Q:

What is a Chinese Fleeceflower?

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Quick Answer

The Chinese fleece flower is a plant commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine, particularly its root tuber. The prepared fleece flower root tastes sweet and astringent and serves as a tonic that replenishes the liver, kidney and blood. Raw fleece flower root tastes mildly sweet and bitter and serves to detoxify and lubricate the bowels. It is used to treat blood deficiency, dizziness, lumbago, dysphoria, insomnia, constipation and malaria.

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Full Answer

The Chinese name of the fleece flower is Ho Shou Wu, and its botanical name is Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. This perennial plant grows in China, Japan, Malaysia and other East Asian countries and is also known as maltiflower knotweed and flowery knotweed.

The plant grows as high as 4.5 feet and bears flowers every September and October. The root tuber of 3- to-4-year-old plants is usually dug during spring and autumn. It is prepared and eaten in two ways. In the first method, the raw fleece flower root is washed, sliced and sun-dried before consumption, while the second method involves steaming the prepared fleece flower root with black soybean juice and sun drying it.

Use of this root is not prescribed for people with arthritis, gout, rheumatism, hyperacidity or kidney stones. People with loose stools or damp phlegm must also avoid this herbal medicine.

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