Herb: Chuan Bei Mu


Latin name: Fritillaria cirrhosa


Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)



Medicinal use of Chuan Bei Mu:

The bulbs of Chuan bei mu are antitussive, astringent, demulcent, expectorant, febrifuge and pectoral. They contain fritimine which lowers blood pressure, diminishes excitability of respiratory centres, paralyses voluntary movement and counters the effects of opium. The dried bulb is used internally in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, feverish illnesses, abscesses etc. The bulbs also have a folk history of use against cancer of the breast and lungs in China. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure. The bulbs are harvested in the winter whilst they are dormant and are dried for later use.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Bulb


Height:
45 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Mountain slopes in alpine and sub-alpine meadows and scrub, usually on open stony moist hillsides Forests, alpine thickets, meadows, flood lands and moist places, 3200 - 4600 metres.

Edible parts of Chuan Bei Mu:

Bulb - boiled or roasted as a vegetable. The bulb is bitter-sweet. The bulb is about 2cm in diameter.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 - 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales.

Cultivation of Chuan Bei Mu:

Mountain slopes in alpine and sub-alpine meadows and scrub, usually on open stony moist hillsides Forests, alpine thickets, meadows, flood lands and moist places, 3200 - 4600 metres.

Known hazards of Fritillaria cirrhosa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.