Dec 062011

[photo-adenophora roots lady bell roots]

Herb Name: Adenophora Root.  沙參 (shā shēn )

(also called Lady Bell Root, Nan Sha Shen, Adenophora Tetraphylla, and Radix Adenophorae in Latin)


  • Adenophora root is the dried root of a small perennial plant called Adenophora Triphylla,  commonly known as Lady Bell.
  • Adenophoras typically grow to about 3 feet tall and are native to east Asia.  They grow throughout the mountains and lowlands of China, Japan, and Korea where there is bright sunlight and moist soil.  In China, this plant is mostly cultivated in provinces like Anhui, Jiangsu, and Sichuan.
  • Adenophora flowers, which contain both male and female organs, bloom in September, with seeds ripening in October.  Adenophora roots are then harvested in the Spring and Fall.
  • Once harvested, adenophora roots are striped of its outer layer of skin and sun dried for medicinal use as an herb.
  • Adenophora roots are almost flavorless, with only a light sweet taste and a slight bitterness to them.

Adenophora (Lady Bell) Root Benefits and Uses:

[photo - adenophora (lady bell) root bundles]

Adenophora (Lady Bell) root bundles

  • This herbal root is typically used in Asia in the form of soups to ease dry coughs, and to moisten the lung and throat.
  • According to traditional Chinese medicine, this herb is known to have a cooling property and nourishes the yin to clear heat from the lung and help expel yellow sticky phlegm.  It is also known to tonify the stomach and reinforce qi to promote the production of bodily fluids and moisten dryness.
  • Adenophora root is also used to relieve symptoms of stomach yin deficiency such as dry parched lips or thirst.
  • See a list of recipes using adenophora (lady bell) roots.


  • Soak the adenophora roots in cool water for 2 – 5 minutes, then rinse in cool water.

Where to Buy Adenophora (Lady Bell) Roots:

  • Adenophora roots are often sold in packages and wrapped in small bundles as seen in the photos above.  They can be found in Chinese herbal stores.
  • Good adenophora roots should be clean, firm, but pliable.

Side Effects and Precautions:

  • Those with a cold cough or have a spleen deficiency should not use adenophora roots as symptoms may exasperate.
  • Adenophora roots is known to be incompatible with the toxic veratrum herb, and this combination should not be taken together.

How do you use your Adenophora Roots? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.


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Disclaimer: Content on this site is for informational purposes only, not medical advice. Do not use site content in place of a medical doctor.

Further reading: eNaturalHealthCenter, AcupunctureToday


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  6 Responses to “Herb: Adenophora Root (Lady Bell Root)”

  1. I love how healthy this ingredient sounds! Such a beautiful, elegant name too!

  2. I’ve never heard of this or I don’t think I’ve seen it either. Looks very interesting. Chinese uses so many harbs. It’s nice that people are aware of healthy options and use it for daily cooking.

  3. I don’t think I’ve had this, but as always I’d love to experiment! :) I love this informative ingredient series of yours.

  4. This sounds like something we could use this time of year when colds and flu are prevalent!

  5. Looks like a must-have during the winter months!

  6. @Kiri – Thank you for your comment and for having a curious spirit to try new things. Pls be sure to also consult with your physician before starting any herbs! Btw, my dumpling lunch the other day was very satisfying! =)

    @Kristi – Thank you for you comment as well. Please be sure to check with a physician as well before using any herbs. In Chinese medicine, there are two types of colds and flus – one that is due to heat, the other due to coldness. This herb doesn’t work with all types. So check with a doc first. =)

    @Belinda – Thank you for stopping by! I’m still envious of your caribou meal. =)

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