Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC.

Last updated: 01 Oct 2015

Scientific Name

Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. 


Acarna chinensis Bunge, Atractylis chinensis (Bunge) DC., Atractylis erosodentata (Koidz.) Arènes, Atractylis lancea Thunb, Atractylis lyrata (Siebold & Zucc.) Hand-Mazz, Atractylis lyrata Siebold & Zucc, Atractylis separata L.H.Bailey, Atractylodes chinensis (Bunge) Koidz, Atractylodes erosodentata Koidz, Atractylodes lyrata Siebold & Zucc, Giraldia stapfii Baroni [1]

Vernacular Name

English Southern tsangshu, swordlike atractylodes [2]
China Cang shu, cang zhu, cangzhu, mao cang zhu, nan cang zhu [2]

Geographical Distributions

Atractylodes lancea is a dioecious plant thought to be native to Asia and now cultivated globally. The successful cultivation of the plant requires adequate precipitation with moist, well-drained soil. It is found in wastelands and woodlands but does require sunlight, either direct or semi-shaded. [3]

Botanical Description

A. lancea falls under the family of Compositae. It is a flowering perennial plant which blooms in late summer through early falls. [3]

The leaves are lance-like and produce seeds in late summer through the end of the growing season. A. lancea grows to measure 30–50 cm in height. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

Lipophilic extracts from the rhizome of A. lancea has been reported to contain trans-2-hydroxyisoxypropyl-3-hydroxy-7-isopentene-2,3-dihydrobenzofuran-5-carboxylic acid, aractylenolide II, Φ-traxasteryl acetate, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, β-eudesmol, traxerol acetate. [4]

Plant Part Used

Root, rhizome. [5][6]

Traditional Use

The rhizome of A. lancea is recommended in traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of digestive disorders, infertility, diarrhea, edema, beriberi, rheumatic diseases, influenza and nyctalopia. [6][7]

Preclinical Data


Improvement of gastric emptying delaying activity

Aqueous extract of A. lancea rhizome (250 mg/kg) intragastric treated to N(G)-nitro-L-arginine-induced delay in gastric emptying in rats significantly improved the delayed gastric emptying [4]. Essential oils extracted from A. lancea administered orally to delayed gastric emptying induced by restraint stress in rats for 7 days improved gastric emptying by increasing levels the gastric hormones motilin (MTL) and gastrin (GAS) and decreasing the levels of somatostatin (SS) and CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor) [8].

Intestinal immune system activity

A compound arabino-3,6-galactan found in A. lancea rhizome modulates intestinal immunity [9]. In addition, crude polysaccharide fraction of hot water extract of A. lancea rhizome showed potent stimulating activity for proliferation of bone marrow cells mediated by Peyer's patch cells [10].

Antiangiogenic activity

β-eudesmol, a sesquiterpenoid alcohol isolated from A. lancea rhizome showed antiangiogenic activity in subcutaneously implanted Matrigel plugs in mice and in adjuvant-induced granuloma in mice through the blockade of the ERK signaling pathway. [11]

Cytotoxic activity

A prenylated dihydrobenzofuran compound namely trans-2-hydroxyisoxypropyl-3-hydroxy-7-isopentene-2,3-dihydrobenzofuran-5-carboxylic acid has been reported to have cytotoxic properties in vitro against cancer cell lines HCT-116 and MKN-45. [12]

N-hexane extracts of A. lancea rhizomes showed potent 5-lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) inhibiting properties with IC50 of 2.9 mg/mL and 30.5 mg/mL, respectively. In addition, atractylochromene also showed potent inhibition to both test system with IC50 of 0.6 mM and 3.3 nM, respectively. [13]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

Fufang Cangzhu Tang (composite A. lancea decoction) which consists of 15 g chang zhu (rhizoma A. lancea) administered to 32 patients with senile obesity or overweight with IGT found that in those treated with A. lancea decoction versus control (treated with dimethyldiguanide), the body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ration, glucose tolerance, fasting serum insulin and blood lipids were improved significantly (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01). [14]

Side effects

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

A. lancea has been reported to inhibit platelet aggregation in laboratory studies, so use with caution if taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin). [15]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


No documentation


No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1 Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Feb 11; cited 2015 Oct 01]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume I A-B. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p.484-485
  3. Wang HX, Liu CM, Liu Q, Gao K. Three types of sesquiterpenes from rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea. Phytochemistry. 2008;69(10):2088-2094.
  4. Duan JA, Wang L, Qian S, Su S, Tang Y. A new cytotoxic prenylated dihydrobenzofuran derivative and other chemical constituents from the rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea DC. Arch Pharm Res. 2008;31(8):965-969.
  5. Soumyanath A. Traditional medicines for modern times: Antidiabetic plants. Boca Raton, London: CRC Press, 2005; p. 59.
  6. Singh A. Compendia of world's medicinal flora. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2006; p. 87
  7. Tang W, Eisenbrand G. Chinese drugs of plant origin: Chemistry, pharmacology, and use in traditional and modern medicine. Germany: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2013; p. 199-200
  8. Zhang H, Han T, Sun LN, et al. Regulative effects of essential oil from Atractylodes lancea on delayed gastric emptying in stress-induced rats. Phytomedicine. 2008;15(8):602-611.
  9. Taguchi I, Kiyohara H, Matsumoto T, Yamada H. Structure of oligosaccharide side chains of an intestinal immune system modulating arabinogalactan isolated from rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea DC. Carbohydr Res. 2004;339(4):763-770.
  10. Yu KW, Kiyohara H, Matsumoto T, Yang HC, Yamada H. Intestinal immune system modulating polysaccharides from rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea. Planta Med. 1998;64(8):714-719.
  11. Tsuneki H, Ma EL, Kobayashi S, et al. Antiangiogenic activity of beta-eudesmol in vitro and in vivo. Eur J Pharmacol. 2005;512(2-3):105-115.
  12. Duan JA, Wang L, Qian S, Su S, Tang Y. A new cytotoxic prenylated dihydrobenzofuran derivative and other chemical constituents from the rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea DC. Arch Pharm Res. 2008;31(8):965-969.
  13. Resch M, Steigel A, Chen ZL, Bauer R. 5-Lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitory active compounds from Atractylodes lancea. J Nat Prod. 1998;61(3):347-350.
  14. Shi J, Hu Y, Wang Q. Fufang cangzhu tang for treatment of senile obesity or overweight complicated with impaired glucose tolerance --a clinical observation in 32 cases. J Tradit Chin Med. 2006;26(1):33-35.
  15. Nasu Y, Iwashita M, Saito M, et al. Inhibitory effects of Atractylodis lanceae rhizoma and Poria on collagen or thromboxane A2-induced aggregation in rabbit platelets. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009;32(5):856-860.