Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena asphodeloides)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Zhi Mu
Anemarrhena asphodeloides
Asphodelaceae

The root contains about 6% saponins[240]. Saponins make an excellent soap, having a gentle cleansing effect on the skin and clothes without removing the natural body oils from the skin[K]. To extract the saponins it is usually sufficient to cut the root into thin slices and then gently simmer in water[K].

  • Medicinal Use

    The rhizome is anti-fungal, antiseptic, bitter, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, laxative, lenitive, sedative and tonic[176, 238, 279]. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, Proteus and Pseudomonas[176]. It is taken internally in the treatment of high fevers in infectious diseases, TB, chronic bronchitis, diabetes and urinary problems[176, 238, 279]. It should not be given to patients with diarrhoea and should be administered with caution since when taken in excess it can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure[238]. Externally, it is used as a mouthwash in the treatment of ulcers[238]. The rhizome is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the spring[200]. Stored seed should be sown in late winter or early spring in a cold frame[164]. It sometimes germinates within 1 – 3 months at 15¡c, but may take a year. The seed should be completely separated from the fruit and should only just be covered by soil[164, 200]. If the seed has been sown thinly enough, then it is possible to leave the seedlings in the pot for their first growing season, dividing them after they become dormant. Make sure to give them liquid feeds at intervals through the spring and summer. Otherwise prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in late spring or early summer at the beginning of their second or third years growth. Division in spring as new growth is just commencing[200].
Requires a rich moist neutral to acid soil that is rich in organic matter, in a position in partial or dappled shade[200]. Plants are tolerant of strong winds[174]. Plants can be naturalized in wild or woodland gardens and other moist shaded situations that approximate to their natural wooded mountain habitats[200]. This species is not hardy in all parts of Britain, it tolerates temperatures down to at least -5¡c[238]. This plant is occasionally cultivated in China as a medicinal herb[[174]. The fragrant flowers open in the evening[238].
E. Asia – N. China and Japan.

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.