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Oroxylum Seed (mu hu die)

What is oroxylum seed? What is it used for?

Oroxylum seeds come from the oroxylum, better known as the Indian trumpetflower. It is actually a type of tree, native to India and southern China, which can reach a height of 40 feet, with enormous seed pods that curve downward and resemble the wings of a large bird.

The appearance of the pods gives the tree another unusual nickname: "the midnight horror." The seeds are an integral part of ayurvedic medicine, and have slowly become incorporated into traditional Chinese medicine as well.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, oroxylum seed has sweet, bland and cool properties, and is associated with the Liver and Lung meridians. Scientific research has shown that oroxylum seeds have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They are often used to treat conditions such as coughs and wheezing, to clear up infections, and to reduce swelling. There is also anecdotal evidence that suggests oroxylum seeds may inhibit the growth of some cancerous tumors, but research into this area has yet to be conducted on a large scale.

How much oroxylum seed should I take?

The amount of oroxylum seed to be taken depends on the condition being treated. The typical dosage of oroxylum is between 1 and 2 grams per day, decocted in water, preferably with meals. Some practitioners may recommend an oroxylum syrup or extract mixed with other herbs instead.

What forms of oroxylum seed are available?

Whole, dried oroxylum seeds can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores. Oroxylum seed is also available as a pill, powder, extract, syrup, or capsule. In addition, a few Chinese herbal formulas also incorporate oroxylum seed.

What can happen if I take too much oroxylum seed? Are there any interactions I need to be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Oroxylum is considered safe; as of this writing, there are no known adverse side-effects or drug interactions associated with taking oroxylum. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking oroxylum seed or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Chen LJ, Games DE, Jones J. Isolation and identification of four flavonoid constituents from the seeds of oroxylum indicum by high-speed counter-current chromatography. J Chromatogr A February 21, 2003;988(1):95-105.
  • Chen LJ, Song H, Lan XQ, et al. Comparison of high-speed counter-current chromatography instruments for the separation of the extracts of the seeds of oroxylum indicum. J Chromatogr A January 21, 2005;1063(1-2):241-5.
  • Costa-Lotufo LV, Khan MT, Ather A, et al. Studies of the anticancer potential of plants used in Bangladeshi folk medicine. J Ethnopharmacol May 13, 2005;99(1):21-30.
  • Laupattarakasem P, Houghton PJ, Hoult JR, et al. An evaluation of the activity related to inflammation of four plants used in Thailand to treat arthritis. J Ethnopharmacol April 2003;85(2-3):207-15.
  • Nakahara K, Onishi-Kameyama M, Ono H, et al. Antimutagenic activity against trp-P-1 of the edible Thai plant, oroxylum indicum vent. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem October 2001;65(10):2358-60.
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