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Lindera (wu yao)

What is lindera? What is it used for?

Lindera is a type of thick, wildly growing shrub found throughout east Asia. In China, it is mainly produced in the Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, and Shaanxi provinces.

The root of the plant is used in herbal preparations. The roots resemble a tree trunk in appearance. The roots are usually dug up in late summer, stripped of any loose fibrous material, then cut into slices and dried in the sun. They can be consumed raw, or after being parched.

Lindera is believed to have acrid and warm properties, and is associated with the Lung, Spleen, Kidney, and Bladder meridians. It acts as a general pain reliever (especially for abdominal pain, chest pain, and painful menstruation), and also has antibiotic and antiviral properties. In addition, it may help to treat blood pressure levels and reduce inflammation. There is also some evidence that lindera root can treat cases of frequent urination and enuresis.

How much lindera should I take?

The typical dose of lindera root is between 3 and 9 grams, boiled in water and drunk as a decoction. It can also be applied externally. Lindera is often a vital component of other herbal formulas.

What forms of lindera are available?

Dried, sliced lindera root can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores. In addition, many shops sell lindera powders, capsules and pills.

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

Lindera should not be taken by patients who have been diagnosed with qi deficiency. In addition, because lindera may affect a person's blood pressure levels, patients already taking blood pressure medications should avoid lindera, or should consult with a health care provider before using lindera. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking lindera or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Kouno I, Hirai A, Fukushige A, et al. New eudesmane sesquiterpenes from the root of lindera strychnifolia. J Nat Prod March 2001;64(3):286-8.
  • Li Q, Chou G, Dou C, et al. Studies on the analgesic and anti-inflammatory action of radix linderae extract. Zhong Yao Cai December 1997;20(12):629-31.
  • Wang N, Minatoguchi S, Arai M, et al. Lindera strychnifolia is protective against post-ischemic myocardial dysfunction through scavenging hydroxyl radicals and opening the mitochondrial KATP channels in isolated rat hearts. Am J Chin Med 2004;32(4):587-98.
  • Zhou R. Morphological, histological and UV identification of radix linderae. Zhong Yao Cai December 1997;20(12):607-10.
  • Zhu M, Lew KT, Leung PL. Protective effect of a plant formula on ethanol-induced gastric lesions in rats. Phytother Res May 2002;16(3):276-80.
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