Eucommia bark and tea, herb and leaf
March 2 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.  index of Integrative Medicine

Eucommia Ulmoides - Du Zhong - Tochu. For a list of herbs used in Chinese medicine, see Chinese Herbs.

Historical uses
Eucommia ulmoides leaves have been used as a folk remedy for the treatment of diabetes in Korea. The bark and leaves of Eucommia ulmoides have been used as tonic and anti-stress drug in China.

Benefit of Eucommia
The extracts of Eucommia show anti-hypertensive, anti-complementary, anti-oxidative, and anti-gastric ulcer effects, and promoting collagen synthesis, accelerating granuloma formation, and other pharmacological effects. Water extracts of Eucommia eaves have been reported to have potent antioxidant and antimutagenic effects.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016. Health-Promoting Properties of Eucommia ulmoides: A Review. Eucommia ulmoides (EU) (also known as "Du Zhong" in Chinese language) is a plant with various chemical constituents such as lignans, iridoids, phenolics, steroids, flavonoids, and other compounds. These constituents of EU possess various medicinal properties and have been used in Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) as a folk drink and functional food for several thousand years. EU has several pharmacological properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antimicrobial, anticancer, antiaging, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective properties. Hence, it has been widely used solely or in combination with other compounds to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, sexual dysfunction, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and neurological diseases.

Eucommia is sold as bark extract or as eucommia tea, or mixed in a wide range of formulas.

Eucommia ulmoides study

Blood pressure lowering
Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant effects of the aqueous extracts of the Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. leaf and bark: implications on their antihypertensive action.
Vascul Pharmacol. 2003. Kwan CY, Chen CX, Deyama T. Department of, Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
The vascular effects of three extract preparations from the Chinese medicinal herb, Eucommia ulmoides Oliv., which is historically an active ingredient commonly used in antihypertensive herbal prescriptions in China, were investigated with isometric contraction using isolated rat aortic and dog carotid rings. Both aqueous extracts isolated from eucommia leaf (L) and bark (B) concentration dependently caused endothelium-dependent relaxation in vessels precontracted with phenylephrine (PE), but the methanol extract of the leaf (M) had no effect. Vessels precontracted with KCl and de-endothelialized vessels precontracted with PE were not affected by B or L. The endothelium-dependent relaxation evoked by B and L was either abolished or substantially inhibited by NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) and methylene blue (MB), indicating the involvement of the nitric oxide (NO) synthase pathway in the vasorelaxant action of B and L. The relaxation to the aqueous extract of eucommia bark was not inhibited with atropine, but was inhibited by  tetraethylammonium and 4-aminopyridine. This suggests that the endothelium-dependent, NO-mediated relaxation evoked by the aqueous eucommia extracts was not mediated via the activation of endothelium muscarinic receptors and may involve the activation of K+ -channels. Results in this study have provided the first evidence on the in vitro vasorelaxant action of Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. that forms the pharmacological basis for its well-documented antihypertensive action.

Altern Med Rev. 201. A clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of a standardized Eucommia ulmoides Oliver bark extract to treat hypertension. A tea made from Eucommia ulmoides leaves and bark is part of the Japanese diet. Eucommia is an herbal medicine that, by increasing nitric oxide, reduced blood pressure (BP) in rats and humans in an uncontrolled clinical trial. Twenty-four healthy adult subjects were randomized to Eucommia extract 500 mg three times daily for eight weeks. Automatic 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (24-h ABPM) was utilized at baseline and after eight weeks. Study 2: Thirty healthy adult subjects were randomized to 1 gram Eucommia extract three times daily for two weeks. There was no toxicity or any difference in BP between the two groups. Study 2: The Eucommia extract was well-tolerated and reduced BP by an average of 7.5/3.9 mmHg. The standardized Eucommia extract reduced BP and has beta-adrenergic blocking activity. Eucommia may be an appropriate nutraceutical intervention for prehypertension.

Blood sugar, diabetes
Food Funct. 2016. Eucommia ulmoides extracts prevent the formation of advanced glycation end products. The oral intake of Eucommia extract may inhibit the formation of AGEs, thereby ameliorating age-related diseases.

Bone strength
Am J Chin Med. 2014. Du-Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides) Prevents Disuse-Induced Osteoporosis in Hind Limb Suspension Rats.

Heart health, atherosclerosis prevention
Hypertension Res. 2017. Preventive effect of Eucommia leaf extract on aortic media hypertrophy in Wistar-Kyoto rats fed a high-fat diet. Eucommia ulmoides Oliver leaf extract has been shown to have anti-hypertensive and anti-obesity effects in rats that are fed a high-fat diet. Long-term administration might inhibit the development of arteriosclerosis.

Safety, side effects
Little human research is available and more safety studies are needed. Taking frequent breaks from use is advised until more information on side effects is published.

Is eucommia the same as eurycoma?
   No, they are different herbs.

Q. Eucommia bark or it's Chinese name Du Zhong. There's a whole web site touting Du's Tea as helpful controlling high blood pressure and a host of other ailments. Any info would be appreciated.
   A. I had not heard of Du's Tea before as the name for Du Zhong. I will update this article as more research is published.

This may or may not be something you are familiar with. I have a tea blend I am making that currently consists of apocynym venetum and green tea, both of which are known for lowering blood pressure (amongst other things). In your opinion do you think adding eucommia to this blend would be of any benefit? Also are you familiar with dan shen (salvia root?) If so do you think that would be worth adding to the above blend which is mainly focused on blood pressure and heart health? I realize that this question cannot be answered completely from a scientific standpoint, which is why I am only asking for an opinion.
   A. It is possible that these additional herbs could be of benefit but it is difficult to predict.

Chemical composition
Eucommia has many substances including: geniposidic acid, iridoids, aucubin, gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, epicatechin, catechin, n-octacosanoic acid), tetracosanoic-2, 3-dihydroxypropylester, rutin.
   A new flavonol glycoside, quercetin 3-O-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, and known flavonols kaempferol 3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (astragalin), quercetin 3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (isoquercitrin) were isolated from the leaves of Eucommia ulmoides.

Zhong Yao Cai. 2014. Study on chemical constituents of Eucommia ulmoides leaves. To investigate the chemical constituents of Eucommia ulmoides leaves. Various column chromatography were used in the isolation and purification, physiochemical constant determination and spectral analysis were adopted to determine the chemical structures.RESULTS:Ten compounds were isolated and identified as borreriagenin, n-butyl-O-β-D-fructopyranoside, α-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->1')-3'-amino-3'-deoxy-β-D-glucopyranoside, β-D-fructofuranosyl-α-D-galactopyranoside, β-D-fructose, diisobutyl phthalate, 5-hydroxy-9-isopropylether-guaiacylglycerol, 4-hydroxyphenylethanol-8-O-β-D-apiofuranosyl(1-->6)-β-D-glucopyranoside, lariciresinol, and tetrahydroxy-7-ene-megastigmane. All compounds are isolated from this genus for the first time.