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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Bai Ji, Hyacinth Orchid, Urn Orchid
(Bletilla striata syn Bletia hyacinthia)
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A ground orchid found on grassy slopes of foothills on sandy soil, growing to 2 feet, native to China and Japan, with plicate leaves; purple flowers about 1 inch long appear in terminal racemes on leafless scapes in early summer.

PROPAGATION: By offsets of pseudo bulbs in spring; by division.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in shade in well-drained humusy soil with the addition of peat and leaf mold; young leaves susceptible to slugs; plant also susceptible to aphids and spider mites.
PART USED: Tuberous rhizomes which have been sliced and dried for decoctions and powders; also stem.
HARVEST: Tuberous rhizomes (often sold as bulbs, but are pseudo bulbs) when dormant.
WHITE BLETILLA (B.s. 'Alba'): A white-flowering cultivar.

Bitter, sweet, sour, styptic, antibacterial, reduces swelling.
Has been used in Chinese medicine internally for lung and stomach hemorrhages such as those seen in tuberculosis and gastric ulcers; also used for nosebleeds; externally has been mixed with sesame oil for burns, bleeding wounds, abscesses, and sores.
The stem has also been used in Chinese medicine as a tonic for lungs, coughs, chest pain, dry and cracked skin, burns and scalds.

©2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH