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What is Atractylodes ( Bai Zhu) ?

Known by its formal name of Atractylodes lancea, Atractylodes is a plant that is grown in East Asia. Commonly found in Hubei and Jiangsu provinces of China, it is sometimes referred to as Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome or in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as Bai Zhu. Since it is known to be the go-to herb for invigorating Qi and strengthening the spleen, it is a widely used key ingredient in many herbal medicinal formulas in TCM thanks to its myriad of health benefits. Read on to learn more about Atractylodes benefits.

Atractylodes Properties

Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome is known in TCM for its both sweet and warm properties. It is a nontoxic substance that is often used in the treatment of some digestive issues and stomach ailments. Though it is mostly used clinically to treat lack of appetite and other gastrointestinal issues, it has many additional benefits that go beyond gastrointestinal function. Its extracts have been shown to provide anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-obesity effects.

Atractylodes Benefits ( Bai Zhu Benefits ) 

Atractylodes has many benefits and can be used to treat many different gastrointestinal issues from diarrhea to abdominal distention. A study from the West China School of Pharmacy demonstrated that a small dose of Atractylodes was able to slow and repress the dopamine-induced stomach emptying and gastrointestinal motility in mice. It is for this reason that it is commonly used in the treatment of both diarrhea and constipation.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, Atractylodes is often used in the treatment of both swelling and inflammation. It has been shown to inhibit production of the free radical nitric oxide. Reducing nitric oxide in the body leads to reduction in intestinal mucous permeability.  This helps to reduce the discomfort that tends to accompany bloating and swelling.
Free radicals are a normal part of cell metabolism. They are molecules which contain unpaired electrons. Thanks to this odd number of electrons, free radicals are rather unstable. They will attempt to gain more electrons from other molecules so that they may become stable. In doing so, they create more free radicals and do damage to cells. Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome has been shown in studies to inhibit this free radical production.
A study out of the College of Animal Science & Technology in China sought to find evidence of Atractylodes Macrocephala rhizome’s benefits to the immune system. They were able to demonstrate that heat stress that caused damage to chicken spleens was improved thanks to the use of Atractylodes.
The inhibition of nitric oxide leads to a number of other benefits. It can reduce the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. It has even been found to inhibit the growth of gastrointestinal tumors.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women. Some forms of breast cancer in women are known to be estrogen dependent. This simply means that estrogen may play a part in the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Studies have shown that inhibiting aromatase, an enzyme that triggers the conversion of androgens to estrogen, can be beneficial in the treatment of breast cancer. Atractylodes was shown in studies to be an effective aromatase inhibitor.

Atractylodes in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Support of digestive health and boosting of Qi of the spleen: According to TCM, Atractylodes belongs to the stomach, spleen, and liver meridians. It is used to eliminate dampness and to strengthen the spleen by boosting its Qi which is the vital force of that exists in the body. It also eliminates wind and disperses cold. It has been used to tonify both the Qi and the spleen. TCM practitioners have been using Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome to treat digestive disorders for thousands of years.

Promotes body fluids metabolism and reduces fluid retention:  Thanks to its regulating effect on spleen dampness as well as its diuretic effect, Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome is sometimes used in TCM to regulate the metabolism of bodily fluids. This helps to reduce both bloating and swelling caused by water retention.
Removing the accumulation of food: Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome also regulates the gastrointestinal tract. In doing so, it can improve motility issues that can lead to such symptoms as diarrhea and constipation. This improvement to bowel function helps to remove the accumulation of food throughout the gut.

Soothes the uterus during pregnancy: In TCM, another Atractylodes benefit is the ability to sooth the fetus in pregnant woman. It has been used for years to reduce the irritability of the smooth muscle of the uterus to prevent early labor.

Improves movements of intestines and bowels: Thanks to its ability to regulate intestinal inflammation, Atractylodes is used to treat those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It does so by reducing inflammation and protecting the intestinal barrier from damage.

Where to Find Atractylodes Macrocephala Rhizome

Another Atractylodes benefit is that it is easily available for purchase online. It can be found in a number of forms. You can buy it in the form of dried, sliced roots, in capsule form, or as a liquid tincture. The required dose may vary based on your needs, so reach out to a practitioner to discuss which form will work for you.

Conclusion:

Though the medical community is slow to adopt any possible treatment that has not been vigorously tested and approved for use, Atractylodes is not exactly a new discovery. Though most medical doctors agree that further testing on the Atractylodes benefits is needed, TCM practitioners have been using it in their practices for ages. Thanks to its long history and use in TCM, Atractylodes is an option to consider for those who are suffering from gastrointestinal issues, bloating, swelling, or a weakened immune system. It is affordable and readily available for purchase.  If you think you would like to try it out to achieve some of these Atractylodes benefits, speak with a practitioner to discuss your options and decide which form and dose is right for you.

For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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