Chinese Privet

Ligustrum lucidum - W.T.Aiton.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young shoots - cooked. A famine food, used when all else fails. The shoots contain a glycoside and are probably toxic.

Medicinal Uses

Anodyne; Antiseptic; Antitumor; Cardiotonic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Miscellany; Ophthalmic; Pectoral; Tonic; Vulnerary.

Chinese privet has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1000 years. The fruit is antibacterial, antiseptic, antitumour, cardiotonic, diuretic and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of complaints associated with weak kidney and liver energy such as menopausal problems (especially premature menopause), blurred vision, cataracts, tinnitus, rheumatic pains, palpitations, backache and insomnia. Modern research has shown that the plant increases the white blood cell count and is of value when used to prevent bone marrow loss in cancer chemotherapy patients, it also has potential in the treatment of AIDS. Extracts of the plant show antitumour activity. Good results have also been achieved when the fruit has been used in treating respiratory tract infections, hypertension, Parkinson's disease and hepatitis. The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and is dried for later use. It is often decocted with other herbs in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments and also as a general tonic. Some caution is advised in their use, since the fruits are toxic when eaten in quantity. The leaves are anodyne, diaphoretic, febrifuge, pectoral and vulnerary. The bark of the stems is diaphoretic.

Other Uses

Hedge; Wax.

A commercial insect wax is produced on the branches as a result of eggs being laid by insects. Another report says that the wax is produced by the plant due to the stimulation of the feeding insects. Yet another report says that the wax is produced by the insects. It is used for candles and as a polish for earthenware pots, book edges etc. The plant can be used as a hedge. It is very amenable to trimming.

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