Gastrodia elata

Related names: ming tian ma 明天麻﹐ming chi jian 名赤箭﹐ding feng cao定風草﹐shui yang yi 水洋
芋, chi jian zhi 赤箭芝, du yao zhi独摇芝, ding feng cao 定風草, li mu 离母, he li cao 合离草, shen cao
神草, gui tu you 鬼督邮, chi jian 赤箭

What is the potential health benefits of Gastrodia elata?

Gastrodin is the major and bioactive component in Tianma (Gastrodia elata Bl.)and has sedative,
anticonvulsive and neuro-protective effects. [1]

Zhou BH, Li XJ, Liu M, Wu Z, Ming Hu X. from The Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, China, claimed
hydroalcoholic extracts of Gastrodia elata possessed an anti-depressant-like activity in a mice study. [5] While,
researchers from Zhejiang University, China, injected gastrodin into the femoral vein in a rat and they found a
short lag time of gastrodin distributed to the brain and a higher concentration of gastrodin at cerebellum than
other parts of the brain. [1]

Korean researchers examined the antioxidant effect of the ether fraction of the methanol extract of Gastrodia
elata along with its major constituents vanillin, vanillyl alcohol, hydroxybenzaldehyde and hydroxybenzyl alcohol.
They found the order of antioxidation potency as follows: hydroxybenzyl alcohol > vanillyl alcohol > vanillin >
hydroxybenzaldehyde. They suggested Gastrodia elata may benefit people suffered from lipid peroxidation-
associated neurological disease. [3]

Researchers from Chung-Ang University, Korea, demonstrated the anti-inflammatory action of phenolic
compounds extracted from Gastrodia elata root. [6] Another group of Korean researchers demonstrated the
potential anti-cancer activities of Gastrodia elata Blume extracts by a wound assay and an invasion assay. The
mechanism probably involves a GTP-Ras-dependent pathway. [2]

Ding CS, Shen YS, Li G, Wei Z, Wei F. from Anhui University, China, found that polysaccharide 2-1 from
Gastrodia elata (PGE2-1) prolonged clotting time and bleeding time, and increased the bleeding capacity
(A540) in a study of mice. Thus, it may have anti-coagulating and anti-thrombosis activities. [4]

Japanese researchers from Chiba University showed that gastrol, together with 10 known phenolic
compounds, has been isolated from a methanol extract of the rhizomes of Gastrodia elata Blume
(Orchidaceae) could relax smooth muscle preparations isolated from guinea-pig ileum. [10] While Chinese
researchers from Chang Gung Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital and Chang Gung University showed that
Gastrodia elata could reduced counts of shakes, paw tremor and facial myoclonia in kainic acid -treated rats.
Thus, Gastrodia elata has anticonvulsive activities. [11]


[1] Wang Q, Chen G, Zeng S. Distribution and metabolism of gastrodin in rat brain. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008 Jan 22;46(2):399-404. Epub 2007 Oct 22. [2]
Heo JC, Woo SU, Son M, Park JY, Choi WS, Chang KT, Kim SU, Yoon EK, Kim YH, Shin HM, Lee SH. Kyungpook National University Anti-tumor activity of
Gastrodia elata Blume is closely associated with a GTP-Ras-dependent pathway. Oncol Rep. 2007 Oct;18(4):849-53. [3] Jung TY, Suh SI, Lee H, Kim IS, Kim
HJ, Yoo HS, Lee SR. Keimyung University Protective effects of several components of Gastrodia elata on lipid peroxidation in gerbil brain homogenates.
Phytother Res. 2007 Oct;21(10):960-4. [4] Ding CS, Shen YS, Li G, Wei Z, Wei F. Study of a glycoprotein from Gastrodia elata: its effects of anticoagulation and
antithrombosis. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007 Jun;32(11):1060-4. [5] Zhou BH, Li XJ, Liu M, Wu Z, Ming Hu X. Antidepressant-like activity of the Gastrodia
elata ethanol extract in mice. Fitoterapia. 2006 Dec;77(7-8):592-4. Epub 2006 Sep 22. [6] Lee JY, Jang YW, Kang HS, Moon H, Sim SS, Kim CJ. Anti-
inflammatory action of phenolic compounds from Gastrodia elata root. Arch Pharm Res. 2006 Oct;29(10):849-58. [7] Jung JW, Yoon BH, Oh HR, Ahn JH, Kim
SY, Park SY, Ryu JH. Anxiolytic-like effects of Gastrodia elata and its phenolic constituents in mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Feb;29(2):261-5. [8]  Niu Q, Niu P, He
S. Shanxi Medical University, China Effect of gastrodia elata on learning and memory impairment induced by aluminum in rats Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2004 Jan;33
(1):45-8. [9] Hu JF, Li GZ, Li MJ. Protective effect of Gastrodia elata and E-gelatin on lead-induced damage to the structure and function of rat hippocampus
Zhonghua Lao Dong Wei Sheng Zhi Ye Bing Za Zhi. 2003 Apr;21(2):124-7. [10]Hayashi J, Sekine T, Deguchi S, Lin Q, Horie S, Tsuchiya S, Yano S, Watanabe
K, Ikegami F. Phenolic compounds from Gastrodia rhizome and relaxant effects of related compounds on isolated smooth muscle preparation. Phytochemistry.
2002 Mar;59(5):513-9. [11] Hsieh CL, Chiang SY, Cheng KS, Lin YH, Tang NY, Lee CJ, Pon CZ, Hsieh CT. Anticonvulsive and free radical scavenging activities
of Gastrodia elata Bl. in kainic acid-treated rats. Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(2):331-41.
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