Polygala tenuifolia

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Polygala tenuifolia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala
Species: P. tenuifolia
Binomial name
Polygala tenuifolia

Polygala tenuifolia (Yuan Zhi) is an herb in the family Polygalaceae which is hardy to USDA Zone 6.

Medicinal uses[edit]

Yuan Zhi is used primarily as an expectorant.[1] It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called yuan zhi (Chinese: 遠志).

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the extract of dried roots of Polygala tenuifolia in healthy adults produced memory-enhancing effects.[2] A similar trial with elderly humans also found significant cognitive improvement.[3] Another study has shown that P. tenuifolia increases NGF secretion in astrocytes.[4]


  1. ^ "Polygala tenuifolia - Willd. database report". Plants for A Future. 1996–2012. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ Lee J.-Y., Kim K.Y., Shin K.Y., Won B.Y., Jung H.Y., Suh Y.H. (2009). "Effects of BT-11 on memory in healthy humans". Neuroscience Letters 454 (2): 111–114. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2009.03.024. PMID 19429065. 
  3. ^ Shin K.Y., Lee J.-Y., Won B.Y., Jung H.Y., Chang K.-A., Koppula S., Suh Y.-H. (2009). "BT-11 is effective for enhancing cognitive functions in the elderly humans". Neuroscience Letters 465 (2): 157–159. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2009.08.033. 
  4. ^ Yabe T., Tuchida H., Kiyohara H., Takeda T., Yamada H. (2003). "Induction of NGF synthesis in astrocytes by onjisaponins of Polygala tenuifolia, constituents of kampo (Japanese herbal) medicine, Ninjin-yoei-to.". Phytomedicine 10 (2-3): 106–14. PMID 12725562.