What is Mai Dong?
(scientific name: Ophiopogon japonicus （Thunb.）Ker-Gawl.
), also known as Mai Men Dong, Yin Jie Cao or Ophiopogon Japonicus
, is a perennial evergreen herbaceous plant in the Asparagaceae family. It grows in clusters and reaches a height of about 30 centimeters. The leaves are long, thin, and dark green, resembling chives. The flower stems emerge from the leaf clusters, with small, light purple flowers forming a terminal inflorescence. The fruit is like a berry, round, green or blackish blue when ripe. The rhizomes are short and have many fibrous roots, with the top or middle part swelling into a spindle-shaped fleshy nugget, which is taken as the medicine part.
Ophiopogon Japonicus is spindle-shaped, slightly pointed at both ends, 1.5 to 3 centimeters long and 0.3 to 0.6 centimeters in diameter. The surface is pale yellow or light yellow with fine longitudinal lines. The texture is soft and tough, the cross-section is pale yellow and translucent, and the central column is small. It has a slight fragrance and a sweet, slightly bitter taste.
Growth environment of Mai Dong
Mai Dong is adaptable to a wide range of environments and can grow well in shaded or sunny areas. It is a common shade-tolerant ground cover plant that is easy to propagate. It grows well in moist and warm climates, and is slightly cold-resistant. It prefers loose, fertile, well-drained sandy soil, and dislikes drought and waterlogging.
Harvest and processing of Mai Dong
Mai Dong is usually harvested in summer.
After removing impurities, it is washed, moistened, crushed, and dried.
The specific process is to cut off the rhizome after getting dug , wash off the soil, and let the roots dry in the sun for 3 to 4 days. Then pile it in a ventilated place to allow it to evaporate water vapor for about 3 days. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times until it is completely dry. Finally, remove any remaining fibrous roots and impurities.
Store in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and insects.
Types of Mai Dong
There are several types of Mai Dong, including Zhe Mai Dong, Chuan Mai Dong, and Lianxin Mai Dong.
(1)Zhe Mai Dong
Zhe Mai Dong, also known as Hang Mai Dong and Jian Mai Dong, is the best quality and the most authentic medicine herb, mainly produced in Yuyao, Hangzhou, Cixi, and Xiaoshan in Zhejiang province.
(2)Chuan Mai Dong
Chuan Mai Dong is mainly produced in Mianyang, Sichuan province, and is sold nationwide and exported.
(3)Lianxin Mai Dong
Lianxin Mai Dong refers to Mai Dong that has not had its heart removed, while heart-removed Mai Dong has been stripped of its core.
The best Mai Dong has a large size, a plump appearance, a semi-transparent texture, a soft color, a pleasant fragrance, and a sticky, adhesive texture when chewed.
Mai Dong TCM
The dried root of the lily family plant Mai Dong (known as Yan Jie Cao).
Sweet, slightly bitter, slightly cold in nature.
Enter the Heart, Lung, and Stomach meridians.
Mai Dong has the effects of nourishing yin and generating fluids, moistening the Lungs, clearing the Heart, and stopping coughing.
Mai Dong is used for treating insufficient yin and thirst caused by diminishing fluids in the Lungs and Stomach, coughing due to deficiency and consumptive disease, restlessness and insomnia, internal heat, dry stool and constipation, and sore throat.
6-12g per day, decocted in water, steeped in tea, made into cream or added into porridge, or taken in pills or powder form.
Lian Xin Mai Dong, which has not had its heart removed, is commonly used for nourishing the yin and clearing the Heart, while heart-removed Maidong is for nourishing the yin and Stomach.
Mai Dong should not be taken by those with Spleen and Stomach deficiency, cold diarrhea, or phlegm and turbid dampness in the Stomach, or by those who suffer from sudden colds and coughs.
Mai Dong, compatible with other different medicine herbs, enacts different effects.
(1) Compatible with Yuan Shen, which has different properties that complement each other. The combination nourishes yin, moistens lungs, generates fluids, and stops cough in children with Lung yin deficiency, anorexia, and peeling tongue coating.
(2) Compatible with Ban Xia, the combination can stop coughs and descending rebellious Qi, generate fluids, and tonify the Stomach. It is used for Lung and Stomach yin deficiency, Qi and inner-heat rising, coughing, vomiting, drooling, sore throat, and thirst.
(3) Compatible with Wu Wei Zi, which has sour and sweet properties that nourish and balance yin and yang. It can nourish yin and astringe sweat to stop perspiration. It is used for yin deficiency with excessive sweating, palpitations, long-term cough, little phlegm or sticky phlegm without comfort, etc.
(4) Compatible with Sha Shen and Chuan Bei, which are used together for treating Lung and Stomach disorders. It has the effects of clearing the Lung, cooling the Stomach, nourishing yin, and generating fluids. It is used for dry cough with less phlegm due to Lung yin deficiency or heat disturbing the Lung yin, dry and sore throat, etc.
(5) Compatible with Jing Mi, which is suitable for the syndrome of Qi and Yin damage in the Stomach after fever or chronic illness. It has a moderate effect on clearing and nourishing.
