• Traditionally used to help support kidney and liver disorders, help promotes strong and flexible ligaments and tendons, acts as a diuretic, can help reduce swelling, lowers blood pressure and much more.
Eucommia bark has been used in traditional Chinese herbalism for over 3,000 years. Since the tree does not grow widely outside China, this herb was not used in other cultures until recently.
Eucommia bark is strongly associated with the kidneys and to a lesser extent with the liver. In Chinese health, the kidneys store jing. Jing is an essential life source and associated with whole body growth and development, and normal reproductive functioning. The kidney and liver jing also affects the bones, ligaments, and tendons.
In the Chinese system of health, yin aspects must be kept in balance with yang aspects. Ill health occurs when the energies and elements of the body are out of balance or in disharmony. Health is restored by taking herbs that restore that balance.
Eucommia bark is the primary herb used to increase yang functions in the body. However, it also supports yin functions. Eucommia bark helps to build strong bones and a flexible skeleton with strong ligaments and tendons. It is a primary herb used to mend tissues that are slow to mend after an injury or that have weakened through stress or age. It is given to help support lower back and leg pain, stiffness, joint pain, and knee problems including continual dislocation. Eucommia bark is also believed to have diuretic properties that aid in reducing swelling. Although it can be used alone, eucommia bark is most often used in conjunction with other herbs that support its functions.
In addition to rejuvenating tissues, eucommia bark has two other major functions. In pregnant women it is given to calm the fetus, soothe the uterus, and avoid miscarriage. Eucommia bark also has the ability to help support blood pressure. This property has been investigated since 1974, and may be related to its mild diuretic action. Eucommia bark is used in almost all Chinese formulas to help support healthy blood pressure levels.
Other modern uses of eucommia bark include support as a mild anti-inflammatory. It is included in tonics that boost the immune system and generally improve wellness. However, there is little rigorous scientific research to help support these uses.
In the late 1990s Japanese researchers became interested in eucommia bark. In 2000, researchers at Nihon University in Chiba, Japan, published two studies showing that both the leaves and the bark of Eucommia ulmoides contained a compound that encourages the development of collagen in rats. Collagen is an important part of connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. However, they found that the compound was present in much greater quantities in fresh leaves and fresh bark, and that much of it was destroyed during the drying process.
In modern Japan, eucommia leaves are also believed to help with weight loss by reducing the urge to eat. For this reason, in the late 1990s eucommia leaves became an increasingly popular herb there. However, there are no scientific studies to help support this function of the herb.
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