Mu Xiang

Saussureae Radix, Saussurea


Decoction: 3-10g.


LD50: 300mg/kg (rats/total lactone/abdominal injection); 200mg/kg (rats/dyhydrocostus lactone/abdominal injection); MTD (total alkaloids/IV): 90mg/kg (rats); 100mg/kg (mice). (1)

Chemical Composition

Costunolide (50%); Saussureal; Costuslactone; (-cyclocostunolide; Alantolactone; Isoalantolactone; Isozaluzanin C; Dihydrocostunolide Costene; Aplotaxene; P-cymene; Myrcene; (-elemene; Cedrene; Humulene; (-ionone; Linalool; Cedrol; Costol; Elemol; Betulin; (-sitosterol; Stigmasterol; Costic acid; Palmitic acid; Linoleic acid; Aspartic acid; Glutamic acid; Glycine; Asparagine; Citrulline; (-aminobutyric acid; Cholamine; Saussureanine A, B, C, D, and E; Picriside B; Syringin; Dehydrocostus lactone; Dihydrocostus lactone; Isodehydrocostus lactone; 4(-methoxdehydrocostus lactone; 12-methoxydihydrodehydrocostus lactone; (E)-9-isopropopyl-6-methyl-5, 9-decadien-2-one; Massoniresinol-4"-O-(-D-glucopyranoside; Olivil-4'-O-(-D-glucopyranoside. (2) , (3)

Inorganic Chemicals

Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn.


Exercise caution when administering to patients with visceral organ dryness-heat, or with weak tendons due to yin deficiency.


Effects on the digestive system

Mu Xiang promotes the secretion of anti-growth hormone, and is beneficial to the treatment of peptic ulcers. (4) Experiments show that Mu Xiang has an excitatory effect on fundal smooth muscles; its effect on smooth muscles of other areas, however, varies (i.e., could be excitatory or inhibitory). (5) In mice, Mu Xiang significantly protects the gastric mucosa from damages caused by resperine, aspirine, indomethacin, ethyl alcohol, or hydrochloric acid, and this protective effect intensifies with dosage increase. In rats with hydrochloric acid-ethyl alcohol-induced acute gastric mucosa damages, acetone-based extract of Mu Xiang can significantly lower the ulceration index, with a 100% inhibition rate. (6) , (7)

Effects on the respiratory system

Experiments show that Mu Xiang's water-based extract, alcohol-based extract, volatile oil, total alkaloid all can counteract histamine, acetylcholine, or barium chloride-induced bronchial constriction in guinea-pigs, and that administered by IV injection to dogs under anesthesia, they all can inhibit respiration, decreasing both frequency and amplitude. (8)

Effects on the cardiovascular system

Administered by IV injection, alkaloids of Mu Xiang has an excitatory effect on the heart of cats; volatile oil of Mu Xiang in low concentration has an inhibitory effect on isolated rabbit hearts. At low dosages, both water-based and alcohol-based extracts of Mu Xiang have an excitatory effect on the heart of frogs or dogs; at high dosages, however, the effects becomes inhibitory. (9)

Anti-inflammatory effects

In mice, Mu Xiang has a significant inhibitory effect on xylol-induced ear swelling, carrageenin-induced foot swelling, and acetic acid-induced increase in abdominal capillary permeability. (10)

Effects on fibril solubility

At 2g/ml, Mu Xiang decoction can increase in-vitro fibril solubility. (11)

Effects on cartilage cell metabolism

Experiments show that at various concentrations, Mu Xiang invariably inhibits the DNA synthesis of cartilage cells. At a high concentration, Mu Xiang also inhibits the synthesis of collagen. (12)

Protecting the liver

Mu Xiang protects the liver form CCL4 poisoning and from damages by paracetamol. Methanol-based extract of Mu Xiang has a similar effect on rifampicin-caused liver damages. (13)

Anti-cancer effects

Methanol-based extract of Mu Xiang has an inhibitory effect on the growth of neoplastic necrosin. (14)


  1. Modern TCM Pharmacology. Tianjing: Science and Technology Press.
  2. Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Techonology Press; 1998.
  3. Yin Cai Xia, et al. Guangdong Journal of Microelements. 1998;5(7):61-65.
  4. Chen Shao Fu, et al. Journal of TCM Research. 1998;14(5):46-48.
  5. Zheng Tian Zhen, et al. Journal of Lanzhou Medical University. 1998;24(4):1-3.
  6. Qu Hong, et al. Inner Mongolia Journal of TCM. 1999;18(2):45.
  7. Ying Jun, et al. Journal of TCM Medicinal Materials. 1999;22(10):526-627.
  8. Modern TCM Pharmacology. Tianjing: Science and Technology Press.
  9. Modern TCM Pharmacology. Tianjing: Science and Technology Press.
  10. Zhang Ming Fa, et al. Journal of TCM Pharmacology and Clinical Application. 1998;14(6):12-16.
  11. Modern TCM Pharmacology. Tianjing: Science and Technology Press.
  12. Yue Zhen, et al. China Journal of Sports Medicine. 1998;17(1):34.
  13. Shi Yu Jun. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1998;29(8):574.
  14. Chang Hai Tao. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1999;30(7):566.