(6) Compatible with Wu Mei, which has sour and sweet properties and generate fluids and stop thirst. It can be used for thirst caused by Lung and Stomach fluid deficiency due to external attacks or internal injuries, or thirst due to Stomach heat and fluid impairment. Wu Mei can also bind the intestines, control diarrhea, and stop sweating, which is especially useful for chronic diarrhea, sweating, dry mouth and throat caused by Yin deficiency and excessive heat.
Mai Dong Contains many steroidal saponins, with the highest content of Mai Dong saponin A and the second highest content of Mai Dong saponin B. It also contains many flavonoids. Five flavonoids have been identified from Zhejiang Mai Dong. It also contains Mai Dong flavone A, rusco sapogenin M, dioscin, Mai Dong ketone, α-caryophyllene, ethyl palmitate, and oleanolic acid.
Mai Dong benefits
(1)Calming and clearing the mind
Mai Dong is suitable for irritability-related symptoms caused by internal heat, like,
a. When pathogenic inner-heat enters the camp and the body feels hot at night, restless and agitated.
b. When heat injures qi and yin, the Heart is restless, the mouth is thirsty, and the body is exhausted from sweating.
c. When the Heart yin is insufficient, the Heart is restless and insomnia occurs, and the tongue is red with little coating.
(2)Nourishing yin and moistening the lungs
Mai Dong is used to treat yin deficiency and lung dryness, dry cough, irritated cough, and coughing blood due to consumptive fever.
(3)Benefitting the Stomach and generating fluids
Mai Dong is good for treating Stomach yin deficiency, dry mouth and thirst, and loss of appetite. It can also be used to treat yin deficiency and dry stools leading to constipation.
In addition, Mai Dong contains an effective active ingredient called ruscogenin (RUS) which has remarkable pharmacological effects like anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, and protecting the vascular endothelium.
Mai Dong side effects
Normally, Mai Dong will not cause any side effects. However, if the patient has Spleen and Stomach deficiency or other diseases, gastrointestinal symptoms and allergic reactions may occur.
For patients with Spleen and Stomach deficiency, poor appetite, and loose stools, excessive consumption of Mai Dong may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms due to the cold nature of Mai Dong which, to some extent, irritate the spleen and stomach.
If the patient is sensitive to certain components in Mai Dong, after using or coming in contact with Mai Dong, symptoms such as rash or hives may occur, causing itching.
If patients with wind-cold and phlegm-damp cough mistakenly use Mai Dong, it may worsen their nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, and phlegm symptoms.
In clinical practices, Mai Dong is usually not used alone to treat related diseases. The use of medication compatibility needs to be based on the patient's own symptoms in order to improve its effectiveness.
Following the doctor's advice strictly when using medication is one way to minimize side effects. Additionally, during medication use period, it is necessary to avoid smoking, drinking, as well as spicy, cold, and greasy foods.
How to take Mai Dong?
(1)For treating whooping cough
Take 20g of Mai Dong, 20g of Tian Dong, 10g of fresh bamboo leaves, and 15g of lily. Decoct in water. (Newly Compiled Handbook of Commonly Used Chinese Herbs).
(2)For treating dry cough and hemoptysis caused by Yin deficiency
Take 9g of Mai Dong, Tian Dong, and Chuan Bei each, as well as 15g of Sha Shen and Sheng Di each. Decoct in water.
(3)For treating irritability associated with consumptive fever
Take 9g of Mai Dong, Zhi Zi, and bamboo leaves each, along with 15g of Sheng Di and 6g of Lotus plumule. Decoct in water.
(4)For treating diabetes
Take 9g of Dang Shen, Mai Dong, and Zhi Mu each, along with 15g of bamboo leaves and Tian Hua Fen each, 12g of Sheng Di, 6g of Ge Gen and Huo Shen each, and 3g of Wu Wei Zi and Gan Cao each. Decoct in water.
(5)For treating atrophic gastritis
Take 9g of Dang Shen, Mai Dong, Sha Shen, Yu Zhu, and Tian Hua Fen each, along with 6g of Wu Mei, Zhi Mu, and Gan Cao each. Decoct in water.
(6)For treating Yin deficiency and thirst due to insufficient body fluids
Take 9g of Mai Dong and Shi Hu each, along with 12g of Yu Zhu and Sheng Di each. Decoct in water.
(7)For treating Heart heat, restlessness, thirst, and a red tongue with little saliva
Take 15g of Mai Dong, 10g of fresh bamboo leaves, and 100g of millet. Decoct Mai Dong and bamboo leaves in water. Take the decoction for later use. Boil the millet with water until half done, then add the decoction, continue cooking until the congee is well done.
How to choose Mai Dong?
Medicine property identification
Mai Dong, which is spindle or oblong, slightly pointed at both ends, and full or slightly contracted in the middle, measuring 1.5-3 centimeters long and 3-6 centimeters in diameter. The surface is yellowish white or light yellow with irregular longitudinal wrinkles. When not fully dry, it is relatively soft and flexible, while it's hard and brittle after completely dried, and it's easy to break. The fracture surface is yellowish white, cornified, and has a small central axis. It has a slightly fragrant smell and a mildly sweet taste.
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