Atractylodes macrocephala

Atractylodes macrocephala Koidzumi, Fl. Symb. Orient.-Asiat. 5. 1930.

Atractylodes macrocephala
(Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz.; Photo Parag Jain and
Latin Name: Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz.
Family & Genus: Asteraceae, Atractylodes
Synonym Name: Atractylis lancea var. chinensis (Bunge) Kitam.; Atractylis macrocephala (Koidz.) Hand.-Mazz.; Atractylis macrocephala (Koidz.) Nemoto; Atractylis macrocephala var. hunanensis Ling; Atractylis macrocephala var. macrocephala; Atractylis nemotoiana Arènes
English Name: Largehead Atractylodes
Common Name: Largehead atractylodes rhizome
Chinese Name: 白术 bai shu
Vietnamese Name: Bạch truật
Description: Herbs 20-60 cm tall. Rhizome thick. Stem branched from base, glabrous. Leaves papery, glabrous. Middle cauline leaves petiolate; petiole 3-6 cm; leaf blade divided almost to base into 3-5 segments; lateral segments entire or bipartite, oblanceolate to ± narrowly elliptic, 4.5-7 × 1.5-2 cm; terminal segment largest. Upper cauline leaves similar but smaller. Outer bracts sessile, elliptic to narrowly elliptic, margin entire; inner bracts pinnatisect. Capitula 6-10. Involucre broadly campanulate, 3-4 cm in diam. Phyllaries numerous, imbricate, margin white cobwebby, apex obtuse; outer phyllaries ovate to triangular, 6-8 × 3-4 mm; innermost phyllaries lanceolate to broadly linear, 11-20 × 2-3 mm. Corolla purplish red, ca. 1.7 cm. Achene obconic, ca. 7.5 mm, hairs white. Pappus dirty white, ca. 1.7 cm. Flowering: September to October; fruiting: October to December.
Ecological: Grasslands, forests; 600-2800 m
Distribution: Growing on hills. Widely cultivated. The medicinal materials are mainly produced in Zhejiang, Anhui, Hunan.
Part Used: Medical part: rhizome. Chinese name: Baizhu.
Harvest & Processing: In thee last ten days of October to the middle ten days of November, after the aboveground withered, excavated roots on sunny days, removed soil, cut stalks and dried the root and stem by 100, reduce the temperature to 60-70 when the bark heating, turn up side down each 4 to 5 hours, half-dried, removed fibrous root, then to 80 percent dried, stop heating, heaped up for 5-6 days, softened the bark, then completely dried. Or totally sun-dried for 15-20 days.
Largehead atractylodes rhizome contains volatile oils, such as α-humulene, β-humulene, α-curcumene, β-elemol, atractlone, 3β-acetoxyatractylone, selina-4(14),7(11)-dien-8-one, hinesol, and atractylodin. It also contains lactone compounds such as atractylenolides I-IV, atractylenolactam, beishulenolide A, peroxiatractylenolide III, biepiasterolide, biatractylenolide II, atractylenolide II and taraxeryl acetate. Others are immune active polysaccharides, essential amino acids and vitamins.
Pharmacology: Gastric-ulcer-preventing, intestines-movement-influencing, hepatic-protective, beneficial to gallbladder, antioxidant and anti-tumor, blood-sugar-reducing, anticoagulation, cardiovascular-system-affecting and anti-bacteria; toxic.
Toxicology: Largehead atractylodes rhizome decoction injected (i.p.) in mice, the LD50 was found to be 13.3g/kg. When mice were administered by gavage with largehead atractylodes rhizome decoction (0.5g/kg) for 14 consecutive days, white blood cells, in particular the lymph cells, were reduced. After two months, there was mild anemia. Some of them had observed pathological changes in the epithelial cells of kidney tubules.
Properties & Actions: Taste bitter, sweet, and warm in nature. Benefiting spleen, tonifying qi, drying dampness, inducing urination, checking sweating and preventing miscarriage.
Indications & Usage: Used for deficiency-weakness of spleen-qi, mental weariness and hypodynamia, abdominal distension and anorexia, loose stools, fluid retention stagnating in the interior, difficulty in urination, edema, dizziness induced by phlegm and retained fluids, aching pain due to damp arthralgia, spontaneous persipiration due to superficial asthenia, restless fetal movement. Internal: decocting, 3-15g; or prepared plaster; or made as pills or powders. Induce urination, disperse swelling, strengthen exterior and reduce sweating, remove damp and cure numbness; stir-heated for tonify spleen and stomach; stir -heated for tonify spleen and stop diarrhea.
1. Tumescence due to splenic asthenia: largehead atractylodes 100g, orange peel 200g. Grind into powder, prepare pills with liquor as large as semen firmianae. Take 30 pills before meals each time with aucklandia root decoction.
2. Asthenia, indigestion: yushu (immersed into liquor, steam and dry for 9 times) 500g, China dodder (cook in liquor, dry under the sun) 500g. Grind all drugs into powder and prepare honey pills as large as semen firmianae. Take 10-15g each time.
- Chen Pian, Clinical Application of Tonifying Herbs, Second Military Medical University Press, 2008.
- Zhao Zhongzhen & Xiao Peigen (editor-in-chief), Contemporary Medicinal Herbal Glossary, Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Chinese Medicine, 2006-8.
- Yunzhi Li, Min Dai & Daiyin Peng (2017) New bisesquiterpenoid lactone from the wild rhizome of Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz grown in Qimen, Natural Product Research, 31:20, 2381-2386

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