Star Jasmine Vine (Luo Shi Teng)

Caulis Trachelospermi JasminoidisStar jasmine vine (confederate jasmine) is also known as trachelospermum jasminoides in scientific name and Shi Teng in mandarin. First of all, these flowering vines are not a true jasmine plant. It is named after jasmine just because it has a very similar look and sweet fragrance when its white star-like flowers bloom. Apart from being one of popular ground cover plants, medicinally it is a very common Chinese herb that has amazing healing powder on treating stroke, arthritis, arthralgia, and other conditions associated with tendon and vessel. Because of that, it is listed in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica) as a top-grade herb.

What is star jasmine vine?

Medicinally it refers to the dried stems with leaves of Trachelospermum jasminoides (Lindl.) Lem., which is a plant in the family Apocynaceae. Other names include Star Jasmine Stem, Caulis Trachelospermi Jasminoidis, Caulis Trachelospermi, Trachelospermum jasminoides stem, and so on. In China it is mainly produced in Jiangsu, Hubei, Shandong and other provinces. It is normally cut in late winter or early spring. After the cutting, it should remove the impurities, dry in the sun, cut into sections, and use raw.

The star jasmine plant is an evergreen climbing shrub. Auburn stems are glabrous or pubescent when young, mostly branched, and with spotted lenticels on surface. Leaves are opposite; petiole is from 2 to 5mm long. When young it is densely clothed with grayish brown pubescence, which falls off later; leaf blade is elliptic or ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 8cm long , 1.5 to 4cm wide, with acute or obtuse apex, broadly cuneate or rounded base, and entire margin. Cyme is axillary and up to 5cm long. Flowers are white and fragrant; calyx is small and 5-parted; floral tube is cylindrical, 3 to 6mm, and puberulous; stamens are 5; carpels are 2 and ovules are many. Follicles are in the shape of cylinder and about 15cm. Seeds are brown, linear and flat, and with a tuft of bright white soft fur. Bloom time is from April to May and fruit season is in October. Habitats include mountains, plains, and wilderness. They often climb and attach on stone, wall or other plants. And they are also cultivated as an ornamental plant in the garden, typically on chain link fence or in a pot.

In terms of chemical composition, stems contain arctiin, tracheloside, nortracheloside, matairesinoside, dambonitol, arctigenin, matariresinol, trachelogenin, and nortrachelogenin. Cauline leaf contains alkaloids like coronaridine, voacangine, apparicine, conoflorine, vobasine, 19-epivoacangarine, ibogaine, tabernaemontanine, and so on. In addition, leaves still contain flavonoids, such as apigenin, apigenin-7-O-glucoside, apigenin-7-O-gentiovioside, apigenin-7-O-neohesperidoside, luteolin, etc. The whole plant contains β-amyrin, β-amyrinacetate, lupeol, lupeol acetate, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol.

Star jasmine vine health benefits

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) tends to think that vine plants are born with the ability of acting on collaterals and dredging channels since vines resemble meridians, from appearance to mechanism. As a result, confederate jasmine is no exception and medicinally it can relax tendons and activate collaterals, which thus make it one of the best herbs for the treatment of tendon spasms.

For instance, Zhong Feng Hui Chun Wan, from the “Chinese Pharmacopoeia”, can be a good try on stroke caused by phlegm stagnation obstructing meridian, in which symptoms include hemiplegia, numbness in limbs, tongue deviation, speech impediment, twisted mouth, and more. In addition, it can be also used for cerebral thrombosis that sees the above mentioned clinical manifestation. However, cute cerebral hemorrhage patients should stay away from this prescription since it is good at promoting circulation and removing stasis.

Modern pharmacological actions of star jasmine bush

1. Its methanol extracts have inhibition on feet swelling and writhing response in animals;
2. Flavonoid glycoside contained can significantly inhibit Xanthine oxidase, which is an enzyme that can promote the synthesis of uric acid. As a result, it can resist gout;
3. Its decoction has inhibition on Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella and Salmonella typhi;
4. Arctiin can dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and inhibit intestine and uterine.

Selected herbal remedies on star jasmine vines

The Chinese Materia Medica believes that it is bitter and acrid in flavor and slightly cold in medicinal properties. And it goes to meridians of heart, liver, and kidney. Primary functions are activating meridians to stop pain, clearing heat to cool blood, and removing toxicity for detumescence. Essential indications include rheumatism, aching in lumbus and knees, tendon spasm, sore throat, deep-rooted boil, pyogenic infections, traumatic injury, and traumatic bleeding. Recommended dosage is 6-15 grams (or even 30g alone) in decoction, pills, or powder, and 30-60 grams in soaked vine.

1. It is used alone to soak wine for the treatment of sore muscles, according to Hu Nan Yao Wu Zhi (Manual of Materia Medica of Hunan).

2. It is formulated with Zao Jiao Ci (spina gleditsiae), Gua Lou (Trichosanthes Kirilowii), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), Mo Yao (Myrrh), Ru Xiang (Frankincense Carterii), etc. to treat pains due to toxin accumulation induced swollen sore, according to Zhi Tong Ling Bao San from Wai Ke Jing Yao (Essence of Diagnosis and Treatment of External Diseases).

3. The single herb can be used to cure throat impediment and difficulty in breathing, according to Jin Xiao Fang (Prescription of Good Effect that is Not Long Ago).

4. It is dried in the sun and ground into powder for treating traumatic bleeding, according to Jiang Xi Cao Yao (Jiangxi Herbal Medicine).

Star jasmine vine side effects and contraindications

Is star jasmine vine poisonous? Generally it is considered a very low toxic plant and clinically a safe herb if used properly. TCM wise, Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu (Explanation of Canon of Materia Medica) says that it contradicts Tie Luo (iron chippings) and mutually restrains Shi Chang Pu (Sweetflag Rhizome) and Bei Mu (Fritillaria Bulb); Yao Xing Lun (Treatise on the Nature of Medicinal Herbs) tells that it is incompatible with iron chippings; the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing Shu (Commentary on ‘Shen Nong’s Classic of the Materia Medica) comments that it shouldn’t be used by person who is with yin excess, fear of cold, or diarrhea.

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