The importance of marlberry for therapeutic uses can be gauged from the fact that in Chinese traditional medicine this herb was once including in the lost of Fifty Fundamental Herbs. Even today, this herb is used in the form of a decoction either independently or as an expectorant in combination with other herbs. The decoction prepared using only marlberry is also employed to treat stomach cramps related to menstruation problems and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the marlberry decoction is used for alleviating agonizing swellings. This therapeutic preparation with marlberry is also employed in the form of a diuretic, for treating jaundice and purifying blood. Findings of one study examining the health benefits of marlberry have revealed that this herb possesses reasonable anti-HIV activity in vitro. Two constituents of this herb bergenin and norbergenin are said to be responsible for its moderate anti-HIV actions. According to the findings of another study, the action of marlberry is relatively feeble against HIV virus. It has, however, been established that bergenin is effective in dealing with coughs. This herb is especially employed for treating bronchitis. In addition, it is also effective in reducing flatulence. Marlberry leaves have also been used for combating cancer. A decoction prepared from the leaves as well as the stem of this shrub is employed for curing coughs and treating uterine bleeding. The root of this herb possesses diuretic properties and is also used as a cure for poison. This herb contains saponins, which normally to some extent possess anti-cancer actions. Ardisia japonica or Japanese ardisia can also be employed for treating malaria or as an antioxidant diet. Often, this herb is also used in the form of a food preservative. Available documents clearly show that marlberry has been used for several centuries in Chinese traditional medicine. At the same time, experts feel that there is a need for further studies with this herb with a view to explore and establish more therapeutic properties of this plant. Marlberry also possesses depurative, carminative and expectorant properties. In addition, the use of this herb helps to promote blood circulation. The leaves of this shrub are employed in the treatment of cancer as well as hepatoma. While the plant possesses depurative properties, its root is a diuretic and antidote.
You can grow Japanese ardisia both indoors as well as outdoors. When grown outdoors, this species is usually planted in the form of a groundcover in foundation plantings or shade gardens. At the same time, Japanese ardisia is a wonderful container plant for growing indoors. All plants belonging to the genus Ardisia are easy to grow. These are excellent plants for growing in shaded areas or places receiving morning sun. Ideally, you should plant marlberry in moist, rich and acidic soils having excellent drainage. In case the temperatures in your location drops below 20�F, plant marlberry in a protected place. Usually, these plants are not bothered by diseases or pests, so you need not be too concerned about them. Marlberry also grows well when planted in places having conditions similar to those in woodland. Many Ardisia cultivars have actually been created for their ornamental worth. Some of the special features of these cultivars include fragrant flowers and attractive foliage. These cultivars have been developed from Ardisia species that are not native to North America. It is best to harvest the seeds of ardisia in winter when they are mature. It is important to sow the seeds in a greenhouse soon after harvesting. If you are using stored seeds, you need to sow them at the earliest time possible in the year. When the seedlings have grown sufficiently large to be handled, prick them carefully and plant them in separate pots. Continue to grow the seedlings in any shaded location of the greenhouse for no less than their first winter of existence. When the young ardisia has achieved a height of 20 cm or grown taller, they can be planted in their permanent locations outdoors in the later part of spring or during the beginning of summer. Marlberry can also be propagated from semi-mature wood cuttings. The cuttings should be planted in summer and grown in shaded, cool and moist conditions till they establish a good root system.
While marlberry plants are usually safe for therapeutic use, excessive doses of this plant may prove to be deadly for the health of the kidneys.