum lucidum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chinese Privet
Ligustrum lucidum

A commercial insect wax is produced on the branches as a result of eggs being laid by insects[11]. Another report says that the wax is produced by the plant due to the stimulation of the feeding insects[61]. Yet another report says that the wax is produced by the insects[178]. It is used for candles and as a polish for earthenware pots, book edges etc[178].

The plant can be used as a hedge[11]. It is very amenable to trimming.

  • Medicinal Use

    Chinese privet has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1,000 years[238]. The fruit is antibacterial, antiseptic, antitumour, cardiotonic, diuretic and tonic[147, 176, 178, 238]. It is taken internally in the treatment of complaints associated with weak kidney and liver energy such as menopausal problems (especially premature menopause), blurred vision, cataracts, tinnitus, rheumatic pains, palpitations, backache and insomnia[147, 238]. Modern research has shown that the plant increases the white blood cell count and is of value when used to prevent bone marrow loss in cancer chemotherapy patients[176, 178, 238], it also has potential in the treatment of AIDS[238]. Extracts of the plant show antitumour activity[218]. Good results have also been achieved when the fruit has been used in treating respiratory tract infections, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease and hepatitis[238].

    The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and is dried for later use[238]. It is often decocted with other herbs in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments and also as a general tonic[218]. Some caution is advised in their use, since the fruits are toxic when eaten in quantity[238].

    The leaves are anodyne, diaphoretic, febrifuge, pectoral and vulnerary[218].

    The bark of the stems is diaphoretic[218].

  • Edible Use

    Young shoots – cooked. A famine food, used when all else fails[179]. The shoots contain a glycoside and are probably toxic[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The fruit is mildly toxic[238]. Although no other reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, it is quite probable that other parts of the plant also contain toxins[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

The seed does not require any pre-treatment and can be sown in the spring in a cold frame[113]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Very easy[78]. Cuttings of mature wood, 20 – 30cm in a sheltered outdoor bed in November/December. High percentage[78].
A very tolerant and easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil that is not impoverished or water-logged[11, 182]. Dislikes strongly alkaline soils[202]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in full sun and also in deep shade[202]. Very tolerant of atmospheric pollution[1, 11]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[202]. A moderately fast-growing plant[202]. It is very tolerant of trimming and will regrow even from very old stems if it is cut back hard[202]. A very ornamental plant[1], there are some named varieties[202]. The variegated cultivars are best grown in full sun[238]. This plant is a symbol of chastity in China[178]. Closely related to L. japonicum[200]. This species is notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
E. Asia – China.

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.