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Stemona Root

What is Stemona Root?

Stemona Root (bai bu, 路路通百部), also known as Radix Stemonae, Tuber Stemona Root, Japanese Stemona Root and Sessile Stemona Root, refers to the dry root tuber of Stemona sessili folia (Miq.) Miq., Stemona japonica (BI.) Miq. or Stemona tuberosa Lour., which are perennial herbaceous plants that belong to the Stemonaceae family.

These plants are usually found in East China, Middle South China and South China. They are typically collected in spring or autumn, where its fibrous roots are removed, cleaned and slightly blanched in boiling water or steamed.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Stemona Root falls under the category of ‘Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing’. Such herbs can treat Phlegm, which is a stagnation of fluids that have overly accumulated in our body. These herbs tend to have antitussive, expectorant, diuretic or laxative properties.

Warm in nature, Stemona Root can help individuals with too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a yin excess or a yang deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Bitter, pungent and sweet in taste, Stemona Root can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. 

Also, Stemona Root can promote the circulation of qi and body fluids, slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Stemona Root targets the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Stemona Root

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Stemona Root has the following health benefits.

Stemona Root can direct qi downwards to stop coughing. When stir-baked with honey, Stemona Root can also moisten one’s Lungs. This herb is indicated for all kinds of cough, be it caused by Cold or Heat, deficiency of excess syndromes. In particular, Stemona Root is often indicated for coughing caused by chronic deficiency syndrome.

For wind-Cold cough, Stemona Root can be combined with lung-ventilating and Phlegm-resolving herbs to enhance its effects. For coughs caused by wind-Heat invasion of the Lungs, Stemona Root can be combined with lung-clearing and cough-stopping herbs to improve its effectiveness. For cough with Phlegm caused by Lung Cold, Stemona Root can be combined with lung-warming and Phlegm-resolving herbs to reinforce its lung-ventilating actions, and direct qi downwards to stop coughing. In fact, Stemona Root is excellent for the treatment of chronic respiratory disorders and chronic cough from deficiency like tuberculosis.

Also, Stemona Root is very effective at killing parasites. For example, Stemona Root can be used externally to treat pinworms. Stemona Root can be decocted into thick juice to make a retention enema that is used before sleep. Also, Stemona Root can be used singly or combined with other herbs to kill parasites for trichomonas vaginitis. Stemona Root can be used as a wash for bacterial vaginosis, as a paste for spider bites, and used topically for other symptoms like head and body lice or fleas.

How to Use Stemona Root

The recommended daily dosage of Stemona Root is 3 – 10g, when used as a decoction. Stemona Root can also be used for external application, decocted for washing, make medicated wine or grind into powder.

When it comes to chronic deficiency Cough, Stemona Root demonstrates the strongest treatment effects when it is stir-baked with honey, which can then enhance lung-moistening actions to stop cough.

Stemona Root can be used topically as a tincture, or as a topical wash for symptoms like vaginal trichomonas too.

Stemona Root and its supplements may be found in selected herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Stemona Root

Stemona Root should not be used by individuals experiencing loose stools or diarrhoea caused by Spleen deficiency. Also, you should not consume Stemona Root continuously at its maximum dosage for several weeks. 

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Stemona Root to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Stemona Root:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 百部
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): bǎi bù
  • Herb name (English): Stemona Root
  • Herb name (Botanical): Radix Stemonae
  • Origin of species: Stemona sessilifolia (Miq.) Miq.; Stemona japonica (Bl.) Miq.; Stemona tuberosa Lour.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei, Zhejiang, Shandong
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet, bitter; Slightly warm; Administrates the Lung Meridian
  • Actions: Ideal for easing many types of coughs

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