A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Schizonepeta is a very familiar herb that is also known as schizonepeta tenuifolia, tenufolia, Japanese mint, Japanese catnip and jing jie. This herb has been traditionally used by the Japanese and Chinese for several hundred years to treat skin disorders and all types of itchiness, especially the itching in palate, throat and nose. It is also used to cure carbuncle and mastitis. The herb encloses a very potent anti-itching element which has led the herbalists to use it in preparing different medications for measles. The Chinese have been using this herb and medications prepared with it to cure conditions such as chills, headaches, fever as well as sore throat. Several scientific studies have hinted that schizonepeta slows down the production of substance P, a compound known to incite scratching and itching reactions. In addition, the herb also retards the secretion of histamine.
The herb schizonepeta is indigenous to Japan and China, especially the Fiangsu, Fianxi and Zhejiang provinces and presently it is extensively grown all over the Far East regions. Schizonepeta has a pleasing aroma and its foliage is extremely disjointed. The herb bears petite lavender hued flowers that grow in bunches in the barbs just over the foliage. The herb is a member of the same family like catnip, but differs from the members of this family as it is an annual plant having a pleasant aroma akin to the pine. All parts of schizonepeta possess several valuable remedial properties as a result of which the entire plant is used in preparing herbal medications.
The above ground parts of schizonepeta - the leaves, stems and flowers - are harvested in autumn and winter. Soon after they are collected, these parts are dried in the shade and cut into pieces. The herb can be used both raw and also after being baked until it turns yellow and black.
Stems, leaves, flowers.
Sliced and dehydrated schizonepeta is available in different herbal stores and shops. In fact, you can also find the herb in its carbonized form. Again there are several herbal stores that sell schizonepeta in powder and decoction forms.
The herb encloses numerous chemical compounds, including menthol, menthone, cineole, hesperidin, caffeic acid and schizonodiol. In traditional Chinese medicine, schizonepeta has warm and pungent properties, and is related to the lung and liver meridians. The herb and medications prepared with it are effective in expelling wind and stopping bleeding. Usually, the herb is widely used to treat wind-cold exterior syndromes having symptoms such as headaches, chills and fever. In addition, schizonepeta also helps to cure bloody stools and uterine bleeding and several scientific researches have shown that schizonepeta extract has the potential to accelerate the time taken for blood to clot. It is important to note here that for these conditions it is essential to use carbonized schizonepeta. In addition to these, the herb is also able to lessen inflammation and swelling. A brief discussion on the use of the herb for different conditions is presented below.
Schizonepeta also has specific physiological (pertaining to usual functioning of the organisms) as well as antiphlogistic (anti-inflammation) impacts on its users. This issue is discussed briefly below.
As discussed earlier, as far as treating skin infections is concerned, schizonepeta is the most important herb in conventional Japanese medicine. On the other hand, the Chinese herbal medical practitioners basically use schizonepeta to treat conditions such as common cold, headache and sore throat. In addition, the herb also helps in reducing fevers as well as encouraging perspiration. Schizonepeta also possesses antibacterial properties.
Schizonepeta is also very effective in healing boils and mastitis (inflammation of the breast). Several scientific researches have validated that the herb cures skin contagions by invigorating blood circulation inside the skin as well as by encouraging sweating. The antimicrobial and antiviral properties of schizonepeta also enable the herb to get rid of harmful and poisonous substances from the body. In addition, the herb props up the healing of skin injuries and eruptions. When applied to treat measles, schizonepeta encourages rash to come on the surface and, thereby, stops itching.
The suitable dosage of schizonepeta depends on several factors like the age of the patient, his or health health, and many other conditions. The normal dose of schizonepeta varies between 4.5 grams to 9.0 grams. A decoction of this herb is prepared by boiling in water and used to treat various conditions discussed above. Some herbal medical practitioners also use schizonepeta as part of a poultice to treat certain skin conditions. Always ensure that you follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using the herb or medications prepared with it.
Side effects and cautions
The herb is available with compounding pharmacies in cream form for topical usage. Conventional or traditional Chinese medicine, known as TCM, practitioners recommend schizonepeta for internal use in the form of an herbal tea. However, one should be cautious about not applying schizonepeta creams or lotions on open wounds. The cream prepared from the herb should also not be used on bare skin for it may result in side effects. In addition, the herb or medications prepared with it should not be prescribed for pregnant women as well as nursing mothers. The herb may also prove to be detrimental for the health of people suffering from anemia or any other blood related problems and, hence, they too should not use schizonepeta in any form. In addition, large doses of the herb's volatile oil may result in unwanted side-effects. It should not be taken by patients who have dry mouth.
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