Perennial growing to 3 ft (90cm). Has oval leaves, yellow clover-like flowers, and black seed pods containing yellow-black seeds.
Habitat & Cultivation
Bu gu zhi is native to southern and southeastern Asia and cultivated in China. The fruit is gathered when ripe in autumn.
The seeds contain a volatile oil, flavonoids, a flavone, and furanocoumarins.
History & Folklore
In the Chinese tradition, bu gu zhi has long been considered a tonic remedy. It was first documented in Grandfather Lei’s Discussion of Herb Preparations, which was written in about 490 CE.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Valued as a yang tonic, bu gu zhi is taken in China to treat impotence and premature ejaculation and to improve vitality. The seeds are also used to counter debility and other problems reflecting “kidney yang deficiency,” such as lower back pain, frequent urination, incontinence, and bed-wetting. Bu gu zhi is used externally to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, alopecia (loss of hair), and vitiligo (loss of skin pigmentation). In Vietnam, a tincture of the seeds is used in the treatment of rheumatism.
Studies in China indicate that this herb is of value in the treatment of skin disorders, including vitiligo.
Applied externally, this herb may sensitize the skin, resulting in an allergic reaction to sunlight.