Herb: Wei Ling Xian

Latin name: Clematis chinensis

Synonyms: Clematis minor

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Medicinal use of Wei Ling Xian:

The root is anodyne, antidote, antiperiodic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and sedative. A decoction is taken internally in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis, tetanus and cold-type stomach-ache. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The whole plant is antirheumatic. The plant has a history of folk use in the treatment of cancer. The root contains anemonin, this has antibacterial, analgesic, sedative and antispasmodic actions. It also inhibits the heart and central nervous system and is rubefacient.

Description of the plant:


5 m
(16 feet)

to October

Habitat of the herb:

Open woods, hedges, thickets, roadsides and banks of streams.

Edible parts of Wei Ling Xian:

Young shoots - cooked. They are said to be non-toxic in one report but caution is still advised due to reports of toxicity in this genus. It is quite probable that cooking destroys the acrimonious principle, though this is a plant that I have no desire to eat.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as soon as it is obtained in a cold frame. Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and remove as much of the tail and outer coat as possible. A period of cold stratification is beneficial. The seed germinates in 1 - 9 months or more at 20C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Internodal cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, late spring in sandy soil in a frame. Layering of old stems in late winter or early spring. Layering of current seasons growth in early summer.

Cultivation of Wei Ling Xian:

Open woods, hedges, thickets, roadsides and banks of streams.

Known hazards of Clematis chinensis:

This species is harmful if eaten. The toxic principle is dissipated by heat or by drying. The plant is also a mild skin irritant.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.