Radix Morindae Officinalis (Ba Ji Tian)
What is Radix Morindae Officinalis (Ba Ji Tian)?
Radix Morindae Officinalis (ba ji tian, 巴戟天), also known as Morinda Root, Noni Root or Indian Mulberry, comes from Morinda, a wandering plant native to Australia and Malaysia. The plant is now found in other parts of Asia such as China and India. Resembling a Mulberry bush, Morinda has large, triangular leaves and green berries.
While Morinda berries are becoming increasingly popular, Radix Morindae Officinalis is still used in many herbal remedies. Somewhat flat and dull grey in colour, Radix Morindae Officinalis is usually 1 – 2 cm in diameter. High-quality Radix Morindae Officinalis is large, pliable and moist.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Radix Morindae Officinalis falls under the category of ‘Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency’. Such herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency to replenish one’s ‘Four Treasures’ (qi, blood, yin, yang). Warm in nature, Radix Morindae Officinalis 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.
Pungent and sweet in taste, Radix Morindae Officinalis can promote the circulations 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, Radix Morindae Officinalis targets the Kidneys and the Liver.
Functions and Benefits of Radix Morindae Officinalis (Ba Ji Tian)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Radix Morindae Officinalis has the following health benefits.
Radix Morindae Officinalis can tonify yang in the Kidneys to treat Kidneys’ Yang Deficiency. It can thus address symptoms caused by Kidneys’ Yang Deficiency such as impotence, seminal emission, sterility due to excess Cold in the womb, frequent urination, cold and pain in the lumbar and knees and irregular menstruation. Radix Morindae Officinalis is a great treatment for sexless marriage as it can improve libido naturally and increase sperm health.
As Radix Morindae Officinalis can strengthen tendons and bones, the herb is also used to treat chronic arthralgia, weak tendons and bones. By dispelling Wind-Damp, Radix Morindae Officinalis can also treat flaccidity of bones, soreness and limpness in the lumbar and knees, bi pain, muscle cramps and spasms, as well as aid pain management.
Modern studies suggest that Radix Morindae Officinalis may improve stress response and increase white blood cell count. Some research also suggests that Radix Morindae Officinalis may reduce symptoms of depression and improve mental health among some individuals. In addition, animal studies showed that Radix Morindae Officinalis may help to lower blood pressure levels and treat hypertension.
How to Use Radix Morindae Officinalis (Ba Ji Tian)
The recommended daily dosage of Radix Morindae Officinalis is 10 – 15g. To dispel Wind-Damp, you can use Radix Morindae Officinalis in its raw form. To tonify Kidneys, you can stir-bake the herb with a salty solution to enhance its effectiveness.
Whole, dried Radix Morindae Officinalis and Radix Morindae Officinalis powder are readily available in many herbal stores and Asian markets.
A decoction is typically made with 10 – 15g of Radix Morindae Officinalis and three to four cups of boiling water. This decoction is usually split into two doses and consumed orally.
Cautions and Side Effects of Radix Morindae Officinalis (Ba Ji Tian)
Radix Morindae Officinalis should not be used by individuals whose Kidneys are experiencing difficulty in urination, yin deficiency with Heat signs or Damp Heat in the lower jiao.
If you are experiencing dry constipation, bitter taste on tongue, red and painful eyes or restless irritability, it is best to stay away from Radix Morindae Officinalis for the time being as well.
Do not consume Radix Morindae Officinalis together with dan shen (Salvia Root) as they contradict one another.
Here is a summary for Radix Morindae Officinalis (Ba Ji Tian):
- Herb name (Chinese): 巴戟天
- Herb name (Pin Yin): bā jǐ tiān
- Herb name (English): Morinda Root
- Herb name (Botanical): Radix Morindae Officinalis
- Origin of species: Morinda officinalis How
- Part(s) of herb used: Root
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Sichuan
- Taste(s) & Properties: Pungent, sweet; Slightly warm; Administrates the Liver and Kidney Meridians
- Actions: Relieves rheumatic conditions; Helps to regulate reproductive functions in males and females; Helps to strengthen bone and joint health
Bao, L., Qin, L., Liu, L., Wu, Y., Han, T., Xue, L., & Zhang, Q. (2011). Anthraquinone compounds from Morinda officinalis inhibit osteoclastic bone resorption in vitro. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 194(2-3), 97-105. [Accessed on 27th January 2023]
Choi, J., Lee, K. T., Choi, M. Y., Nam, J. H., Jung, H. J., Park, S. K., & Park, H. J. (2005). Antinociceptive anti-inflammatory effect of monotropein isolated from the root of Morinda officinalis. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 28(10), 1915-1918. [Accessed on 27th January 2023]
Peng, S. J., Lu, R. K., & Yu, L. H. (1997). Effects of semen Cuscutae, rhizoma Curculiginis, radix Morindae officinalis on human spermatozoan’s motility and membrane function in vitro. Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he za zhi Zhongguo Zhongxiyi Jiehe Zazhi= Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, 17(3), 145-147. [Accessed on 27th January 2023]
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