Herb: Huang Ping

Latin name: Vitex negundo

Synonyms: Vitex incisa

Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)

Medicinal use of Huang Ping:

This species is widely used in Chinese herbal medicine, it is the second most important treatment for chronic bronchitis. (The sub-species V. negundo cannabifolia (Sieb.&Zucc.)Hand-Mazz. is used.) The leaves are astringent, febrifuge, sedative, tonic and vermifuge. They are useful in dispersing swellings of the joints from acute rheumatism, and of the testes from suppressed gonorrhoea. The juice of the leaves is used for removing foetid discharges and worms from ulcers, whilst an oil prepared with the leaf juice is applied to sinuses and scrofulous sores.They are harvested in early summer and used fresh or dried. A decoction of the stems is used in the treatment of burns and scalds. The dried fruit is vermifuge. The fruit is also used in the treatment of angina, colds, coughs, rheumatic difficulties etc. The fresh berries are pounded to a pulp and used in the form of a tincture for the relief of paralysis, pains in the limbs, weakness etc. The root is expectorant, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in the treatment of colds and rheumatic ailments. It is harvested in late summer and autumn, and dried for later use. The plant is said to be a malarial preventative and is also used in the treatment of bacterial dysentery - extracts of the leaves have shown bactericidal and antitumor activity.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

to October


Habitat of the herb:

Wasteland up to 2000 metres in the Himalayas. Mixed thickets on mountain slopes at elevations of 200 - 1400 metres in China.

Edible parts of Huang Ping:

Seed - occasionally used as a condiment, it is a pepper substitute. When washed to remove the bitterness it can be ground into a powder and used as a flour, though it is very much a famine food used only when all else fails. A tea is made from the roots and leaves.

Other uses of the herb:

Young stems are used in basket making and for making wattles. The leaves are used to repel insects in grain stores. Extracts of the leaves have insecticidal activity. The fresh leaves are burnt with grass as a fumigant against mosquitoes. The plant is grown on slopes to counter land slides.

Propagation of Huang Ping:

Seed - sow March in a greenhouse. It does not need any pre-treatment. Germination is usually free and quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November in a cold frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wasteland up to 2000 metres in the Himalayas. Mixed thickets on mountain slopes at elevations of 200 - 1400 metres in China.

Known hazards of Vitex negundo:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.