Ge Gen is also known as Radix Puerariae or Kudzu Root and is the root of Pueraria, which is a perennial deciduous Liana belonging to the family Leguminosae. It can be used as medicine and food with a medicinal history of more than 2,000 years.
There are 17 known species of Pueraria, among which Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi and Pueraria thomsonii Benth are used medicinally. They are native to East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, and are now widely distributed.
Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi often grows on grassy slopes, roadsides or sparse forests at an altitude of 100-2,000 meters. Pueraria thomsonii Benth often grows in thickets or sparse forests. Both their roots and flowers can be made into medicine. Their bark can be made into clothes or paper. Their leaves can be made into green fodder.
In some southern cities of China, Ge Gen is a common ingredient. It is often used to make medicinal diets or tea. Ge Gen tea has the effects of relieving alcoholism and beauty.
Ge Gen is picked in the autumn and winter of each year. People pick roots of Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi, cut them into thick slices or small cubes, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs. People pick the roots of Pueraria thomsonii Benth, remove their skin, sulfur smoke them, dry them in the sun, longitudinally cut them into small cubes, and make them into Chinese herbs.
Ge Gen with white color and hard material is the best, and it with yellow color is the second. It contains flavonoids such as puerarin, daidzein, daidzin, etc. It also contains amino acids, sugars, and some trace elements.
According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Ge Gen is relatively cool, with a pungent and sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the spleen and stomach meridians.
In Chinese medicine, Ge Gen is often used to relax muscles, relieve fever, promote eruptions, treat colds, dysentery due to intestinal heat, coronary heart disease, cervical spondylosis, and hypertension.
About 200 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions contain Ge Gen, such as Ge Gen Tang, Ge Gen Qin Lian Tang, Yufeng Ningxin Pian, and Yu Quan Wan.
Health benefits of Ge Gen
- Anti-oxidation, anti-influenza virus, and anti-tumor.
- Supplementing calcium to preventing osteoporosis.
- Enhancing macrophage phagocytosis and immunity.
- Improving brain blood circulation and memory.
- Relaxing smooth muscles and relieving muscle spasms.
- Promoting eruptions and treating the insufficient outbreak of early measles.
- Invigorating spleen, replenishing qi and treating diarrhea caused by spleen deficiency or damp-heat.
- Promoting fluid production to quenching thirst caused by febrile disease or yin deficiency.
- Dilating blood vessels, ringeducing peripheral resistance and lowering blood pressure.
- Improving microcirculation, increasing organ blood flow, preventing and treating hypertension, atherosclerosis, and platelet aggregation.
- Reducing myocardial oxygen consumption, preventing and treating myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, and arrhythmia.
- Reducing blood sugar, serum cholesterol, triglycerides, preventing fatty liver and gallstones.
- Relieving headaches, dizziness, dysphoria, thirst, and vomiting caused by alcoholism.
- Relieving fever, headache, neck pain, and back pain caused by colds.
- It contains phytoestrogens, which can promote the growth of the breast, fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
Ge Gen is used with other Chinese herbs
- It with Niu Bang Zi (Fructus Arctii), Jing Jie (Schizonepeta tenuifolia), Chan Tui (Periostracum Cicadae), and Qian Hu (Peucedanum) can promote eruptions, relieve fever and cough.
- It with Sheng Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae), Mai Dong (Radix Ophiopogonis), Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsis), and Huang Qi (Astragalus Root) can nourish yin and treat thirst caused by yin deficiency.
- It with Bo He (Mentha), Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum), and Man Jing Zi (Vitex fruit) can relieve fever and headaches caused by wind-heat.
- It with Ma Huang (Ephedra), Gui Zhi (cassia twig), Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger), Zhi Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Preparata), Hong Zao (Fructus Jujubae), and Bai Shao (White Peony Root) can treat fever with no sweat, neck pain, and back pain caused by wind-cold.
- It with Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng), Fu Ling (Poria Cocos), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), Guang Huo Xiang (Herba Pogostemonis), and Mu Xiang (Radix Aucklandiae) can nourish the spleen and stomach, relieve dyspepsia, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea caused by weakness of the spleen and stomach.
Side effects of Ge Gen
Ge Gen can be eaten with almost no side effects. A small percentage of people taking it may cause watery diarrhea, drug-induced hepatitis, allergic reactions.
Excessive use of it may cause acute toxic reactions, such as palpitation, dry mouth, restlessness, and unconsciousness.
Precautions of Ge Gen
- The dosage of Ge Gen should be controlled at 9-15g.
- It can be made into decoction, tea, or ground into powder for oral or topical use.
- It should not be used to relieve dizziness and headache caused by hyperactivity of deficiency yang.
- People with deficiency-cold in spleen and stomach should not take it.
- People with exterior deficiency or hyperhidrosis should not use it.
- Pregnant women and menstrual women should not take it.