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Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die)

Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die)

What is Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die)?

Indian Trumpetflower Seed (qian ceng zhi, 千层纸 ; mu hu die, 木蝴蝶), also known as Oroxyli Semen, refers to the mature seeds of Oroxylum indicum. A deciduous tree belonging to the family Bignoniaceae, Oroxyli Semen grows in dense forests in tropical or subtropical valleys at an altitude of 500 – 900m. 

Native to India and Southern China, Oroxylum indicum can reach a height of 40 feet, with enormous seed pods that curve downwards and resemble the wings of a large bird. In China, the plant is known as Mu Hu Die, which means ‘wood butterfly’, making a reference to its wing-like structure. The appearance of the pods gives the tree the unusual nickname of ‘the midnight horror’. 

An integral part of Ayurvedic Medicine, Oroxyli Semen has slowly become incorporated in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well. It first appeared in 本草纲目拾遗 (Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi, a supplement to the compendium of materia medica) in 1765 AD.

The fruits of Oroxylum indicum are usually harvested in autumn and winter. After the fruits are exposed under the sun till they crack, the seeds are retrieved and dried under the sun for medicinal usage.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Oroxyli Semen falls under the category of ‘Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing’. Cool in nature, the herb can help individuals who have too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a Yin Deficiency or a Yang Excess, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Sweet in taste, Oroxyli Semen can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Oroxyli Semen targets the Liver and the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Oroxyli Semen has the following health benefits.

Falling under ‘Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing’, Oroxyli Semen can help to treat phlegm, a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tend to start in the Spleen and go to the Lungs. If such Stagnation accumulates, it thickens and forms pathological phlegm. Oroxyli Semen can help to relieve coughing, wheezing, and other symptoms caused by such stagnation. This herb may also possess antitussive, expectorant, diuretic or laxative properties.

Oroxyli Semen can nourish the Lungs, soothe the Liver, harmonize the stomach and promote tissue regeneration. This makes it an effective treatment for symptoms such as cough, pharyngitis, sore throat, hoarseness, throat pain, loss of voice, bronchitis, wounds, and aphonia. The herb can also treat flank and epigastric pain caused by Qi Stagnation. In addition, Oroxyli Semen can promote the healing of ulcerated and suppurating sores caused by Damp-Heat in the skin.

semen oroxyli (mu hu die) close up on a white background
Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die) is effective in easing sore throat or coughs with yellow discharge.

How to Use Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die)

The recommended daily dosage of Oroxyli Semen is 1.5 – 3g, when used in the form of powder or decocted in water. It is preferably consumed together with meals. However, some healthcare practitioners may recommend Oroxyli Semen in the form of syrup or extract mixed with other herbs instead, depending on the condition being treated.

Whole, dried Oroxyli Semen can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores. Oroxyli Semen is also available in supplement forms such as pills, powder, extracts, syrups and capsules. Some Chinese herbal formulas also have  Oroxyli Semen incorporated in them.

Cautions and Side Effects of Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die)

Oroxyli Semen should not be used by individuals who lost their voice due to Wind-Cold.

Some side effects associated with the consumption of Oroxyli Semen include headache, nausea and vomiting.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Oroxyli Semen to your healthcare routine.


Here is a summary for Oroxyli Semen (Mu Hu Die):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 千层纸;木蝴蝶
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): qiān céng zhǐ ;mù hú dié
  • Herb name (English): Indian Trumpetflower Seed
  • Herb name (Botanical): Semen Oroxyli
  • Origin of species: Oroxylum indicum (L.) Vent.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Seed
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Fujian, Guangdong, Sichuan
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter, sweet; Cold; Administrates the Lung, Liver and Stomach Meridians
  • Actions: Eases sore throat or coughs with yellow discharge; Soothes gastric discomforts

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