Native to China and East Asia, ophiopogon japonicus or Mai Men Dong (麦门冬) is often cultivated as an ornamental ground cover as well as for pharmacological use. This pretty grass-like plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the past two thousand years. Depending on the region, this herb may also be known as Mondo grass, Dragon's beard grass, Kokuryu, Dwarf mondo grass, or Black dragon grass. But no matter how you call it, its invaluable benefits for our body remain unchanged.
Ophiopogon Japonicus Healing Properties
Being an anti-inflammatory perennial plant that’s a tonic and tranquilizer, the ophiopogon japonicus is often used in combination with other herbs to nourish Yin and clear heat, particularly in the stomach, lung, and heart. The herb is described as cool, slightly bitter, and sweet. It is commonly prescribed in classical and modern Chinese Medicine to treat issues such as xerostomia, insomnia, night sweats, arrhythmia, diabetes, dermatitis, etc. Scientific research expands the list of healing properties of Mai Men Dong even more.
One of the main ophiopogon japonicus benefits for our body is its ability to relieve inflammation and swelling. This is possible thanks to the active components of the plant: ruscogenin, ophiopogonin D, homoisoflavonoids, and fatty acids. Some of them are unique because they have not been found in any herb before.
In our body, there are macrophages, cells that kill harmful pathogens and bacteria. The ophiopogon root, in turn, contains polysaccharides that stimulate these cells in the body and thus increase our immunity.
Fighting Respiratory Diseases
All the same active components of Mai Men Dong do an excellent job of moisturizing and relieving inflammation of the lungs. It makes this plant an assistant in the fight against chronic cough. The study showed the effectiveness of ophiopogon japonicus root extract in treating 91.6% of the test group.
In addition to eliminating inflammatory responses, the ophiopogon root also reduces oxidative stress in the body. These two properties together improve chronic heart failure, prevent blood clots, and heal cardiovascular damage.
The antimicrobial compounds in mondo grass kill E. coli, staph, and other types of fungi and bacteria. In addition, this plant is often used as an ingredient in an antibacterial mouthwash to treat ulcers.
Ophiopogon Japonicus Skincare Benefits
The juicy root of this evergreen plant is rich in saponins, polysaccharides, and flavonoids. Modern study has shown that these beneficial compounds allow the use of ophiopogon japonicus in cosmetics for different skin types.
Ophiopogon japonicus root extract provides skin protection. In particular, it strengthens the skin barrier and thereby reduces its sensitivity to external factors. The result of the use of ophiopogon-based cosmetics is getting rid of inflammation, redness, and irritation on the skin.
Normal and Dry Skin
Mai Men Dong extract restores Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) and the skin's moisture balance, improving its overall hydration. As the skin's ability to retain moisture increases, it becomes nourished, soft, and pliable.
Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common inflammatory diseases among adults and children. A clinical study has proven that Ophiopogon is excellent at combating the symptoms of this skin disease such as itching, burning, erythema and rashes on the surface of the body. In addition, the number of relapses among study participants was significantly reduced.
Trusting Chinese medicine, scientific research, and our own experience, we define Ophiopogon japonicus as a treasure trove of useful substances. Try to let this gift of nature into your daily beauty and health rituals and you will understand and share our admiration for this plant.