Deciduous tree growing to 65 ft (20 m). Has elliptical leaves, with male flowers in loose clusters and solitary female flowers in the leaf axils.
Habitat & Cultivation
Eucommia bark grows in temperate zones in China. It is cultivated, but only in small amounts.
Eucommia bark contains guttapercha, alkaloids, flavonoids, iridoids and other glycosides, and phenolic compounds.
History & Folklore
The herb is mentioned in the Chinese herbal, the Divine Husbandman’s Classic (Shen’nong Bencaojing), which was written in the 1st century CE.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Eucommia bark is considered an excellent tonic for the liver and kidneys. Eucommia bark is said to “tonify the yang,” to improve the circulation, and also to prevent miscarriage in women who are weak or suffering from back pain.
Much interest has been aroused by eucommia bark’s ability to reduce high blood pressure, which it is thought to do by increasing nitrous oxide levels within the arteries. In a clinical trial in China involving 119 people, 46% of those treated with the herb showed a significant blood pressure reduction.
However, eucommia bark appears to have little effect in cases of severe hypertension. Recent studies indicate that eucommia bark is an antioxidant and may help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. A small clinical trial in Japan published in 1996 concluded that an infusion of eucommia bark reduced the body’s exposure to mutagen-forming compounds naturally present within the diet.