Costus Root, Mù Xiāng, 木香, Radix Auklandiae Lappae

Disclaimer    For educational purposes only.  Do not use as medical advice

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Health Benefits
For: Flank pain • Diarrhea • Colitis • Vomiting • Tenesmus • Poor appetite • Indigestion • Abdominal discomfort • Bloating • Dysentery disorders
Attributes: Anti-inflammatory • Antibacterial • Antibiotic • Anticancer • Anticoagulant • Antifeedant • Antioxidant • Insecticidal
Products (online examples)

Dried Herb


Dried Herb

Dried Herb



Dried Herb

Dried Herb

Research (sample)
Constituents: Costus lactone • Aplotaxene • Saussurine • Costenolide • Camphene • Carboxylic acid • Caryophyllene • Phenols • Quinones • Saponins • Stigmasterol • Betulin • Steroids • TerpenoidsTannins • Palmitic acid • Linderic acid • Costus lactone • Lupeol • Inulin • Saussurin • Beta Costol • Methoxy coumarin • Hydroxy coumarin

Photos (Click to enlarge)
Fun Facts
Other Names: Costus root • Kuth • Saussurea • Kushta • Ru Rta • Auklandia Root • Guan Mu Xiang • Yun Mu Xiang
Plant Family: Asteraceae
This herb is listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).  Mu Xiang is best known for relieving gastrointestinal disorders, particularly heartburn, gas, bloating, indigestion, distention, food poisoning, acid reflux and stomach aches.
The following are often confusing and dangerous substitutes for Mu Xiang (Auklandiae Lappae)

Aristolochia debilis, Aristolochia contorta (Qing Mu Xiang) - Toxic and should not be confused with Aucklandia lappa.

Vladimiria souliei, V. souliei var. cinerea (Chuan-Muxiang),

Inula helenium, Inula racemosa (Tu-Muxiang)

Aucklandia lappa is NOT in the USDA Plant Database.  

