Tian Nan Xing plant - Arisaema spp. (Araceae)

Medicinal Use of Tian Nan Xing – Arisaema spp. (Araceae)


Perennial herb growing to 3 ft (1 m). Has star-shaped leaves and purple-white or green pitcher-like bracts.

Habitat & Cultivation

Tian nan xing grows wild in eastern Asia, especially in China, where it is widely cultivated. The rhizome is unearthed in autumn or winter.

Part Used

Dried rhizome.


Tian nan xing contains triterpenoid saponins and benzoic acid.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

In Chinese herbal medicine, tian nan xing is thought to encourage the coughing up of phlegm. The dried rhizome is used principally for chest problems. When prescribed internally it is always combined with fresh ginger root (Zingiber officinale). The fresh rhizome is only ever used externally, for ulcers and other skin conditions.

Related Species

Jack-in-the-pulpit or Indian turnip (A. triphyllum), a North American species, is a treatment for chest conditions.


Take only under professional supervision. The fresh rhizome is very toxic; use only the dried rhizome internally.