Chinese Name : 桔梗
Latin Name : Radix platycodi
This herb is the dried root of Platycodon grandiflorum (Jacq). A .DC. of the family Campanulaceae. It is mainly grown in the Anhui, Jiangsu, and Shendong provinces of China, where it is collected in spring and autumn, dried, sliced, and used unprocessed. Platycodon root is an excellent expectorant and antitussive agent. The root traditionally was used as a tonic, astringent, sedative, stomachic, and anthelmintic medicine. It is also valuable for blood fluxes from the bowels. Today, it is commonly used for coughs with thick and yellow phlegm, difficulty in expectoration, infection in the respiratory tract, pulmonary abscesses, and inflammation of the throat.
Use of Platycodon Root in TCM
Bitter and pungent in taste, and cold or neutral, it acts on the lung meridian.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Promotes the lungs for better ventilation and dispels phlegm:
- For coughs, pulmonary infection, respiratory tract inflammation sore throat, bronchial hoarseness, and difficulty in expectoration of sputum, platycodon root is commonly used with mulberry leaves and chrysanthemum flower, as in Sang Ju Yin.
- For the treatment of affliction by Wind-Cold exopathogens marked by thin phlegm, a cough, stuffy nose, and headache, it is used with ephedra, perilla leaf, bitter almond, pinellia rhizome, and poria, as in Tong Xuan Li Fei Pian (R-47).
- Promotes pus discharge and heals carbuncles: for the treatment of pulmonary abscesses with chest pain, accompanied by purulent expectoration of yellowish, filthy sputum, platycodon root is commonly used with licorice root, fritillary, houttuynia, morus bark, and coix, as in Jie Geng Tang.
In a decoction of 3 to 10 g.
People who are yin deficiency, have a long-term cough, or are vomiting blood (hematemesis) with stomach ulcer should avoid platycodon or use with care.
Side Effects And Toxicity
The saponine of the root has a hemolytic effect
The root of platycodon contains a large amount of triterpene saponins including platycodins A, C , D1,D2 and D3, polygolacic acid, platycogenic acid A, B, and C, platycodonin, betulin, and alpha-spinasterol glucoside.
- Expectorant and antitussive. Oral administration of 19 kg of a decoction of the root in anesthetized dogs increased respiratory mucosal secretion threefold
- Oral administration of 200 mg/kg of the acqueous or alcoholic extract of the root to rabbits decreased blood glucose levels. The hypoglycemic effect was similar to that of an oral dose of 25-50 mg/kg of tolbutamide
- Analgesic, sedative and antipyretic
- Gastric, antisecretory, and antiulcerative. The saponin of the root inhibited gastric secretion and prevented ulcers in rats
- Anti-inflammatory. The saponin fraction of the root inhibited paw edema in rats induced by carrageenin or acetic acid.