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Some of the medical uses for the agastache rugosa plant include using it as a treatment for people suffering from anxiety, nausea, bacterial infections, or gas. The herb is known under many different names, such as Korean mint, purple giant hyssop, Indiana mint, and the wrinkled giant hyssop. It is a member of the lamiaceae, or mint, family of herbs. The plant is used for ornamental as well as medicinal purposes. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese herbology.
The plant grows to be about 4 ft (about 1.21 m) tall, and is a perennial. It has long spikes of lavender-blue flowers that butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds find very attractive. The plant is native to Japan, Korea, China, and Vietnam.
The stiff-toothed leaves, when crushed, give off a mint and anise odor. While the leaves have a pleasant flavor, they are too rough and coarse to eat raw, even though they can compliment a salad well. The plant is often used in tea, which is best made when the leaves are fresh, as well as in salad dressings and meat marinades.
The plant contains estragole, P-anisaldehyde, and pachypodol. Estragole is described as having a strong tarragon or anise flavor, and is often used in perfumes and as a food additive. P-anisaldehyde is a chemical similar to one found in anise. Pachypodol is unique to agastache rugosa, and may be responsible for some of the beneficial properties of the plant.
As one of the 50 fundamental herbs, agastache rugosa is known as huò xiāng. These plants provide the materia medica, or basis, for traditional Chinese medicine. Herbs that are part of the list have been in use for thousands of years. Agastache rugosa is reported to have antifungal, antibacterial, carminative, and antipyretic properties. Carminatives are substances that reduce the amount of gas produced in the gastrointestinal system, and can also prevent flare-ups of acid reflux disease. The plant has also been used a fungicide to prevent fungus from growing on potato crops. Antipyretics are drugs that help reduce fever.
It has been suggested that, in high doses, agastache rugosa may be useful in preventing and alleviating viral conditions, like the cold or influenza. The carminative effects of the plant can also help settle an upset stomach. People who are sensitive to mint should probably avoid ingesting agastache rugosa because it may have the same effect.
Tea is usually prescribed using the dried flowers and leaves of the plant. It is relatively safe for long-term use. A medical professional, however, should be consulted if the herb is taken in high doses.
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