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Atractylodes – sources, health benefits, nutrients, uses and constituents at

Thursday, August 24, 2017 by

The atractylodes (Atractylodes macrocephala) is an aromatic perennial herb native to China where it grows in mountain valleys, particularly in the Zhejiang province. This pungent, bitter plant has been has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries, and is regarded as one of the most valuable herbs in Chinese tonic herbalism. According to, many of its past and present uses are in regards to building up one’s life force, or their immune system.

List of known nutrients

The most active and effective compounds in atractylodes are as follows:

  • Atractylol
  • Atractylone
  • Caffeic acid
  • Ferulic acid
  • Protocatechuic Acid
  • Scopoletin
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Vitamin A

Medicinal uses for atractylodes

As one herb with a long and rich history, atractylodes have seen use in the treatment of all kinds of remedies. Among its many applications include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspnea
  • Edema
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid Retention
  • Gastroptosis
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Poor Appetite
  • Stress
  • Swelling
  • Trismus
  • Ukcers
  • Vertigo
  • Vomiting

Atractylodes is considered “warm” in nature, yet it was used to eliminate heat by encouraging the purging of moisture. In modern terms, this means that atractylodes have a diuretic effect that results in increased urination. This, in turn, can reduce edema, a condition that arises when too much fluid is accumulated in the body’s tissues and organs. Because of this, however, atractylodes is thought of as a “drying herb” or an herb that can bring about dehydration.

Those who live in hot climates or are in the middle of summer can find relief in atractylodes, mostly in regards to the sudden onset of diarrhea, bloating, or fatigue.

Individuals suffering from poor appetite can turn to atractylodes to stimulate their appetite.

By itself, atractylodes is not recommended for pregnant women. However, atractylodes paired up with other herbs is thought of as being useful against the morning sickness that comes with pregnancy.

Body systems supported by atractylodes

Atractylodes are known for their positive impact on the spleen, a body part associated with the immune system. These plants accomplish this by tonifying and bolstering the spleen.

In addition, tractylodes is believed to support the digestive system, most notably by strengthening digestion and by relieving the symptoms of digestive disorders like diarrhea.

Ways to use atractylodes

Cut up the roots, bark, and resin then steep in boiling water for at least 30 minutes to make a tea or soup of atractylodes. The long brewing period is to ensure that the different plant parts are able to release their medicinal properties into the soup or tea.

Atractylodes extract can be purchased from Asian specialty stores or the offices of Chinese medical practitioners and herbalists. Herbal medicine practitioners would usually recommend taking 10 to 30 drops of atractylodes extract twice or thrice a day, although this dosage may vary from person to person.

Due to the dehydrating effect, however, atractylodes is best taken infrequently and in moderate doses.

Where to learn more


The atractylodes is an herb that has been linked with the health of the stomach and the spleen. It’s said to prevent conditions connected with both of these body parts, specifically edema, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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