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Eucommia bark is the bark from a found in China which is commonly known as the hardy rubber tree. It comes from the eucommia tree (Eucommia ulmoides). This tree is the only member of the plant family known as Eucommiaceae. The tree can grow to be about forty to fifty feet tall. It is prized for its bark which is one of the top fifty fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) where it is known as duzhong. This tree, in its wild state, is now protected and the bark is no longer able to be harvested. All eucommia bark comes from cultivated varieties and once harvested, the bark regrows on the trunk so the tree is not harmed in any way.
The part of the tree used medicinally in China is the trunk bark which is stripped off in large pieces. The bark is stripped off between April and June when its active components are the most potent.
The main functions of this herb in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are as a tonic and anti-stress drug. In a recent study, the anti-hypertensive effect of this drug was studied. The study, which involved rats and dogs, and not humans, "provided the first evidence on the in vitro vasorelaxant action of E. ulmoides Oliv. that forms the pharmacological basis for its well-documented antihypertensive action." 1
Other common ailments treated with eucommia bark include lower back pain, preventing miscarriage, kidney problems, and sexual dysfunction. It is also used to improve the skin and for antiaging purposes. This herb is also found often in Chinese remedies to lower blood pressure. It strengthens the bones and joints as well.
Because certain constituents of this herb break down when preserved in alcohol, it is best to use it in tablet form. Always check with your natural health care provider before taking any herb.
Eucommia is available as an herbal extract or as a tea.
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