How do older Chinese people protect their heart and ease anxiety? They drink Luo Bu Ma tea, a bush used to promote longevity. The herb grows within the vast pollution-free Taklamakan Desert along the ancient silk Road in china’s remote xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region. The leaves and flowers are picked fresh, then roasted slowly to perfect the tea’s favor. The warm brewed tea is mild and tastes similar to linden and makes a lovely, calming afternoon or evening beverage.

Gynostemma and green tea are both excellent teas for health and are an acquired taste. May people enjoy the brisk bitter taste and slightly sweet aftertaste of green teas and there are many with varying intensity from the light colored flat-leaf green lungjing picked in early spring to the stimulating cannonball rolled gunpowder green tea. And there are jasmine and flavored teas that use green tea as their base. Winter’s cold weather or after a rich meal are good times to enjoy Pu’er tea, a fermented digestive tea with a distinctive earthy flavor.

Luo Bu Ma: Tthere is a Chinese herb that is enjoyed for its mild taste, simple pleasurable aroma and calming effects: Luo Bu Ma. It is a bush also called Chinese Dogbane and Apocynum leaf (Apocynum venetum, Herba Apocyni Veneti of the family Apocynaceae). It is brewed as a tea or added to soups.

Chemical Effects

Luo bu ma contains nitric oxide which helps to keep blood vessels open so that qi may easily move throughout the body. Nitric oxide is the main ingredient in Viagra. It also is used for improving asthma by opening chest circulation. Luo bu ma, according to research, acts upon the aorta like an ACE inhibitor drug often recommended by cardiologists for prevention of heart disease.

Aging is related to free radical reactions. Apocynum venetum tea has obvious anti-oxidation effects, and can reduce cataract formation. The plant extracts, with composition of inositol, folic acid, pantothenic acid, aromatic substances and other compounds in the tea, can regulate fat metabolism.

Clears “inner fire” and calms the liver, anti-arrhythmia

Apocynum venetum contains a variety of bio-active components, which regulates various links of immune system to some extent, to protect the liver detoxification. It obviously regulates immunity, as well as being anti-allergy, anti-viral.

Luo Bu Ma for the Heart

Apocynum venetum Luo Bu Ma tea contains flavonoids, by scavenging reactive oxygen free radicals, plays an anti-arrhythmia, anti-myocardial ischemia role, alleviates angina, improve cardiac function. It also helps to improve the cerebral ischemia, and to improve oxygen supply capacity of the brain and. Thus it has a certain effects in recovery of heart, vessel disease and paralysis, dementia.

Luo bu ma is a diuretic, another treatment often given to heart patients in order to reduce water retention and ease pressure on the heart. Chinese people drink the tea daily to reduce high blood pressure.

Luo Bu Ma is a traditional Chinese medicine. Beyond the cardiovascular benefits, it has traditionally been touted to promote longevity and treat both nephritis and neurasthenia. but more recently is associated with claims of blood pressure reduction and sedation (which opposes the stimulatory effect of green tea from camellia sinensis due to green tea’s caffeine content.


Quercetin as the main active constituent of Apocynum, has significant diuretic effect. Quercetin, a potent antioxidant, is the most abundant dietary flavonoid. Quercetin is abundance in apples, honey, raspberries, onions, red grapes, cherries, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables. Among vegetables and fruits, quercetin content is highest in onions. Quercetin has been linked to improved exercise performance and reduced inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Plus, it may have brain-protective, anti-allergy, and anticancer properties.

Apocynum venetum tea contains large amount of magnesium, up to 930 mg per hectogram. Magnesium has a direct relation with pancreatic insulin secretion, for insulin is released by stimulation of cholecystokinin to the pancreas, while the cholecystokinin is activated by magnesium. Apocynum venetum tea has an adjuvant effect in diabetes treatment.

TCM Herbal Description

According to traditional Chinese medicine, Luo Bu Ma’s nature is sweet, bitter, and cooling (reduces inflammation)

Enters: Liver

Actions: Calms the liver and subdues yang; clears heat and promotes urination; nourishes the heart and quiets the spirit. Lowers blood pressure.


  • Reduces liver yang rising: dizziness, hypertension, flushed complexion, irritability, insomnia, agitation or restlessness, headache, blurry vision etc.
  • Consumed by older and stressed people in China as a general health tonic to prevent the problems of aging.
  • For heart disease, hypertension, neurasthenia, hepatitis, abdominal distension, nephritis and swelling.

Classical use of Luo Bu Ma

  • ① Treatment of hepatitis and abdominal distension: simmer with watermelon seed, corydalis, clove; twice a day, served with boiling water. (“Xinjiang Handbook of Chinese Herbal Medicine“)
  • ② Treatment of neurasthenia, dizziness, sequelae of concussion, palpitations, insomnia, hypertension, liver cirrhosis, ascites, edema. Brew in boiling water for tea, not decoction. (“Xinjiang Handbook of Chinese Herbal Medicine“)

Dosage 3-10 grams. Decoction in water; or brewed instead of tea.

Cautions: Use with caution for those with spleen deficiency. [weakness, diarrhea, nausea, poor appetite, etc.] Avoid during pregnancy.

The Chinese say that Luo Bu Ma regulates blood lipids and pressure,

It improves blood viscosity, softens blood vessels, and clears toxins. With target organ protective effects, it revitalizes the heart, brain, liver, and kidney, preventing cardiovascular complications, helping to improve overall body functions. The tea has rapid absorption without any impact on normal eating. “Perennial regular tea drinking, gives you a steady blood pressure, which is a healthy habit instead of a lifetime taking medicine.”


Luo Bu Ma has been conducted in China, Korea, Japan, and several Western countries. This research shows that this medicinal definitely lowers blood pressure (by increasing nitric oxide and thus vasodilation) and has diuretic, cardiotonic, and antioxidant activity. Other research indicates that Luo Bu Ma has antidepressant potential and can reduce anxiety (in mice, equal to benzodiazapines). Yet other research shows that this medicinal is effective for hypercholesteremia and the prevention of atherosclerosis. A water infusion of this herb has been shown to be hepatoproctective in mice. As if that weren’t enough, Luo Bu Ma can reduce the formation of advanced glycation endproducts which are largely involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic vascular complications. Chinese research suggests that the active ingredients in Luo Bu Ma mainly consist of rutin, d-catechin, and quercetin. However, Japanese research shows that Luo Bu Ma contains more than 15 kinds of phenolic constituents.

Common Use

Luo Bu Ma was, up until recently, a folk medicinal mostly found and drunk as a healthy beverage tea in Inner Mongolia. However, recently, this medicinal has been found to lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol at the same time as raising high density (good) cholesterol, reduce edema due either to kidney or heart dysfunction, enhance immunity, and promote longevity. Therefore, this herb is now often drunk both preventively and remedially by the middle-aged and elderly in China and Japan.

Further Study

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