Of the nearly eighty species of Dendrobium orchids, Dendrobium nobile is probably the most notable. This orchid has been highly valued and used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times and is still widely grown for this purpose today. In fact, the plant is listed as one of the top fifty herbs used in Chinese medicine. It is a native of the Himalayas and surrounding area, found growing at high elevations within the deciduous forests. It is also commonly grown by garden enthusiasts.
The medicinal plant is usually cut prior to flowering or harvested toward the end of its growing season where it is subsequently dried until ready for use. Typically, the dried stems are used for making herbal remedies, but they are occasionally used fresh. Decoctions and tinctures of Dendrobium nobile are created by steeping the dried, shredded stems in alcohol and then steaming them. In addition, an herbal tea can be made from the stems.
Remedies made from Dendrobium nobile have commonly been used throughout history to help boost the immune system. Its primary use, however, has been for the replenishment of fluids. Dendrobium increases salivation and is often prescribed to treat complaints associated with dry mouth, dry cough, and severe thirst. Additionally, the plant is effective in treating conditions related to dry, hot weather, such as sunstroke. Indigenous people of the Eastern Himalayas believed that these flowers could also cure eye ailments.
The tonic made frmo Dendrobium also nourishes the stomach, lungs, and kidneys. It can be given to lower fever and ease both vomiting and abdominal pain. The plant also has a history of medicinal use in treating pulmonary tuberculosis, impotence, and anorexia. Since Dendrobium nobile is known for increasing fluids, it should come as no surprise that the plant can also moisten and enhance the skin.
As with any other herbal remedy, supervision from qualified providers is important. Although Dendrobium nobile is thought to be quite safe in appropriate doses, the wrong dosage can have adverse effects on the body. For example, overdoses of Dendrobium can lead to heart and lung problems as well as convulsions.
While Dendrobium nobile is quite popular in herbal medicine, it is also widely grown for its exotic, multi-colored blooms. Their sweet scent can be quite intoxicating as well. In fact, many people have described the flower as having various aromas throughout the day. For instance, there’s a saying that describes its scent: “Vanilla in the morning, honey at noon, and primrose at night.”