Foremost Among Medicinal Orchids: Tianma, Chijian (Gastrodia elata)

  • Eng Soon Teoh


Stories on the legendary origin of Tiama or tubers of the parasitic orchid, Gastrodia elata, are used to open the chapter to highlight the observation that efficacy in traditional herbal medicine is almost invariably ‘proven’ by anecdotes. Chinese scientists determined to prove that the herb is truly effective in managing ‘diseases of wind’ (strokes and other diseases of the nervous system) have isolated over a hundred compounds from Tianma. In vitro and animal experiments which suggest that crude Tianma extracts and several pure compounds both exhibit neuroprotective properties are discussed and explained. Hopefully this will translate into clinically proven items for the management of neurological disorders of old age. Cultivated Tianma accounts for approximately 80% of the tremendous market demand exceeding 100 tons.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eng Soon Teoh
    • 1
  1. 1.SingaporeSingapore

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