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What Are the Medical Uses of Osmanthus Fragrans?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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In Chinese medicine, Osmanthus fragrans has been used for centuries in a number of different treatments. The plant, a relative of the olive, is sometimes known as the sweet olive because of the fragrance of its flowers. It is most often used topically in the treatment of mild skin irritations, but it can also be infused into tea and taken orally. The medicinal effects of this plant have not been well studied, but it is commonly used as a flavoring and is considered safe to consume.

When dried and then boiled in a tea, the buds, bark, and leaves of Osmanthus fragrans can be used medicinally. The plant is believed to boost the immune system and soothe soreness in the throat. Though scientific studies of the medicinal effects of a tea made from this plant have not been conducted, it has been used to make tea for a long time and is safe for human consumption.

The bark of Osmanthus fragrans may also be used medicinally. The stems of the plant must be stripped of their bark and then boiled to form a decoction. One this liquid has been produced, it can be placed on the skin anywhere on the body. This treatment is used on boils in order to draw out toxins and promote healing.

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A similar decoction process can be used to prepare the roots of Osmanthus fragrans to be used as a treatment. A less potent treatment than the decoction made from the stems, this liquid is often spread on injuries such as bruises or sprains to help speed up the healing process. Pain during menstruation or pain caused by arthritis can also be treated with this liquid. This treatment is generally considered safe, though its effectiveness has not been properly studied.

Osmanthus fragrans is well known for its distinctive scent. The flowers have a strong and very sweet smell and are often used to flavor teas, deserts, and medicines. The potency of the Osmanthus fragrans makes it possible for the flavor and smell of these flowers to cover up even strong, noxious flavors in other medicines. The strong smell of the flowers is also used as an insect repellent. Though this is not a medical treatment itself, areas where the plant is endemic can be home to malaria carrying mosquitos, making it important medically, if in an indirect way.

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