This is a bit obscure. You’ll probably need to be a Chinese herb geek to fully follow what comes next. Ophiopogon is used in Chinese medicine as the lung and stomach Yin tonic. It is also said to lubricate the large intestine. If you make the dry herb into a tea, it has a somewhat mucilaginous quality. It is said to be cooling and moistening according to traditional Chinese herbology. Like slippery elm, which I talked about in a previous post, this herb was thought to exert at least some of its function by coating the respiratory and digestive tracts with this mucilage. However, the amount of mucilage available in the doses commonly administered couldn’t explain either the amount of short-term relief or the fact that this and similar herbs seem to have a cumulative, restorative effect that remained after use of the substance was halted.

Now, it appears that this herb, like many others, has a nourishing effect on the some microbiota. And, one of the well-known functions of certain beneficial microbiota is to support the mucosal barrier that lines the surfaces of both the digestive and respiratory tracts. It may be that a significant component of the function of moisturizing the digestive and respiratory tracts with Chinese medicinals is mediated by the microbiome.

Ophiopogon Polysaccharide Promotes the In Vitro Metabolism of Ophiopogonins by Human Gut Microbiota
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