Balloon flower roots have been consumed for their health benefits from more than 2,000 years. Balloon Flower (jie geng in Chinese) is a plant with star-shaped, blue-violet flowers. This is a popular garden plant and it is used for ornamental purposes. The balloon flower is used for culinary purposes in Korea. The Koreans use the root of the flower as an ingredient in salads and other foods. The root of the balloon flower can be prepared dried or fresh.
Health benefits of Balloon flower root:
In Korea the plant is known as doraji and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. However, doraji (Chinese bellflower) should not be confused with Korean bellflower. Chinese bellflower is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
They are thought to work by dilating the bronchial vessels; a constituent called platycodigenin thins and helps eliminate phlegm. Recent studies found that the root killed a liver fluke (internal parasite) and lowered “bad” and raised “good” cholesterol in rats. An ingredient of several Japanese herbal extracts, the root may be anti-inflammatory. A saponin in the root increases pancreatic secretion through the release of gastrointestinal hormones.
Balloon flower root is a well-known anti-inflammatory herb in Chinese medicine.
It may help in health conditions such as--
Coughs and wheezing with phlegm. Balloon flower reduces phlegm and as an expectorant, it is used to open up the lungs when they are congested and help the body get rid of pus due to a lung abscess.
Common cold, flu, bronchitis, a sore throat, and may help pulmonary tuberculosis.
Balloon flower root is often prescribed for loss of voice.
Balloon flower root can be found in Chinese herbalists and medical practitioners. Good quality balloon flower root is thick and white with a bitter taste. Roots that are thin with a yellow or grey hue are poor quality.