Climber growing to 16 ft (5 m) with compound leaves and clusters of pea-type flowers producing large bean pods.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to China, ji xue teng is cultivated in the southeast of that country.
It contains flavonoids and isoflavones. In common with other members of the bean family, it also contains rotenone, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum insecticide.
History & Folklore
This plant was first recorded in Chinese medical texts in about 720 CE. It is called ji xue teng, literally “chicken blood vine,” because of the red sap that exudes when the stem is cut.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
In Chinese herbal medicine, pain is often thought to be due to poor or obstructed blood flow. In this tradition, ji xue teng is classified as an herb that invigorates the blood, and is mainly used to treat menstrual problems. Ji xue teng is used to relieve period pain or normalize an irregular or absent cycle, especially where this may be due to anemia. This herb is also prescribed for certain types of arthritic pain, as well as for numbness of the hands and feet.
Limited investigation indicates that ji xue teng may be anti-inflammatory and may lower blood pressure.
Do not take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.