USA: Aucklandia lappa is not available in the wild.    USDA Zones: 9-11

World: China

Habitats: Altitude >2500m, Alpine meadows, bushwood

Properties, Actions, Indications, etc.              Category: Regulate Qi 
English: Costus Root    Pinyin:  Mu Xiang      Pharmaceutical: Radix Auklandiae Lappae  
Organs: Gallbladder • Large Intestine • Spleen • Stomach • Triple Burner  Temperature: Warm  
Taste: Pungent • Bitter  Toxicity:   
Patterns: Spleen qi stagnation • Stomach qi stagnation • Food stagnation 
Actions:  Tonify spleen • Tonify stomach • Moves qi • Relief pain • Clear Qi stagnation • Clear food stagnation • Clear damp heat
Indications: Heartburn • Peptic Ulcer • Flatulence • Distention • Flank pain • Tenesmus • Indigestion • Abdominal discomfort • Gas • Bloating • Dysentery disorders
Contraindications: Daisy allergy • Yin Xu Fire • Depleted Fluids • Blazing Fire.
Typical Dosage: 3g to 9g          Guidelines
Parts Used: Root      Notable for: Move Qi • Pain • Prevent cloying of Tonifying herbs • Qi stagnation pain  
Combine With Purpose
Zhi Ke + Yan Hu Suo Qi stagnation - stomach ache, epigastric pain, and distention [21]
Zhi Ke + Chuan Lian Zi + Yan Hu Suo Qi stagnation - abdominal pain and distention[17]
Zhi Ke + Chuan Lian Zi + Lai Fu Zi + Yan Hu Suo Qi stagnation -Bloating and epigastric pain [3],[18]
Qing Pi Bloating, indigestion, belching, stomach aches and distention [5],[21]
Da Fu Pi + Cao Guo Push Qi downward and push out food stagnation[3],[21]
Bing Lang + Da Huang Stomach stagnation - Constipation, red and white diarrhea, damp heat [3],[21]
Bing Lang + Qing Pi + Da Huang Spleen Qi and stomach Qi stagnation - constipation, bloating, distension, abdominal pain[17]
Bing Lang + Zhi Ke + Ge Gen + Da Huang + Huang Lian Qi and food stagnation combined with damp heat leading to diarrhea and rectal tenesmus [3],[18]
Huang Lian Damp heat Rectal tenesmus [3],[18],[21]
Huang Lian + Huo Xiang Diarrhea from damp heat [3],[18]
Huang Lian + Bing Lang Tenesmus, bloody stool[17]
Bai Shao Bloody diarrhea [3],[18]
Huang Bai + Bai Tou Weng + Ma Chi Xian Severe heat dysentery disorders [3],[18]
Yi Yi Ren + Fu Ling + Cang Zhu + Che Qian Zi Severe dampness dysentery disorders [18]
Sha Ren + Ren Shen + Bai Zhu Abdominal distention and bloating that feels better with warmth.  Poor appetite. [3],[21] Spleen and stomach deficiency. [18]
Sha Ren + Zhi Shi + Bai Zhu Poor appetite from spleen deficiency, food stagnation and Qi stagnation[17]
Sha Ren Food stagnation and Qi blockage - poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tenesmus, epigastric pain, abdominal pain [3],[18],[21]
Huo Xiang + Zhu Ru + Ban Xia + Fu Ling Stomach and intestinal Qi stagnation - abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting[17]
Chai Hu + Yu Jin + Yin Chen Hao Damp heat with flank pain and bitter taste in mouth [3],[21]
Chai Hu + Yu Jin + Zhi Ke + Xiang Fu Blocked liver Qi - hypochondrium pain and distention, bitter taste in mouth[17]
Da Huang + Yin Chen Hao + Jin Qian Cao Damp heat [5],[18], Jaundice from damp heat[17]
Xiao Hui Xiang + Chuan Lian Zi Cold Shan disorder, sagging testicles [17]
Wu Yao Lower abdominal pain and feeling of coldness [3]
Dui Yao Pairs Purpose
Mu Xiang + Huang Lian Damp heat Rectal tenesmus [3],[18],[21]
Formulas with Mu Xiang
Dang Gui Long Hui Wan • Fei Er Wan • Ge Hua Jie Cheng San • Gui Pi Tang • Hei Xi Dan • Hou Po Wen Zhong Tang • Hui Chun Dan • Jian Pi Wan • Ju He Wan • Juan Bi Tang • Mu Xiang Bing Lang Wan • Mu Xiang Liu Qi Yin • Shao Yao Tang • Shi Pi Yin • Si Hai Shu Yu Wan • Su He Xiang Wan • Tian Tai Wu Yao San • Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang • Xiang Sha Yang Wei Tang • Xiang Lian Wan • Yan Hu Suo Tang • Zhen Ren Yang Zang Tang • Zhou Che Wan • Zi Xue Dan
Variations for Mu Xiang

Mu Xiang or Sheng Mu Xiang - raw form.  Best for regulating Qi.

Wei Mu Xiang or Zhi Mu Xiang - Baked Costus root.  Slices coated in flour and baked.  Used to tonify the intestines and for dysentery disorders

Chao Mu Xiang - stir fried.  Best used for stopping diarrhea and for those with yin deficiency.

  • This herb contains coumarin and may interact with blood thinners and anticoagulant medication.
Potential Drug Interactions

Herbal medicine may interact negatively with pharma drugs and other herbs.  Examples below:

Herbs: ♦Anticoagulants: American Ginseng, Arnica, Rou Gui, Chamomile, Dan Shen, Dang Gui, Deertongue, Sheng Jiang, Goji Berry, Ginko Nutes, Notoginseng, Peach Kernel, Hong Hua, Sweet Clover, Vanilla Grass, Yin Chen hao,

Pharma Drugs:♦Anticoagulants: asprin , clopidogrel (Plavix) , Coumadin , dipyridamole , enoxaparin , Heparin


Information in this post came from many sources, including class notes, practitioners, websites, webinars, books, magazines, and editor's personal experience.  While the original source often came from historical Chinese texts,  variations may result from the numerous English translations.   Always consult a doctor prior to using these drugs.  The information here is strictly for educational purposes. 

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