Oriental water plantain

Chinese Name: Ze xie
Medical Name: Rhizoma Alismatis
Latin Name: Alisma orientalis (San). Juzep. (family Alismataceae)
Origin: Tuber, sun-dried
Taste: Sweet

Quotes from Chinese historical sources:

RI HUAZI MATERIA MEDICA: "Treats dizziness and tinnitus due to deficiencies."

RUDIMENTARY MATERIA MEDICA: "Although frequent administration of water plantain rhizome can blur the vision, a strong dose can clear it. Why is this? It is because purging retained fluid can remove retained dirt and so improve the vision, but inducing diuresis can result in deficiency of kidney-qi, making the vision blurred. These two facts should be known."

THE COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "Removing damp-heat, promoting recirculation of retained fluids and arresting vomiting. Tuckahoe (Poria Cocos) and alismatis rhizome (Rhizoma Alismatis) are combined in Zhongjing Dihuang Wan simply because they purge the bladder of pathogenic factors instead of attracting and receiving them."

Western Research:

Phytomedicine. 2007 Feb;14(2-3):160-5.
Reversal of multidrug resistance in cancer cells by Rhizoma Alismatis extract.
Fong WF, Wang C, Zhu GY, Leung CH, Yang MS, Cheung HY.
Bioactive Products Research Group, Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Prolonged chemotherapy may lead to the selective proliferation of multidrug resistant (MDR) cancer cells. In MDR HepG2-DR and K562-DR cells that over-expressed P-glycoprotein (Pgp), the extract of the rhizomes of Alisma orientalis (Sam) Juzep. showed a synergistic growth inhibitory effect with cancer drugs that are Pgp substrates including actinomycin D, puromycin, paclitaxel, vinblastine and doxorubicin. At the same toxicity levels the herbal extract was more effective than verapamil, a standard Pgp inhibitor, in enhancing cellular doxorubicin accumulation and preventing the efflux of rhodamin-123 from the MDR cells. The extract restored the effect of vinblastine on the induction of G(2)/M arrest in MDR cells. Our data suggest that A. orientalis may contain components that are effective inhibitors of Pgp.

Planta Med. 2006 Aug;72(10):951-4. Epub 2006 Jul 20.
A new triterpene and anti-hepatitis B virus active compounds from Alisma orientalis.
Jiang ZY, Zhang XM, Zhang FX, Liu N, Zhao F, Zhou J, Chen JJ.
State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, PR China.
A new triterpenoid named alisol O ( 1) was isolated from the rhizomes of Alisma orientalis, together with six known compounds: alisol A 24-acetate ( 2), 25-anhydroalisol A ( 3), 13 beta,17 beta-epoxyalisol A ( 4), alisol B 23-acetate ( 5), alisol F ( 6), and alisol F 24-acetate ( 7). Based on 1D and 2D-NMR data (HMQC, HMBC, COSY, ROESY), the structure of the new compound was deduced to be 11-dehydroxy-12-dehydroalisol F-24-acetate ( 1). Compounds 2 - 7 exhibited inhibitory activity in vitro on hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HBsAg) secretion of the Hep G2.2.15 cell line with IC (50) values of 2.3, 11.0, 15.4, 14.3, 0.6 and 7.7 microM, and on HBV e antigen (HBeAg) secretion with IC (50) values of 498.1, 17.6, 41.0, 19.9, 8.5 and 5.1 microM, respectively.