Zhi Mu plant - Anemarrhena Asphodeloides (Liliaceae)

Medicinal Use of Zhi Mu – Anemarrhena Asphodeloides (Liliaceae)


Perennial herb with a thick rhizome, thin leaves up to 28 in (70 cm) long, and clusters of small white or light purple flowers.

Habitat & Cultivation

Native to northern China, zhi mu grows wild on exposed slopes and hills. It is cultivated in the northern and northeastern provinces.

Part Used



Contains steroidal saponins, lignans, phenolic compounds, and xanthones.

History & Folklore

Zhi mu is first mentioned in the 1st-century CE herbal, the Divine Husbandman’s Classic (Shen’nong Bencaojing).

Medicinal Actions & Uses

Zhi mu has a bitter taste and a “cold” temperament and is used in Chinese herbal medicine for “excess heat”—fever, night sweats, and coughs. It has been shown to have significant antibacterial activity and is commonly used to treat sores and mouth ulcers.