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Glorybower (chou wu tong)

What is glorybower? What is it used for?

Also known as the hairy clerodendron, glorybower is a type of deciduous tree that grows in the woodlands and sunny areas of China and the northern United States. It can reach a height of approximately 20 feet, with fragrant flowers that bloom between August and October.

The roots and leaves are used in herbal remedies. The leaves are green, oval-shaped and between 1 and 4 inches in length, usually covered with soft, downy hairs. They are usually gathered in early summer, then dried before use.

Glorybower roots and leaves have been shown to have antirheumetic and hypotensive properties; previously published research has documented that the leaves can lower blood pressure levels in people with hypertension. The leaves are also used to relieve pain and promote sedation. Externally, the leaves can be applied to the skin to relieve dermatitis and other skin conditions. Glorybower is often used with siegesbeckia, and occasionally with earthworm.

How much glorybower should I take?

The amount of glorybower to be taken depends on the condition being treated. Generally, most practitioners will recommend between 10 and 15 grams of powdered glorybower, drunk with water as a decoction. Other doses (30 milligrams, 2-3 times pr day) may be used to treat hypertension. If being used externally, an appropriate amount should be applied to the skin as a type of wash or poultice.

What forms of glorybower are available?

Dried glorybower leaves can be found at many herbal shops and specialty stores. Some vendors also sell glorybower powders, pills and capsules.

What can happen if I take too much glorybower? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Fresh glorybower leaves produce an unpleasant odor when they are crushed. Glorybower should not be decocted for an extended period, as excessive heat may reduce the herb's anti-hypertensive properties.

As of this writing, there are no known adverse side-effects or drug interactions associated with glorybower. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking glorybower or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


References

  • Chae S, Kim JS, Kang KA, et al. Antioxidant activity of jionoside D from clerodendron trichotomum. Biol Pharm Bull October 2004;27(10):1504-8.
  • Chevallier A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1996. ISBN # 9-780751-303148.
  • Choi JH, Whang WK, Kim HJ. Studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of clerodendron trichotomum Thunberg leaves. Arch Pharm Res February 2004;27(2):189-93.
  • Dirr MA. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs. Portland: Timber Press, 1997.
  • Genders R. Scented Flora of the World. London: Robert Hale, 1994. ISBN # 0-7090-5440-8.
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