MILLETTIA STEM (Millettia specie)


Latin: Millettia species, Spatholobus suberectus
Chinese: Ji xue teng
English: Chicken blood vine

WHAT IT DOES: Millettia stem is sweet in taste, and warming in action.  It nourishes the blood and bone marrow, moves the blood, and reduces muscle and joint pain in deficiency syndromes.

RATING: Silver.  Use cautiously if taking blood-thinning medication.

SAFETY ISSUES: None known

STARTING DOSAGE: dried crude powder or concentrated dried decoction
• Dried crude powder: nine to15 grams per day
• 4:1 concentrated dried decoction: three to six grams per day.  

Millettia stem is another of the TCM “moving blood” and “supply blood” herbs used normally to treat problems such as anemia, dysmenorrhea, irregular menstruation and amenorrhea.  Because it is a stem, TCM doctors say it is useful to treat muscle and joint pain by opening obstructions to Qi flow in the meridians.  Because it both nourishes and moves the blood, it a good choice for patients with deficiency.  We always include it in formulas for cancer patients suffering from leukopenia due to radiation or chemotherapy, along with other herbs from the same category such as dang gui root, carthamus flower, white peony root, salvia root and cooked rehmannia root.  In severe cases of anemia, it is useful to dissolve concentrated granules of these herbs into molasses to form a paste and spoon-feed it to the patient.  I would use up to one tablespoon every two to three hours, adding some ginger root if there is a digestive problem.

Research Highlights

• Pharmacological studies in China show that the blood forming effects take place in the bone marrow, significantly stimulating hematopoiesis while exerting a beneficial effect on the marrow microenvironment.  Microscopic examination has shown a reduction in hyperplasia, and an increase in the proliferation of micro-vessels (Su et al., 1997).

• Clinical studies in China on cancer patients with impaired immune function various compound formulas using millettia stem have shown increases in white blood cell function, hemoglobin, and platelets (reported in Dharmananda, 1999).

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