Herbal Exhibition
Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae
Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome


The rhizome of Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz. (Fam. Compositae).

Mainly in Chinese provinces such as Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei and Hunan. Mostly cultivated.

Harvest & Processing
Collect rhizomes 2-3 years old in late October; remove stems, leaves and rootlets; dry rhizomes by heat to produce ' Hongzhu' (Fire-Dried Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome), or dry under the sun to produce ' Shengshai zhu' (Sun-Dried Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome).

Plump pieces irregular in shape; 3-13 cm long, 1.5-7 cm in diameter. Outer surface greyish-yellow or greyish-brown; marked with irregular strumiform (cushion-like) protuberances, interrupted longitudinal wrinkles and grooves, and scars of rootlets; top end marked with caudex remnants and bud scars. Hard, does not break easily. When broken, surface uneven; transverse section of Shengshaizhu pale yellowish-white to pale brown, with chrysanthemum markings and scattered brownish-yellow oil dots; transverse section of Hongzhu cuticular, deeper in colour and with clefts. Odour: fresh and fragrant; taste: sweet and slightly acrid; slightly sticky when chewed.

1. Anorexia, abdominal distension, chronic diarrhoea, weakness
2. Oedema, oliguria
3. Spontaneous sweating
4. Threatened abortion and morning sickness
5. Arthralgia

Chemical Composition
Mainly contains essential oils with atractylon as the main component.


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The information and images in this Online Herbal Exhibition is form the book, "An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica in Hong Kong", edited by Professor Zhao Zhongzhen, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University. For the complete collection of Chinese Materia Medica compiled by Professor Zhao, please go to this website: http://www.bucmm.org.

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