Herb: Lilac Daphne


Latin name: Daphne genkwa


Synonyms: Daphne fortunei


Family: Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum Family)



Medicinal use of Lilac Daphne:

This plant has a history of herbal use going back over 3,500 years. It is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. The flower buds are a bitter acrid herb that is used to control coughs. The buds are anticoagulant, antiseptic, antitussive, antiviral, diuretic, purgative and stomachic. They are used internally in the treatment of bronchitis, constipation, oedema and skin diseases. The buds are also used as an abortifacient. They are applied externally in the treatment of frostbite. The buds are harvested and dried in the spring and are used after they have been stored for several years. The root is abortifacient, anticoagulant, diuretic, purgative and vesicant.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Margins of paddy fields, hillsides and valleys. Grassy hills and plains, limestone cliffs, on boulders, on conglomerate and in piles of stones removed from fields.

Propagation of Lilac Daphne:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe with the pot sealed in a polythene bag to hold in the moisture. Remove this bag as soon as germination takes place. The seed usually germinates better if it is harvested "green" (when it has fully developed but before it dries on the plant) and sown immediately. Germination should normally take place by spring, though it sometimes takes a further year. Stored seed is more problematic. It should be warm stratified for 8 - 12 weeks at 20C followed by 12 - 14 weeks at 3C. Germination may still take another 12 months or more at 15C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, December in a greenhouse.

Cultivation of the herb:

Margins of paddy fields, hillsides and valleys. Grassy hills and plains, limestone cliffs, on boulders, on conglomerate and in piles of stones removed from fields.

Known hazards of Daphne genkwa:

All parts of the plant are poisonous. Skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.