Medicinal Uses and Interactions

Medicinal Uses
In traditional Chinese medicine, Dendrobium officinale is used to “nourish the Yin system of the body, strengthen the stomach, to induce saliva, and to increase appetite” (Hu, 1970). “Tiepi Fengdou” is another name for this traditional Chinese medicine, it will help to “...clear away unhealthy heat, promote the production of body fluid, resist cancer, and prolong life” (Ding, Zhang, and Ding, et al, 2008).

There are many ways that Dendrobium officinale is used in the Chinese culture. The orchid is used after it has been dried or used fresh. *

Dry medicines

Chin-ch’ai is made from the stem of the plant. First the stem is compressed until it is 1-1.5 cm in diameter, and approximately 30 cm long. If you are looking for this type of medicine it should have a golden color with a glossy finish.

Huang-ts’ao is also made from the stem of Dendrobium officinale, and also has a glossy appearance. Normally this medicine is sold in Northern China and Manchuria.

Fêng’hu is made from the stem of Dendrobium officinale, but it appears in spirals of 1-1.5 cm in length with 3 mm diameter. The outside of this medicine has a yellowish green appearance.

   Fresh Medicine
Hsien-hu is the fresh version of Chin Ch’ai. This medicine also has a yellowish green appearance. The stem is usually 1-1.5cm in diameter. Commonly this form is collected in fall. If collected in the spring, D. officinale should be lain out and moistened with water. If D. officinale is collected in the winter, it can be kept in a bamboo basket within a open environment.

Huang Ts’ao
Huang Ts’ao is only made by D. officinale and is commonly dark green and has black nodes. To prepare this medicine, D. officinale must be dried directly over a fire, then left out to complete its drying process.


*These are traditional Chinese methods of using Dendrobium, often more then one species of Dendrobium can be used to make the same medicine.

Applications of Dendrobium officinale:
If D. officinale is dried, it must first be soaked in water, drained from the water, then cut into smaller pieces at about 2 cm in length. Denrobium officinale is prescribed in 0.2-0.4 oz.

The roots also have a symbiotic relationship with fungi. Mychorrizae incorporate within the roots of D. officinale and aid in acquiring nutrients from the substrate. The roots of D. officinale provide sugars to the mychorrizae fungi, so both the fungi and the orchid can benefit from their mutualistic relationship.

To discover more bits of information about D. officinale, visit my Facts page.

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