Atractylodes is a plant genus in the sunflower family. Several species are used in traditional Chinese medicine.1 Among them is the herb known as Bai Zhu, also called white atractylodes rhizome, which can be combined with other herbs like ginger, Dali ginseng, and Curculigo.2
Atractylodes Uses and Health Benefits
The roots of atractylodes plants have long been used to treat a variety of conditions. Some of the most prevalent atractylodes benefits involve the digestive system. The herbs are said to help fight indigestion, stomachache, bloating, and fluid retention.1 Other atractylodes uses include the ability to fight dust mite allergies and treat complications related to dialysis--which is a medical procedure for cleaning the blood following kidney failure.1 Additional atractylodes benefits include for:
- Lung Cancer - Atractylodes have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of lung cancer.
- Anorexia Nervosa - Although more research is needed, atractylodes are thought to help treat loss of appetite, which may help patients suffering from anorexia nervosa.
- Rheumatism - It’s believed that atractylodes may help in treating rheumatism, or joint pain.
- Common Cold - Among atractylodes benefits, it may help in fighting the common cold.
- Gout - Atractylodes are also thought to be effective in treating gout.
- Diarrhea - As with atractylodes other uses for digestive issues, it can also help in combating symptoms of diarrhea.
Atractylodes Side Effects and Precautions
Like with any herb, starting on an atractylodes diet should not be taken lightly. Atractylodes may cause allergic reactions, especially in people who have a known ragweed allergy. Other atractylodes side effects may include nausea and dry mouth. You may notice that the herb leaves a long-lasting bad taste in your mouth.3
While atractylodes have been used in traditional medicine for preventing early pregnancy loss, more research is needed. Researchers say that largehead atractylodes rhizome, a type of Chinese medicine, may actually be harmful to a developing fetus.4 It’s best to avoid atractylodes when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Although atractylodes seem to be safe when taken in recommended doses for short periods of time, it’s best to talk to your doctor before starting on an atractylodes diet. More research is needed to determine the safety of the herb, what types of herbs it interacts with, and how much one should take per dose. Stay on the safe side and discuss atractylodes and other treatment options with your doctor before attempting to self medicate.