Other Name(s):

AMK, ATR, Atractylenolide, Atractylénolide, Atractylis lancea, Atractylis ovata, Atractylode Blanc, Atractylode Gris, Atractylodes chinensis, Atractylodes japonica, Atractylodes lancea, Atractylodes macrocephala, Atractylodes ovata, Atractylodis Radix, Bai Zhu, Bai-Zhu Atractylodes, Byaki-Jutsu, Cang Zhu, Cangzhu, Chang Zhe, Jutsu, Paekch'ul, Red Atractylodes, Rhizoma Atractylodis, Rhizoma Atractylodis Macroce, Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Rhizome d'Atractylode, So-Jutsu, White Atractylodes, White Atractylodis.


Atractylodes is a plant. People use the root to make medicine.

Atractylodes is used for indigestion, stomachache, bloating, fluid retention, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss due to cancer, allergies to dust mites, and joint pain (rheumatism).

Atractylodes is used with other herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for treating lung cancer (ninjin-yoei-to) and complications of dialysis, a mechanical method for “cleaning the blood” when the kidneys have failed (shenling baizhu san).

How does it work?

Chemicals in atractylodes might improve function of the digestive tract and reduce pain and swelling (inflammation).


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Loss of appetite. Developing research shows that taking a purified atractylodes ingredient called atractylenolide seems to improve appetite in people who have lost weight due to stomach cancer.
  • Joint pain (rheumatism).
  • Indigestion.
  • Stomachache.
  • Bloating.
  • Edema.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of atractylodes for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Atractylenolide, a chemical found in atractylodes, seems to be safe when taken in appropriate amounts (1.32 grams daily) for a short period of time (up to seven weeks). It can cause nausea, dry mouth, and leave a bad taste in the mouth.

There isn't enough information to know if other atractylodes products are safe.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of atractylodes during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Atractylodes may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking atractylodes.


The appropriate dose of atractylodes depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for atractylodes. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Inagaki K, Komatsu Y, Sasaki H, et al. Acidic polysaccharides from rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea as protective principle in Candida-infected mice. Planta Med 2001;67:428-31. View abstract.

Jang MH, Shin MC, Kim YJ, et al. Atractylodes japonica suppresses lipopolysaccharide-stimulated expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Biol Pharm Bull 2004;27:324-7. View abstract.

Kamei T, Kumano H, Iwata K, et al. The effect of a traditional Chinese prescription for a case of lung carcinoma. J Altern Complement Med 2000;6:557-9. View abstract.

Kim HK, Yun YK, Ahn YJ. Toxicity of atractylon and atractylenolide III identified in Atractylodes ovata rhizome to Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:6027-31. View abstract.

Kitajima J, Kamoshita A, Ishikawa T, et al. Glycosides of Atractylodes japonica. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2003;51:152-7. View abstract.

Kitajima J, Kamoshita A, Ishikawa T, et al. Glycosides of Atractylodes lancea. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2003;51:673-8. View abstract.

Kitajima J, Kamoshita A, Ishikawa T, et al. Glycosides of Atractylodes ovata. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2003;51:1106-8. View abstract.

Lee JC, Lee KY, Son YO, et al. Stimulating effects on mouse splenocytes of glycoproteins from the herbal medicine Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz. Phytomedicine 2007;14:390-5. View abstract.

Li CQ, He LC, Jin JQ. Atractylenolide I and atractylenolide III inhibit Lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-alpha and NO production in macrophages. Phytother Res 2007;21:347-53. View abstract.

Liambo W, Baotian C, Rengao Y, Huiqun L. Treatment of complications due to peritoneal dialysis for chronic renal failure with traditional Chinese medicine. J Trad Chinese Med 1999;19:3-9. View abstract.

Liu Y, Jia Z, Dong L, et al. A randomized pilot study of atractylenolide I on gastric cancer cachexia patients. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2008;5:337-44. View abstract.

Min BS, Kim YH, Tomiyama M, et al. Inhibitory effects of Korean plants on HIV-1 activities. Phytother Res 2001;15:481-6. View abstract.

Nakai Y, Kido T, Hashimoto K, et al. Effect of the rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea and its constituents on the delay of gastric emptying. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;84:51-5. View abstract.

Nogami M, Moriura T, Kubo M, Tani T. Studies on the origin, processing and quality of crude drugs. II. Pharmacological evaluation of the Chinese crude drug "zhu" in experimental stomach ulcer. (2). Inhibitory effect of extract of Atractylodes lancea on gastric secretion. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1986;34:3854-60. View abstract.

Prieto JM, Recio MC, Giner RM, et al. Influence of traditional Chinese anti-inflammatory medicinal plants on leukocyte and platelet functions. J Pharm Pharmacol 2003;55:1275-82. View abstract.

Resch M, Heilmann J, Steigel A, Bauer R. Further phenols and polyacetylenes from the rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea and their anti-inflammatory activity. Planta Med 2001;67:437-42. View abstract.

Resch M, Steigel A, Chen ZL, Bauer R. 5-Lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitory active compounds from Atractylodes lancea. J Nat Prod 1998;61:347-50. View abstract.

Sakurai T, Sugawara H, Saito K, Kano Y. Effects of the acetylene compound from Atractylodes rhizome on experimental gastric ulcers induced by active oxygen species. Biol Pharm Bull 1994;17:1364-8. View abstract.

Tsuneki H, Kobayashi S, Sekizaki N, et al. Antiangiogenic activity of beta-eudesmol in vitro and in vivo. Eur J Pharmacol 2005;512:105-15. View abstract.

Wang CC, Chen LG, Yang LL. Cytotoxic activity of sesquiterpenoids from Atractylodes ovata on leukemia cell lines. Planta Med 2002;68:204-8. View abstract.

Wang CC, Lin SY, Cheng HC, Hou WC. Pro-oxidant and cytotoxic activities of atractylenolide I in human promyeloleukemic HL-60 cells. Food Chem Toxicol 2006;44:1308-15. View abstract.

Wang KT, Chen LG, Yang LL, et al. Analysis of the sesquiterpenoids in processes Atractylodes rhizome. Chem Pharm Bull 2007;55:50-6. View abstract.

Yamahara J, Matsuda H, Huang Q, Li Y, Fujimura H. Intestinal motility enhancing effect of Atractylodes lancea rhizome. J Ethnopharmacol 1990;29:341-4.

Yu KW, Kiyohara H, Matsumoto T, et al. Intestinal immune system modulating polysaccharides from rhizomes of Atractylodes lancea. Planta Med 1998;64:714-9. View abstract.

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