Learn More About Dr. Leung's Research Philosophy

Dr. Leung says "My thinking has changed and I no longer trust research findings on botanicals unless... "
Click to read more about Dr. Leung's research philosophy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Giant Knotweed is Japanese Knotweed is Huzhang

Giant knotweed is a commonly used name for Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. et Zucc. (Family Polygonaceae). The standardized common name for this herb in commerce is Japanese Knotweed. It also can be known by its Chinese name, huzhang. Parts used are the root and rhizome. Properties include antiarthritic, antirheumatic, analgesic, detoxicant, antitussive, expectorant, antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant. The most common traditional uses for giant knotweed are painful joints, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, cough with excessive phlegm, skin sores and boils, and traumatic injuries. More modern or recent uses include burns, acute viral hepatitis, and acute infections (e.g. appendicitis). Finally, huzhang has recently become a major source of resveratrol, a compound found in a number of plants and having a number of reported health-enhancing effects in research trials.

Originally native to eastern Asia, giant knotweed has escaped in North America and is now a weed found throughout New England and neighboring states and in Canada. Young shoots are edible. Despite its abundance here in America, the rhizome and root are not collected or used, and huzhang comes primarily from China.

Although huzhang is botanically very closely related to fo-ti and buckwheat, their major uses differ considerably. Whereas fo-ti (especially the cured form) and buckwheat have a long history of use as a tonic or food, the use of huzhang is limited to specific disease treatments. In recent years, the Chinese have been using huzhang in the treatment of burns and acute viral hepatitis with considerable success. Modern scientific studies performed by Chinese and Japanese researchers have found that some of huzhang's chemical components have antibacterial, antiviral, liver protectant and antioxidant effects.

The unique broad, traditional and modern properites of huzhang, which include detoxicant, antiburn, wound healing, astringent, antimicrobial and antioxidant, have been utilized in skin care cosmetics and environmental products. Its extracts are used in skin lotions, antifatigue, massage and cleansing creams. As mentioned above, it is used as a main source of resveratrol.

Dr. Albert Leung’s book, Better Health with (mostly) Chinese Herbs and Food discusses the use of 60 different herbs as healing foods, including giant knotweed on pages 38-39.

For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit http://www.earthpower.com/.

No comments: