Kushen is the Chinese name of the root of Sophora flavescens. It is also known as Sophora Root and is a member of the pea and bean family.
Kushen has been used successfully as an herbal medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions for thousands of years.
My interest in Kushen (Sophora Root) was piqued because of two compounds found in Kushen: Matrine and Oxymatrine.
Kushen has been shown to be of significant benefit in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, eczema, fever, insomnia, cardiac arrhythmia, cancer, dysentery, inflammation, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, vaginitis, psoriasis, and conjunctivitis.
The alkaloids Matrine and Oxymatrine, as found in Kushen, inhibit histamine release, inhibit the urge to cough (antitussive), and demonstrate expectorant effects.
One study in particular shows a great deal of promise in the use of Kushen in the treatment of asthma and other respiratory disorders. 517 cases of asthmatic bronchitis were treated with Kushen, resulting in an 86.5% effectiveness rate and a 38.8% marked effectiveness rate.
Kushen can be (and usually is) consumed in extract form with other medications. Due to its generally slight side effects, and low toxicity, it is considered to be a safe and effective medication in traditional Chinese Medicine. The side effects of Kushen are evident only at extremely high dosage levels, which include dizziness, gastric upset and evidence of immunosuppression.
Kushen is found in the desert area of northern part of China, especially in Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia. It is mainly found in the desert area of Ningxia.
Kushen is readily available all over the world. It is often used in formulations containing a combination of multiple herbs, but can also be found as a full spectrum extract.
Also known as: Ku Shen, Ku-Shen, Sophora, Sophora Root
[UPDATE]: I’ve written an article about an herbal asthma treatment called “ASHMI Clear Breathing With Chinese Herbs” which describes how Dr. Xiu-Min Li of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York combines Sophora Root (aka kushen) with three other herbs to produce a natural and effective asthma treatment. It’s a good read. Take a look.