Ophiopogon japonicus (Japanese Hyacinth)

Ophiopogon japonicas tubers in a heart shaped vessel.
Ophiopogon japonicas. Copyright: wmei5881 / 123RF Stock Photo

Ophiopogon or Japanese Hyacinth is a member of the Liliaceae or Convallariaceae family. It is said to contain substances which ‘replenish vital essence and promote secretion of body fluids’ according to one old unreferenced report. It has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia as a yin tonic, first reported in the first century AD.

The tubers of O. japonicas are used and called mai men dong.


a sweet, soothing sedative herb that controls cough, and lubricates the digestive and bronchial tracts.


taken internally for dry coughs, fevers, thirst, dry constipation, insomnia, anxiety and palpitations. tends to be mixed with cinnabar (mercuric sulphide) to increase sedation.   

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