AGASTACHE (Agastache rugosa, Pogostemon cablin)

Latin: Agastache rugosa,  Pogostemon cablin
Chinese: Guang Huo xiang
English: Patchouli

WHAT IT DOES: Agastache is aromatic, pungent in taste, and slightly warming in action.  It stops nausea and vomiting by dissolving mucus in the stomach.

RATING: Yellow, due to limitations in use

SAFETY ISSUES: Avoid contact with eyes due to volatile oil content.

• Dried powder: four and-a-half to nine grams per day
• Concentrated powder: one to three grams per day

Agastache is the botanical source of patchouli oil, used as an aromatic perfume ingredient because it is said to give lasting qualities to other agents (Felter and Lloyd, 1898).  It is used in India as a diuretic, and to keep insects away from clothing (Nadkarni, 1954).  TCM doctors discovered that the real medicinal value of agastache is its ability to stop nausea and vomiting.  This anti-emetic activity of agastache was demonstrated in a recent experiment on young chicks (Yang et al., 1999). Its use in reducing the nausea of chemotherapy was documented in 2007.

We use it in our clinic to treat cases of nausea that do not respond to the milder ginger root.  In addition, this herb inhibits the actions of common fungi and bacteria that cause nausea and intestinal problems.  You can find it in Chinese grocery stores as a major ingredient in various anti-nausea medicines, available in both pill and liquid forms.  It is very valuable for treating the nausea of pregnancy or chemotherapy.

Research highlights:

• Bacteroides is a strain of bacteria that ferments carbohydrates in the intestinal, respiratory and uro-genital tracts and oral cavity linings, causing toxic gas formation.  In a study of several pathogenic bacteria, terpenoids isolated from agastache exhibited marked antibacterial activity.  This activity proved strongest against Bacteroides (Osawa et al., 1990).