Herb latin name: Actinidia chinensis

Family: Actinidiaceae (Chinese Gooseberry Family)

Medicinal use of Actinidia chinensis:

The fruits, stems and roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sedative. They are used in the treatment of stones in the urinary tract, rheumatoid arthralgia, cancers of the liver and oesophagus. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat mange in dogs. The stem-juice is used in the treatment of gravel.

Description of the plant:


7.5 m
(25 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Thickets and oak forests on slopes or in ravines, 200 - 2300 metres.

Edible parts of Actinidia chinensis:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A delicious flavour. The fruit is up to 3cm across. Fresh fruits contain 100 - 420mg vitamin C per 100g and 8 - 14% carbohydrate. Acidity is 1 - 2%, mainly citric acid. The fruit contains a number of small seeds, but these are easily eaten with the fruit. The leaves are eaten cooked in times of need as a famine food.

Other uses of the herb:

Paper is made from the bark. If the bark is removed in one piece from near the root and placed in hot ashes, it becomes very hard and can be used as a tube for a pencil. The plant is said to have insecticidal properties (no more details).

Propagation of Actinidia chinensis:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. It is probably best if the seed is given 3 months stratification, either sow it in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in November or as soon as it is received. Fresh seed germinates in 2 - 3 months at 10C, stored seed can take longer. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. When the plants are 30cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Most seedlings are male. The seedlings are subject to damping off, they must be kept well ventilated. Cuttings of softwood as soon as ready in spring in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very high percentage. Cuttings of ripe wood, October/November in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets and oak forests on slopes or in ravines, 200 - 2300 metres.

Known hazards of Actinidia chinensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.