Herb: Bai Wei


Latin name: Cynanchum atratum


Synonyms: Vincetoxicum atratum


Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)



Medicinal use of Bai Wei:

The root is depurative, diuretic and febrifuge. In Chinese medicine, the decocted root is generally used with other herbs in the treatment of coughs and hectic fevers, haematuria, acute urinary tract infection, pharyngitis, abscesses and snake bites. The stem is antitussive and sialagogue.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial Climber


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Mountains all over Japan. Sunny meadows from the lowlands to elevations of 500 metres.

Edible parts of Bai Wei:

Young stem and leaves - cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young seedpods - thoroughly boiled. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in the greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Cultivation of Bai Wei:

Mountains all over Japan. Sunny meadows from the lowlands to elevations of 500 metres.

Known hazards of Cynanchum atratum:

There are some reports of toxins in this genus.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.