Herb latin name: Typha orientalis
Synonyms: Typha japonica
Family: Typhaceae (Cat-tail Family)
Medicinal use of Typha orientalis:The pollen is astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, haemostatic and . The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes haemostatic. It is used internally in the treatment of kidney stones, haemorrhage, painful menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, post-partum pains, abscesses and cancer of the lymphatic system. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhoea and injuries.
Description of the plant:
(9 3/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Ponds and riversides in lowland areas all over Japan.
Edible parts of Typha orientalis:Roots - raw or cooked. They are usually peeled before use. The roots can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. They can also be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours. Rich in protein, this flour is used to make biscuits, bread, cakes etc. The root contains a lot of fibre. One way to remove this fibre is to peel lengths of the root that are about 20 - 25cm long, place them by a fire for a short while to dry and then twist and loosen the fibres when the starch of the root can be shaken out. Young shoots in spring - raw or cooked. An asparagus substitute. Base of mature stem - raw or cooked. It is best to remove the outer part of the stem. Young flowering stem - raw, cooked or made into a soup. Tastes like sweet corn. Seed - cooked. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize, but has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Due to the small size of the seed this is probably not a very worthwhile crop. Pollen - raw or cooked. A protein rich additive to flour used in making bread, porridge etc. It can also be eaten with the young flowers, which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested. Flowering stem - cooked. Tastes like sweet corn.
Other uses of the herb:The stems have many uses, gathered in the autumn they make a good thatch, can be used in making paper, can be woven into mats, chairs, hats etc. They are a good source of biomass, making an excellent addition to the compost heap or used as a source of fuel etc. A fibre obtained from the leaves can be used for making paper The leaves are harvested in summer, autumn or winter and are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1? hours. They make a green or brown paper. A fibre is obtained from the blossom stem and flowers. A fibre obtained from the roots can be used for making string. The hairs of the fruits are used for stuffing pillows etc. They have good insulating and buoyancy properties and have also been used as a wound dressing and a lining for babies nappies. The stems can be used to make rush lights. The outer skin is removed except for a small strip, or spine, running the entire length to give stability. The stem is then soaked in oil. The pollen is highly inflammable, it is used in making fireworks etc.
Propagation of Typha orientalis:Seed - surface sow in a pot and stand it in 3cm of water. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible and, as the plants develop, increase the depth of water. Plant out in summer. Division in spring. Very easy, harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 - 30cm tall, making sure there is at least some root attached, and plant them out into their permanent positions.
Cultivation of the herb:Ponds and riversides in lowland areas all over Japan.
Known hazards of Typha orientalis:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.