Rhododendron simsii is a rhododendron species native to East Asia, where it grows at altitudes of 500–2700 meters. It is a shrub that grows to 2 m in height, with leaves that are ovate, elliptic-ovate or obovate to oblanceolate, 1.5–5 by 0.5–3 cm in size. Flowers range from white to dark red. The species is common in Hong Kong. It is also distributed in Areas south of Changjiang River in China as well as in Vietnam and Thailand.
Rhododendron species have long been used in traditional medicine. Animal studies and in vitro research has identified possible anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective activities which may be due to the antioxidant effects of flavonoids or other phenolic compounds and saponins the plant contains. Xiong et al. have found that the root of the plant is able to reduce the activity of NF-κB in rats.
Some species of rhododendron are poisonous to grazing animals because of a toxin called grayanotoxin in their pollen and nectar. People have been known to become ill from eating honey made by bees feeding on rhododendron and azalea flowers. Xenophon described the odd behaviour of Greek soldiers after having consumed honey in a village surrounded by Rhododendron ponticum during the march of the Ten Thousand in 401 BC. Pompey's soldiers reportedly suffered lethal casualties following the consumption of honey made from Rhododendron deliberately left behind by Pontic forces in 67 BC during the Third Mithridatic War. Later, it was recognized that honey resulting from these plants has a slightly hallucinogenic and laxative effect. The suspect rhododendrons are Rhododendron ponticum and Rhododendron luteum (formerly Azalea pontica), both found in northern Asia Minor. A brief documented video of this occurring in the modern day involves a group of men in Eleven similar cases have been documented in Istanbul, Turkey during the 1980s. Rhododendron is extremely toxic to horses, with some animals dying within a few hours of ingesting the plant, although most horses tend to avoid it if they have access to good forage. The effects of R. ponticum was mentioned in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes as a proposed way to arrange a fake execution. It was also mentioned in the third episode of Season 2 of BBC's Sherlock, and has been speculated to have been a part of Sherlock's fake death scheme.
Benefits of the Rhododendron Herb
The rhododendron herb is from the Ericaceae plant family. The Latin name for the herb is rhododendron anthopogon. Other common names for the herb are rosebay and snow rose. The herb is widely cultivated in Inner Mongolia and in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces of China. Harvest time is during the summer when the herb is dried for use. Relief of bronchial problems is among the numerous uses for the herb.
Rhododendron herb is effective for the relief of chronic bronchitis and its symptoms of cough and phlegm. The main ingredient in the herb that promotes bronchial relief is the flavonol compound ferrerol. The herb has a soothing effect on the lungs and also relieves asthma. The leaves of the herb are boiled and the vapor is inhaled for the effective treatment of colds and coughs. The flowers of the herb also have a sweet taste and are used for making a tea to relieve sore throats and headaches.
Tea made with the flowers and leaves of the rhododendron herb is used extensively in Himalayan traditional medicine for the upkeep of digestive health, to stimulate appetite, and to relieve liver disorders. The herb is also a traditional remedy for blood disorders, allergies, and vomiting.
Rhododendron herb is also used in the homeopathic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which is a painful condition of the joints. The condition occurs when the cartilage and tissues surrounding bone joints become damaged and inflamed, creating soreness and swelling. The symptoms are further aggravated by cold and damp weather. The herb is also effective for the relief of painful symptoms associated with gout, arthritis, neuralgic pain in the eyes, headaches, fever, testicular inflammation and delirium.