Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

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.

a.k.a. Leopard Flower, Leopard Lily
(Belamcanda chinensis syn Ixia chinensis syn Pardanthus chinensis)

CAUTION! Root potentially TOXIC!

CONTAINS: Glucoside shekanin (tectoridin).

A lovely ornamental native to China and Japan with deep, orange flowers with red spots (older flowers begin to twist spirally). Its common name is derived from the appearance of the fruit; when the pods split open, shiny black seeds appear in clusters that look very much like blackberries. Its herbal use was first mentioned in the Shen Nong Canon of Herbs ca. 25-220AD.

PROPAGATION: By seed in spring and division. Perennial.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in well-drained, sandy, humus-rich soil in sun. Requires protection in zones 4 and further north during cold winters.
HARVEST: Rhizomes in summer and autumn; dried for use.
PART USED: Rhizomes [she gan]

Bitter, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, expectorant, purgative; affects lungs and liver. Has been used against bacteria, fingi, and viruses.
Has been used in Chinese medicine for wheezing; deep coughs with hoarseness, phlegmy coughs, throat pain and infections, bronchitis, asthma, tonsillitis, laryngitis, stomach pain, mumps, irregular menses, rheumatism, goiter, swollen liver and spleen, hepatitis, dysuria, constipation, dropsy, gonorrhea, malaria and breast cancer.
In China, has been used as a treatment for rice-field dermatitis (fungal skin infection which afflicts workers in rice fields).
Has been used externally for boils, cancer, contusions, and swellings.
Has been used as a poultice for sprains.
Has ancient historical use (100 BC) in oriental medicine for treating laryngeal tumors.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH