Eucommia Ulmoides Benefits
Feb 24, 2021

What is Eucommia Ulmoides?

E. ulmoides is native to China and is the only species of Eucommiaceae. It is a deciduous and dioecious woody species distributed throughout the valleys, hills, and mountains of central and eastern China, growing to 10 to 15 m in height. The oval-shaped leaves are 8 to 16 cm long, arranged alternately with a serrated margin. The plant’s small, green flowers are typically in bloom from March to May, and the fruits ripen between June and November.

Eucommia ulmoides is a species of small tree native to China. It belongs to the monotypic family Eucommiaceae. It is considered vulnerable in the wild, but is widely cultivated in China for its bark and is highly valued in herbology such as traditional Chinese medicine.

Eucommia ulmoides grows to about 15 m tall. The leaves are deciduous, arranged alternately, simple ovate with an acuminate tip, 8–16 cm long, and with a serrated margin. If a leaf is torn across, strands of latex exuded from the leaf veins solidify into rubber and hold the two parts of the leaf together. It flowers from March to May. The flowers are inconspicuous, small and greenish; the fruit, June to November, is a winged samara with one seed, very similar to an elm samara in appearance, 2–3 cm long and 1–2 cm broad.


Use of the plant in traditional Chinese medicine began as early as 2,000 years ago.1 The plant's bark and leaves contain the lignan pinoresinol diglucoside, which has potent antihypertensive properties. In folk medicine, the dried and heated outer portion of the stem has been used for supporting muscle and lung function, lowering blood pressure, preventing miscarriages, improving the tone of the liver and kidneys, and increasing longevity.The leaves have been used in foods. An aqueous leaf extract known as du zhong tea is popular in China and Japan for treating hypertension and improving health. In traditional Chinese medicine, the seed oil is commonly used to treat hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain in the lumbar region, and hip pain.

The whole plant, except the transport tissue xylem, contains an isomer of natural rubber (Eucommia rubber) that is of high economic value and used as a raw material in the organic chemical industry. Commercial cultivation of E. ulmoides started in the 1980s, and utilization and overexploitation have threatened the existence of the species in the wild.

eucommia ulmoides


Eucommia ulmoides extract (EUOE) contains identified active substances including lignans, iridoids, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, etc. Among them, 27 compounds have been isolated from lignans, cycloolefins 15 compounds have been isolated from ether terpenes, 11 compounds from phenylpropanoids, and 6 compounds from flavonoids. Compounds with pharmacological effects include geniposide, geniposide, and syringin. , Chlorogenic acid, pinoresin diglycoside, eucommia alcohol, quercetin, peach leaf, coralline and other ingredients. At present, the active ingredients in the extracts of Eucommia ulmoides on the market are mainly chlorogenic acid, in addition to geniposide acid, protocatechuic acid, pinoresinol diglucoside, pinoresinol monoglucose.

Eucommia Ulmoides Benefits

Eucommia Ulmoides may help lower blood pressure and prevent complications of diabetes. While alternative medicine practitioners turn to eucommia to increase vitality and promote longevity, in the West, it is mostly known as a supplement to lower blood pressure.


In vitro data

The antioxidant and antidiabetic activities of E. ulmoides leaves are associated with 3 flavonol glycosides with glycation inhibitory activity.

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available.


In vitro data

E. ulmoides leaf and bark water extracts caused an endothelium-dependent, nitric oxide–mediated vasorelaxation in rat aorta and dog carotid arteries precontracted with 1 mcM phenylephrine. Activation of potassium channels may be involved with the mechanism of vasorelaxation.20 The effect of an E. ulmoides extract on isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis was examined in a human fat cell with beta-adrenergic activity demonstrated by the extract.

Clinical data

A noncontrolled Russian trial documented a 25/14 mm Hg drop in blood pressure in human subjects with hypertension treated with Eucommia tea.

An aqueous bark extract of Eucommia standardized to 8% pinoresinol di-beta-D-glucoside was evaluated for antihypertensive activity in humans in a controlled clinical trial. Twenty healthy patients with blood pressure between 120 to 160/80 to 100 mm Hg were randomized to receive the 500 mg standardized extract 3 times daily for 8 weeks. No difference in blood pressure and no toxicity were found. A second trial conducted in 29 healthy patients with blood pressure between 120 to 160/80 to 100 mm Hg was randomized to administer 1 g of Eucommia extract 3 times daily for 2 weeks. Results documented an average reduction in blood pressure of 7.5/3.9 mm Hg and the extract was well tolerated. The standardized extract exhibited beta-adrenergic blocking activity.



In vitro data

The mechanism of anti-inflammatory activity with a protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from the stem bark of E. ulmoides was associated with blockade of complement activation through the classical and alternative pathways. Coagulation assays on the polysaccharide showed very limited anticoagulation activity when compared with heparin.

Animal data

A 2.2% E. ulmoides bark polysaccharide extract protected the kidneys from glomerular injury by reducing immunoglobulin deposition, lowering proteinuria, and inhibiting increased production of serum autoantibodies and total immunoglobulin G in a systemic lupus erythematosus–like syndrome induced in mice.

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available.

Neuroprotective effects

In vitro data

Neuroprotective and antioxidant activity was demonstrated with an E. ulmoides water bark and leaf extract against amyloid-beta peptide cytotoxicity in rat pheochromocytoma PC-12 cells.26 The protective effects were associated with inhibiting excessive Ca2+ influx and reducing lactate dehydrogenase leakage. The major active constituents of the bark and leaves were geniposidic and chlorogenic acids. Several mechanisms of action were proposed in another study in which eucommia ulmoides bark extract protected against hydrogen peroxide–induced neuronal cell death in human neuroblastoma cells, including inhibition of cytotoxicity, reduction of reactive oxygen species, DNA condensation, mitochondria membrane potential stabilization, and regulation of key signaling proteins involved in cell death.27

Animal data

An herbal medicine composed of 6 crude herbs, including E. ulmoides, protected against peripheral nerve injury in rats by promoting nerve regeneration and improving motor function recovery by reducing oxidative stress.28 An aqueous E. ulmoides extract protected mice from amyloid-beta peptide–induced learning, memory, and cognition effects by inhibiting aceylcholinesterase activity in the hippocampus and frontal cortex.29

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available.


Animal data

Although the precise mechanism is unknown, E. ulmoides leaf extracts stimulated lipolysis and thermogenesis in rats by elevating epididymal white and interscapular brown adipose tissue sympathetic nerve activity. The amount of abdominal fat and body weight decreased due to suppression of appetite by inhibiting the activities of the parasympathetic nerves innervating the GI tract.30 Administration over 3 months of Eucommia leaf extract or green leaf powder stimulated several antiobesity and antimetabolic effects, including decreased adenosine-5′-triphosphate production in white adipose tissue, accelerated fatty acid beta-oxidation in the liver, and increased use of ketone bodies and glucose in skeletal muscle.31 Plasma levels of resistin, which induces insulin resistance, were decreased. Plasma levels of adipocytokines, which have an antiarteriosclerotic effect and improve insulin sensitivity, were increased. Administration over 4 weeks of a 30% methanol E. ulmoides leaf fraction identified asperuloside as the active component in reducing body weight, white adipose tissue weight, plasma triglyceride levels, and free fatty acids levels in mice.

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available.

Postmenopausal osteoporosis

In vitro data

A biological screening assay identified 6 estrogenic compounds from E. ulmoides capable of activating estrogen receptor–dependent transcription.

Some compounds exerted high potency on transactivating estrogen receptor-alpha but lacked selectivity for estrogen receptor-beta signaling. Selective estrogen receptor-alpha activity may increase the risk of estrogen receptor-alpha breast cancers, uterotrophic activities, and thromboembolic disorders.

Animal data

Over a 16-week period, daily oral administration of a 10% E. ulmoides cortex extract prevented estrogen deficiency–induced bone loss and deterioration of trabecular microarchitecture, which contributes to bone strength and may reduce fracture risk in osteoporosis induced by ovariectomy in rats.34 The activity may be related to the concentration of compounds such as lignans, phenolic acid, and flavonoids.34, 35

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available.

Wound healing

In vitro data

A formula ratio of 1:3 of ginseng to E. ulmoides leaf was effective in stimulating collagen synthesis and preventing decreased protein metabolism in rat granuloma.36 Aucubin from E. ulmoides protected against ultraviolet B–induced free radicals in a human skin fibroblast cell line by decreasing matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)–1 production and senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity.37

Reducing MMP-1 production led to reduced degradation of the extracellular matrix by photoaging. Reducing beta-galactosidase activity led to less activity by senescent fibroblasts, producing less collagen and elastin.

Animal data

A methanol extract of E. ulmoides leaves stimulated collagen synthesis in aged model rats.38 The active ingredients of the methanol extract were identified as geniposidic acid and aucubin. A similar study in false-aged model rats administered a methanol extract of E. ulmoides leaves, with the active ingredient geniposidic acid, improved the turnover or collagen synthesis rate in the stratum corneum.39 Over 3 weeks, granuloma formation and collagen content were improved in healthy rats administered an E. ulmoides hot water leaf extract.40 Histochemical evaluation revealed new capillary vessels and a greater number of fibroblasts and monocytes.

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available.

Other pharmacological uses

Antifungal activity

Two antifungal peptides from the bark of E. ulmoides inhibited 8 plant pathogenic fungi from cotton, wheat, potato, tomato, and tobacco, including Phytophthora infestans, Ascochyta lycopersici, Verticillium dahlia, Gibberella zeae, Alternaria nicotianae, Fusarium moniliforme, Fusarium oxysporum, and Colletotrichum gossypii.

Antioxidant activity

Du zhong tea (leaf extract) is commonly used in Japan as a functional health food.14 The tea may reduce human exposure to dietary mutagens and carcinogens. Additional antioxidant activity includes inhibitory effects against low-density lipoprotein44 oxidative modification induced by copper and prevention of oxidative gastric injury.

Tobacco substitute

No toxicity, mutagenicity, or immunotoxicity was documented for mice inhaling a tobacco substitute primarily composed of E. ulmoides leaves at levels of up to 20 cigarettes per day over 4 weeks.

Uterine involution

Traditional Chinese postpartum care includes behavioral, dietary, and herbal therapy to help facilitate uterine recovery for women after delivery. In 1 clinical study of 127 postpartum women between 4 to 6 weeks after delivery, the anteroposterior diameter of the uterus and cavity were significantly reduced with herbal supplementation of E. ulmoides during the first postpartum month.

Eucommia benefits


E. ulmoides (du zhong) is commercially available as a combination product or alone as a capsule, tablet, powder, or tea, primarily for treating hypertension.


3 to 5 (100 mg) tablets 3 times per day with warm water after meals. One clinical study used a 500 mg standardized extract 3 times daily for 8 weeks.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented. Theoretically, patients self-medicating with E. ulmoides may experience additive adverse effects if taking anticoagulant, antiplatelet, low–molecular weight heparins, or thrombolytic medications. Additive adverse effects with medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight reduction may also be possible.

Adverse Reactions

One clinical study documented moderately severe headache, dizziness, edema, and onset of a cold. Serum glucose levels increased by 3 ± 2 mg/dL from a baseline of 95 ± 3 mg/dL. Serum creatinine increased by 0.02 ± 0.01 mg/dL from a baseline of 0.87 ± 0.03 mg/dL.21


No information in humans is available. One study found no acute toxic symptoms for mice treated with 6.68 g/kg of Eucommia lignans after 14 days. The 6.68 g/kg dose is equivalent to almost 334 times the human clinical dose.22 No acute toxicity in rats was exhibited for 1,200 mg/kg. No toxicity was evident as determined by clinical appearance, histopathology, and serum chemistry for repeated dosing of 200, 600, and 1,200 mg/kg over 28 days.21

A water E. ulmoides leaf extract decreased carbon tetrachloride–induced chronic hepatotoxicity in rats.48 Geniposide and genipin from E. ulmoides bark protected rat kidney tissue from cadmium-induced oxidative stress by inhibiting nitric oxide production.

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