Latin name: Akebia quinata
Synonyms: Rajania quinata
Family: Lardizabalaceae (Lardizabala Family)
Medicinal use of Akebia:The stems are anodyne, antifungal, antiphlogistic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, galactogogue, resolvent, stimulant, stomachic and vulnerary. Taken internally, it controls bacterial and fungal infections and is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, lack of menstruation, to improve lactation etc. The stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fruit is antirheumatic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic. It is a popular remedy for cancer. The root is febrifuge. The plant was ranked 13th in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Woods, hedges and thickets in mountainous areas. Forest margins along streams, scrub on mountain slopes at elevations of 300 - 1500 metres in China.
Edible parts of Akebia:Fruit - raw. Sweet but insipid. The fruit has a delicate flavour and a soft, juicy texture. Lemon juice is sometimes added to the fruit to enhance the flavour. The bitter skin of the fruit is fried and eaten. The fruit is 5 - 10cm long and up to 4m wide. Soft young shoots are used in salads or pickled. The leaves are used as a tea substitute.
Other uses of the herb:The peeled stems are very pliable and can be used in basket making. Plants have sometimes been used as a ground cover, but their method of growth does not really lend themselves to this use.
Propagation of Akebia:Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Surface sow in a light position. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°C. Stored seed should be given 1 month cold stratification and can be very difficult to germinate. When 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. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. The cuttings can be slow to root. Cuttings can also be taken of soft wood in spring. Root cuttings, December in a warm greenhouse. Layering in early spring. Very easy, the plants usually self-layer and so all you need to do is dig up the new plants and plant them out directly into their permanent positions.
Cultivation of the herb:Woods, hedges and thickets in mountainous areas. Forest margins along streams, scrub on mountain slopes at elevations of 300 - 1500 metres in China.
Known hazards of Akebia quinata:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.