Japanese angelica tree. Manchurian aralia roots

Japanese angelica tree. Manchurian aralia roots

Japanese angelica tree. Manchurian aralia roots

Specification & Spread

Manchurian aralia roots — radices araliae mandshuricae
Japanese angelica tree — aralia elata (miq.) Seem. ( = a. Mandshurica rupr. Et maxim.)
Ginseng family — araliaceae
Other names: udo, devil’s tree.

It is a  small, fast growing tree with a height of 3-6 m with a shallow root system. In appearance, it resembles a palm tree, as a thin, straight, unbranched trunk, densely studded with short strong thorns, only at the apex are closely spaced and horizontally spread long-petiolous leaves twice and three times up to 1 m long. The flowers are small, yellowish-white, form simple umbrella-shaped inflorescences, gathered in several long dense panicles up to 45 cm long.
The fruit is a globular juicy coenocarpic drupe of blue-black color with 5 bones.

It blooms in June – August, the fruits ripen in October. Because of the presence of prickly thorns on the stock and leaves, aralia is popularly called the «devil’s tree».

Other types of aralia

Aralia, or Schmidt aralia (Aralia cordata Thunb. = A. schmidtii Pojark.), along with Japanese angelica tree, is allowed for use, but this species is included in the Red Book of the USSR (1978, 1984).
Aralia is a perennial herbaceous plant without thorns with a simple, unbranched stem is up to 1.25 m in height.
The root is thick, fleshy, slightly resinous and fragrant. The leaves are smaller, up to 50 cm long, on long petioles, twice or thrice pinnate, dark green above, bare, sometimes rather densely set with short bristly hairs, lighter below.
The inflorescence is large, up to 45-50 cm long, in the form of one apical panicle, sometimes having small additional inflorescences from below.
It grows on Sakhalin and the neighboring islands.
The roots contain aralozide A, the tincture of the roots also has a tonic effect.

Spreading. Northeast China, Korea; in Russia, only in the Far East (Primorye and Priamurye, Sakhalin, Shikotan and Kunashir islands).

Habitat. It grows on rich, well-moistened soils in the undergrowth of cedar-deciduous forests, in glades, clearings, burns, on cutting areas, prefers clarified places. It grows singly or forms thickets suitable for harvesting raw materials.


The chemical composition of aralia

In the roots, mainly in the cortex of the roots, are contained:

  • triterpene pentacyclic saponins of the beta-amyrin group,
  • derivatives of oleanolic acid – aralosides A, B and C (up to 11-12%).

It differs in the structure of the carbohydrate part. Araloside A predominates, which is a trioside containing one residue of glucose, arabinose, and glucuronic acid.

The roots also contain:

  • essential oil,
  • tar,
  • trace elements.

Aralosides are also found in the bark of the stem (2.8–4.7%), which may be an additional raw material source for their production.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. When harvesting should be used only 5-15-year-old specimens of plants. The roots are dug in the spring before the leaves bloom (April – first half of May) or in the autumn, starting in September, carefully washed off the ground and cut into pieces. The selected roots are not thicker than 3 cm.

Security measures. When harvesting the raw materials one root, radiating radially from the stock, should be left in the soil. In the future, the accessory buds on it will ensure the restoration of thickets of aralia. In addition, it is recommended to plant the destroyed specimen of the root cutting about 10 cm long and 1-3 cm in diameter in place.

Drying. It is dried in dryers with artificial heating at a temperature of 50-60 °C or in well-ventilated areas, and in dry weather – in the open air.

Storage. In stock, the raw materials are stored in bags, in a dry, cool and dark place.

Whole raw materials

Solid or longitudinally split pieces of roots are up to 8 cm long and up to 3 cm in diameter, with few small side roots.
The roots are light, longitudinally wrinkled, with a highly flaky cork.
The bark is thin, easily separated from the wood. The root fracture is splintery. The colour of the roots is brownish-grey on the outside, whitish or yellowish-grey on the break.
The smell is strong and fragrant. The taste is slightly astringent and bitter.

Milled raw materials

The pieces of roots of various shapes are passing through a sieve with 7 mm diameter holes.
The colour is yellowish grey and brownish grey.
The smell is strong and fragrant. The taste is slightly astringent and bitter.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. General tonic.

The pharmacological properties of aralia

The preparations from the roots of Manchurian aralia  have:

  • stimulating action
  • increase the amplitude of the heartbeat,
  • slow down their pace
  • increase myocardial tone,
  • a few wheezing,
  • increase diuresis.

Aralia infusion has a stimulating effect on the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system.
Infusion of aralia and purified amount of saponins from the bark of the trunk have an androgenic property.


  • stimulate immune activity
  • have an anti-stress effect,
  • increase the body’s resistance to adverse environmental factors, to hypoxia, infection, due to the activation of enzyme glycolysis systems and enhancement of the energy supply of the body’s defensive reactions.

It increases the resistance to toxic effects (poisoning by nitrites, chlorophos, methyl hydrazine, fluorine), have a protective effect in experimental radiation sickness,
possess hypoglycemic properties, reduce the level of lipoproteins in the blood.
The preparations from Aralia are highly low toxic and well tolerated.

Application of aralia

Aralia infusion is used:

  • in asthenic conditions and neurasthenic reactions of patients undergoing traumatic brain injury, infectious diseases;
  • in case of psychasthenia after long, emotional and physical overloads;
  • with cerebral atherosclerosis;
  • in case of not severe asthenodepressive conditions;
  • with impotence.

Given the positive effect on the endocrine system and metabolism, Aralia tincture is used for skin diseases.
It is not recommended to take preparations from aralia in the evening.
The effect of preparations is similar to the effect of ginseng preparations.

Contraindications to the application of high aralia preparations:

  • hyperexcitability,
  • insomnia,
  • hypertonic disease,
  • epilepsy.