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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 Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree, Matrimony Vine
(Lycium barbarum)


CONTAINS: Poisonous alkaloids!

Long known in Chinese medicine, being first recorded about 200 B.C., this spiny-branched shrub is native to warm, temperate regions and the tropics, but can often be found growing in dry areas. Native from northern Africa to Iraq.

PROPAGATION: By seed in autumn; by softwood cuttings in summer; by hardwood cuttings in winter.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in sandy, alkaline soil (moist, but well-drained) in sun; cut back in spring to control growth. Commercially grown plants should be pruned 2 or 3 times per year to encourage compact, shrubby growth and heavier fruiting.
HARVEST: Root bark in winter; strip from roots and dry. Fruit in autumn as available, then dried.
PART USED: Root bark, fruits.
CHINESE WOLFBERRY (Lycium chinense): Also known as Chinese Matrimony Vine and native to China and Japan, but found naturlized in Europe and the United States. Fruits have been used to treat impotence, dizziness, general weakness, fever, and diabetes. The root bark has been used to treat impotence, backache, dizziness, general weakness, fever, sore throat, rheumatism, and pneumonia.


The root bark is considered bitter and cooling, febrifuge, and antibacterial; has been used to control coughs and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
The fruits have been used in Chinese medicine in decoction form as a tonic, and to lower blood pressure and cholesterol; affects liver and kidneys.
Has been used internally for high blood pressure, weak eyes, vertigo, lumbago, impotence, menopausal problems (fruit), chronic fevers, internal hemorrhage, nosebleed, tuberculosis, asthma, general weakness, verrucas (=warts), and eczema (root bark).
Has been used externally for genital itching.

In European folklore, boxthorn planted near a home would cause discord between a husband and wife, thus the name 'Matrimony Vine'.

©2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH