Time and time again, science and history have shown us that some of the most effective medicinal treatments can be sourced directly from the earth.
While some may never compare to the wonder of synthetic medications (keep in mind most pharmaceuticals have their roots in natural substances too), there may be some serious benefits to reap from exploring alternative medicine.
Eucommia bark is a great example of this. Let’s go!
- What Is Eucommia Bark?
- Eucommia ulmoides - Key Health Benefits
- More Uses Of Eucommia
- Is Eucommia ulmoides Safe? Does It Have Any Side Effects?
- How To Take Eucommia Bark?
- Can Eucommia Be Taken With Other Natural Supplements?
- Final Thoughts
What Is Eucommia Bark?
Eucommia bark (also known as Du Zhong) is one of the primary herbs used in Chinese herbalism (also known as TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine).
This herb is a species of a small tree from the Eucommiacea family - Eucommia ulmoides.
Eucommia grows native to China, and although it’s widely cultivated, it’s considered rare in the wild.
These small trees can be easily overlooked if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
They have broad, half-opened crowns with oval or elongated dark green leaves, which are often waxy or leathery.
Eucommia trees are hardy and can tolerate most soil types, and they can grow anywhere between 20 to 60m high.
So, what makes Eucommia bark so special?
Eucommia bark has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, and it’s said to contain properties that support our general health and wellbeing. We’ll explore these in-depth later on.
Although Eucommia leaves have been used in Chinese medicine to make medicinal tea, the bark is usually favoured as a more effective treatment.
Eucommia ulmoides - Key Health Benefits
Although most evidence is preliminary from a clinical perspective, various studies indicate that the supposed benefits of Eucommia may be genuine and effectual in many cases.
Let’s explore what the science says below.
1.) May Help Treat And Prevent Diabetes
Some animal studies currently suggest that Eucommia bark may help to prevent and treat diabetes.
For example, in one study, diabetic mice were given a six-week treatment of Eucommia, and the results noted a significant decrease in blood sugar levels.
Another study performed on rats found that the Eucommia herb may help fight obesity and reduce the body's resistance to insulin.
Ultimately, the administration of Eucommia helped stimulate metabolic function in several organs in rats, suggesting that this herb may offer an effective diabetes treatment.
However, explorative research into the connection between Eucommia and diabetes is limited to animal research.
Further studies and clinical trials are needed to explore the potential of Eucommia as a treatment in human diabetic patients.
2.) May Help To Lower Blood Pressure
Further research has also found that Eucommia may alleviate hypertension.
In one study, thirty adults were instructed to take three grams of Eucommia a day for three weeks.
By the end of the study, the average blood pressure reading was lowered to 7.5/3.9 mmHg, which was noticeably more than the control group.
Unlike the diabetic research, this study was performed on humans, and the results appear promising.
However, this study was performed on a small control group, and more extensive research would be required to approve Eucommia as a treatment for high blood pressure.
According to this study, Eucommia may reduce the symptoms of hypertension by reducing the impacts of epinephrine on the bloodstream, which reduces high blood pressure.
3.) Eucommia Could Help Relieve Symptoms Of Arthritis
Some studies suggest that Eucommia may even relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
According to one animal study published in 2015, Eucommia reduced the development of osteoarthritis in the knee joints of rats.
Eucommia may delay cartilage degeneration by inhibiting the PI3K/Akt pathway, reducing cytokines associated with inflammation, and preventing the secretion of MMP-3 (matrix metalloproteinase -3), an enzyme closely related to associated with the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis.
Again - although these are intriguing results, these are small and limited animal studies with results that don’t directly translate to use in humans.
More Uses Of Eucommia
While not all of these benefits have been scientifically proven, in traditional Chinese medicine, Eucommia has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for the following conditions and diseases:
- Knee pain
- Foot fungus
- Metabolic syndrome
- Sexual dysfunction
- Vaginal bleeding
- To improve learning and memory
- To reduce the signs and symptoms of aging
Is Eucommia ulmoides Safe? Does It Have Any Side Effects?
Eucommia ulmoides is generally considered safe with very few reported side effects, however, research into the safety and efficacy of Eucommia is still quite limited.
While modern science can say little about the impact of long-term use, research indicates that doses of up to3 grams per day are safe.
No drug interactions with Eucommia have been documented, however, your doctor may advise you not to take Eucommia if you take antiplatelets, diabetic medications, or anticoagulants to be on the safe side.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may also be advised to avoid Eucommia.
While there are no official research studies or clinical trials to confirm this, Eucommia has been used as a medicinal treatment for centuries with few reported side effects.
However, there are concerns that high doses of Eucommia may cause symptoms such as headaches and dizziness, which can range from moderate to severe.
Always consult your doctor before taking Eucommia or any other alternative medicines.
How To Take Eucommia Bark?
Eucommia bark (sometimes also called eucommiae cortex) is purported to be a powerful immunity tonic among many other things.
It has long been believed that the bark of Eucommia offers more medicinal benefits than other parts of the herb (e.g. the leaf or roots) and for this reason, Eucommia bark is more widely available nowadays.
Any commercially prepared Eucommia extracts should come with a recommended dosage from the manufacturer. We always recommend starting out with a small dose and slowly increasing it from there as your body adapts and adjust to it.
Eucommia bark can be bought in the form of tea, liquid tinctures, capsules, dried powder and even in the form of the raw bark itself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has become very popular in recent times, and as such, many businesses have tried to get in on the action and are producing low-potency, ethically questionable and potentially contaminated extracts.
Currently - we personally only buy SuperFeast Eucommia Bark Powder Extract as they are completely transparent with their sourcing & contaminant testing, also providing 3rd party results to back it up.
Can Eucommia Be Taken With Other Natural Supplements?
As far as the science suggests, there have been no reported interactions between Eucommia and other drugs.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t approach taking the supplement with caution.
Eucommia contains many chemical compounds such as steroids, flavonoids, lignans, iridoids, phenolics, and more.
Some of these compounds may cause unwanted side effects if taken in large doses.
If you plan to take Eucommia alongside other natural supplements, we recommend always consulting a medical professional for advice, especially if you’re taking prescribed drugs or suffer from any preexisting physical health conditions.
Although it’s mainly cultivated in China, Eucommia also now grows throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.
Extracts of Eucommia bark are believed to be a potent tonic, especially for the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, joint pain and hypertension to name a few.
As a staple herb in Chinese herbalism now for many centuries, Eucommia has countless users the world over and the science, albeit currently limited, is beginning to shed light on its amazing potential.
Here’s to strong and supple joints and bones!