Latin names: Rhizoma alismatis orientalis, Alisma plantago-aquatica
Chinese name: ze xie
Other name: water plantain, Asian water plantain

What is Alisma?
Alisma is a plant that grows aggressively in shallow water and boggy spots in parts of Europe, North America, and Northern China. The Chinese translation of the name of this herb is “marsh drain.” Alisma contains a pungent, volatile oil, which is the source of its medicinal attributes.

What are the health benefits of Alisma?
Herbalists recommend using the powdered seeds as an astringent in cases of bleeding. Alisma has also been used as a diuretic, and it can be used to alleviate water retention. Its urination-promoting actions are used to reduce edema, urinary difficulties, diarrhea, and abdominal distention. Additionally, alisma is used to help treat dizziness with heat and ringing in the ears. Studies have shown that alisma lowers blood pressure. Alisma is known to lower lipids in blood, lower blood cholesterol levels, exhibit antibacterial properties, and lower blood sugar. Sometimes the bruised leaves of alisma have been applied topically to bruises and swellings.

Are there any precautions for taking Alisma?
Because alisma is a rubefacient—a substance that produces redness in the skin—using topically will inflame and sometimes even blister the skin. While alisma is a safe herb, some ingredients can irritate the digestive tract after long use, so be sure to consult with a licensed healthcare provider.

Where can I find Alisma?
Dried alisma or powdered alisma can be found online, at the offices of Chinese practitioners, and at some health food stores.

You can also find this herb combined with other herbs in the Traditions of Tao formulas:
HerpEase, which is used to “clear the heat” of canker sores, cold sores, and genital lesions.
Passages Plus, which helps women cope with the hormone swings of PMS and menopause.
Winter Tea, a warming tea that is useful for relieving “chills”, fatigue, soreness or weakness of the lower back, incontinence, weakened sexual and urinary function.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.