Name: Aristolochia clematitis
Names: Aristolochia root, upright birthwort, birthwort, ma dou ling
Used: Rootstock, flowering
Birthwort is a remedy that goes back to the ancient Egyptians, who used it for snakebite. Early writings also indicate that it has long been used to promote uterine contractions during childbirth.
Diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, oxytocic, stimulant
Fruit: Expectorant, antitussive, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal
Birthwort has been used for abdominal complaints and menstrual problems. The decoction can be used externally for wounds and also for leg ulcers.
Chinese herbalists use the fruit when there is lung heat and inflammation, with or without deficiency, but with the presence of phlegm. For these conditions, it stops coughing and wheezing. It is also used internally to treat bleeding hemorrhoids.
Birthwort is a perennial plant found growing around fences, thickets, field edges, and vineyards. The erect, yellow-green, somewhat sinuous stem grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet from a long, thin rootstock. The dark green leaves are kidney-shaped and short-petioled. The yellowish-green flowers appear in May and June.
When the plant is in flower, use the entire plant, including the rootstock; otherwise use the rootstock alone.
Decoction: Use 2 tbsp. fresh plant (or rootstock) with 1 cup water. Boil for 10 minutes, then strain. Dosage as directed by a doctor.
Cold Extract: Use 2 tsp. plant or rootstock with 1 cup cold water. Let stand for 6 to 8 hours. Dosage as directed by a doctor.
Fruit: 3-9 grams
CAUTION: Birthwort contains a substance that acts similar to the poisonous alkaloid colchicine.
Do not use except under professional supervision.
Aristolochia fruit should not be used in cases of spleen deficiency with diarrhea or conditions of cold and deficiency with cough and wheezing.
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