Dwarf lilyturf tuber
Chinese Name: Mai men dong
Latin Name: Ophiopogon japonicus Ker-Gawl.
Taste: Sweet, slightly bitter
Quotes from Chinese historical sources
THE HERBAL CLASSIC OF SHEN-NONG: "Sweet and mild in flavour, it is used most often in cases where stagnation of vital energy in the chest and abdomen is harming the organs of the body through surfeit; where blockage of the mai channels in the stomach; and in cases of physical weakness and of loss of vitality."
OPINIONS ON THE PROPERTIES OF HERBS: "Used as a subsidiary ingredient in treatment. A remedy for hot poison, chronic thirst, edema, and dropsy, expelling surplus fluid, countering flaccidity of the heart, alleviating suppurations of the skin, and discharging turbid semen. Indicated in cases of stagnation of vital energy in the chest and abdomen; skin congestion; blurred vision; fullness of heart; and consumptive diseases manifesting in feverish symptoms and coughs."
RI HUAZI MATERIA MEDICA: "A cure for the five impairments which affect the heart, the liver, the spleen, the lung and the kidney; and for the seven damages... It calms and soothes the spirit, quenches thirst, counters weight gain, treats those diseases bringing symptoms of high fever and dementia, and alleviates coughing."
KAI-BAO MATERIA MEDICA: "Its flavour is sweet and mild, and its nature, although slightly cold, is not poisonous. Use to counter unaccustomed feelings of heaviness, blurred vision, fullness of heart, and against consumptive diseases, marked by fever and coughing, which arise from depleted energy of internal organs and chronic thirst. Alleviates vomiting; counters flaccidity of the muscles and coldness at the extremities; strengthens Ying-energy and promotes spermatogenesis; protects against polyorexia; raises vital spirits, settles the energy of the lungs; calms the five internal organs; helps the body to lay down healthy fat; improves the complexion; brings male offspring."
J Nat Prod. 2006 Sep;69(9):1257-60.
A fructan, from Radix ophiopogonis, stimulates the proliferation of cultured lymphocytes: structural and functional analyses.
Wu X, Dai H, Huang L, Gao X, Tsim KW, Tu P.
Modern Research Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, People's Republic of China.
A fructan, Opaw-2, with molecular mass of about 14 kDa, was isolated from the tuberous roots of Ophiopogon japonicus. Opaw-2 comprises fructose and glucose with a molar ratio of 30:1. Linkage and NMR analyses indicated that Opaw-2 has a backbone structure of beta-(1-->2)-Fruf and beta-(2-->6)-Fruf residues that branches at O-6 of beta-(1-->2)-Fruf residues with alpha-1-linkage to the Glcp residues and terminates with Fruf residues. In cultured lymphocytes, the application of Opaw-2 significantly stimulated the proliferation of lymphocytes in a dose-dependent manner. By using atomic force microscopy, Opaw-2 showed a morphological change from globular to helical fibrous shape at increasing concentrations.