Herb: Winged Spindle Tree

Latin name: Euonymus alatus

Synonyms: Celastrus alatus, Euonymus striatus

Family: Celastraceae (Bittersweet Family)

Medicinal use of Winged Spindle Tree:

The stem and branches are alterative, analgesic, anodyne, anthelmintic, anticoagulant, antiphlogistic, antipruritic, astringent blood tonic, carminative, emmenagogue, hypoglycaemic, and purgative. It is used in Korea to treat intestinal worms, suppressed menstruation and cancer. A decoction is used in China in the treatment of "cold" headache, general body aches, pruritis, irregular menstruation and other gynaecological diseases. Plants contain the anticancer compound dulcitol.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Thickets and woods in lowland and mountains all over Japan.

Edible parts of Winged Spindle Tree:

Young leaves, boiled. The fruit may be edible. No further details are given, though we would recommend caution in eating any member of this genus. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter. The seed contains 20.5% protein, 44.4% fat and 3.9% ash. These reports of edibility should be treated with some caution, see the notes above on toxicity. The flowers are a tea substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

This species can be grown as a hedge, the var. compactus is normally used.

Propagation of Winged Spindle Tree:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 8 - 12 weeks warm followed by 8 - 16 weeks cold stratification and can then be sown in a cold frame. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm long taken at a node or with a heel, July/August in a frame. Very easy.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets and woods in lowland and mountains all over Japan.

Known hazards of Euonymus alatus:

Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, a number of plants in this genus are suspected of being poisonous and so some caution is advised.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.