Herb: Japanese Sago Palm


Latin name: Cycas revoluta


Family: Cycadaceae



Medicinal use of Japanese Sago Palm:

The leaves are used in the treatment of cancer and hepatoma. The terminal shoot is astringent and diuretic. The seed is emmenagogue, expectorant and tonic. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism. Substances extracted from the seeds are used to inhibit the growth of malignant tumours.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
3.5 m
(11 feet)

Flovering:
May to
July

Habitat of the herb:

Found mainly on the sea shore in S. Japan. Thickets on hillsides on islands, sparse forests on mainland at elevations of 100 - 500 metres in Fujian, China.

Edible parts of Japanese Sago Palm:

Seed - raw or cooked. They can be dried and ground into a powder then mixed with brown rice and fermented into "date miso" or "sotetsu miso". Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The heart or pith of the trunk is sliced and eaten baked or powdered. A toxic principal must first be removed. A starch can be extracted from this pith and is used for making dumplings. It is very sustaining.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe, 2cm deep in individual pots which are then sealed in plastic bags to keep them moist until germination takes place. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 25C. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water then treat as above. Division of suckers in the spring.

Cultivation of Japanese Sago Palm:

Found mainly on the sea shore in S. Japan. Thickets on hillsides on islands, sparse forests on mainland at elevations of 100 - 500 metres in Fujian, China.

Known hazards of Cycas revoluta:

The plants contain alkaloids of carcinogens and also an amino-acid that causes chronic nervous disorders. Regular consumption of the plant leads to severe health problems and death. This toxic principle can be removed if the food is properly prepared but consumption of the plant still cannot be recommended because its use often means the death of the plant and it is becoming rare in the wild.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.