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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ligustrum: A Valued Tonic Herb

The dried ripe fruit of Ligustrum lucidum Ait. (Family Oleaceae), known as nuzhenzi in Chinese, is a yin tonic which brightens vision, darkens hair, invigorates the liver and kidney and nourishes blood. It has traditionally been used for premature graying of hair, dizziness, tinnitus, sore back and knees, blurred vision, and habitual constipation in the elderly. A more modern use is in the treatment of chronic benzene poisoning.

Ligustrum is one of the most highly valued Chinese tonics, often used in soup mixes and wines. In an effort to understand how and why it has been so highly valued since around 800 B.C., Chinese scientists have recently found that it exhibits a wide variety of effects both in animals and humans. These effects include immunomodulating, antiinflammatory, hypoglycemic, antimutagenic, anti-allergic, sedative, diuretic, mild cardiotonic, antitumor and the prevention of leukopenia caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, etc. Many of these effects are due to oleanolic acid (also present in common jujube) which is present up to 4.3% in ligustrum, the highest among two hundred fifteen herbs tested by Chinese researchers. But oleanolic acid is probably not the only key to ligustrum's function as a highly valued tonic. Some other compounds and nutrients such as ursolic acid, mannitol, fatty acids, glycosides and other still unknown nutrients must also play a role.

According to the great herbalist, Li Shi-Zhen (1590 A.D.), ligustrum also has beautifying properties. Maybe for this reason, it is used in hair tonic formulas and formulas for removing facial dark spots primarily intended for internal use. Due to its anti-allergic and antiinflammatory activities, it can be a beneficial ingredient in skin care products.

Dr. Albert Leung’s book, Better Health with (mostly) Chinese Herbs and Food discusses the use of 60 different herbs as healing foods, including Ligustrum on page 58. For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit www.earthpower.com.

No comments: