This species is very closely related to Leonurus sibiricus, and was included in that species until 1974. Apart from the differences in habit, this species has a more southerly distribution, extending into the tropics[
Leonurus altissimus Bunge ex Benth.
Leonurus artemisia (Lour.) S.Y.Hu
Leonurus cuneifolius Raf.
Leonurus heterophyllus Sweet
Leonurus intermedius Didr.
Leonurus mexicanus Sessé & Moc.
Leonurus sibiricus albiflorus Migo
Leonurus sibiricus niveus A.I.Baranov & Skvortsov
Stachys artemisia Lour.
Flowering plant in Gyeongbokgung Palace, Korea
Photograph by: Dalgial
Leonurus japonicus is an erect, annual to short-lived perennial plant growing 50 - 150cm tall from a tuberous rootstock[
The plant is a popular herbal treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is commonly harvested from the wild and sold in local markets.
E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia
Waste places, hillsides, roadsides and gardens[
]. Sunny areas to elevations of 3,400 metres all over China[
The plant originates in the temperate zone, but has spread and is now found widely in the subtropics and tropics.
Succeeds in most soils[
]. Prefers a poor soil[
The plant has spread widely from its original range in east Asia and can now be found naturalized in much of the tropics and subtropics[
This plant (and other closely related species) is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[
]. It is unusual amongst Chinese herbs in that it is often prescribed for use on its own and not in a mixture with other plants[
The leaves are diuretic and are placed in bath water to relieve itching and painful shingles[
The aerial parts of the plant are alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, vasodilator and vulnerary[
]. The whole plant is decocted, either on its own or with other herbs, as an ophthalmic[
]. The plant is commonly used by women to treat a range of menstrual disorders; to hasten the contraction of the uterus and expulsion of the placenta after giving birth; to relieve postpartum abdominal pain; to act as a restorative after child birth; to treat uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea etc[
]. It is also used to improve the blood circulation and reduce blood pressure, to treat tumours, oedema, eczema and purulent abscess[176 310].
The plant is used externally as a poultice on bruises[
Stimulates blood circulation[
]. (The part of the plant used is not made clear.)
The juice of the stems is vulnerary[
The dried flowers are emmenagogue and are also used in pregnancy and to help expel the placenta after giving birth[
The fruit is antibacterial, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, ophthalmic and vasodilator[
]. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, nebula and conjunctivitis[
The seed has a sweet, pungent flavour. It is aphrodisiac, diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic and is also used in the treatment of various women's complaints[
]. The plant was ranked number one in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China[
]. The seed is used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and night blindness[
The plant is considered a substitute for opium in Java, but its chemical properties are harmless[
Seed - sow in a container. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out when large enough.
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