Dictamnus dasycarpus known in China as Bai Xian Pi is known by a number of different names such as Gas Plant, Fraxinella, Dittany and Burning Bush
The plant grows about 40 cm to 100 cmin height and its flowers form a loose pyramidal spike which can vary in colour from the palest purple to white. The flowers are five-petalled with long projecting stamens. The leaves resemble those of an ash tree.
In the summer months, the whole plant is covered with a kind of flammable substance, which is gluey to the touch, and has a very fragrant, lemony aroma; but if it takes fire, it goes off with a flash all over the plant. The name “burning bush” derives from the volatile oils produced by the plant, which can catch fire readily in hot weather, leading to comparisons with the burning bush of the Bible, including the suggestion that this is the plant involved there. The daughter of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is said to have ignited the air once, at the end of a particularly hot, windless summer day, above Dictamnus plants, using a simple matchstick. The volatile oils have a reputed component of isoprene.
Traditional Uses for Bai Xian Pi :-
Chinese practitioners use the plant for treatment for acne and arthritis as well as cardiac arrhythmia.The herb is a useful antifungal agent.
The leaves have a bitter and very unpalatable taste and inspite the occasionally strong lemon-like aroma, the plant is quite acrid when eaten. All parts of the plant may cause mild stomach upset if eaten, and contact with the foliage may cause photo dernmatitis. The plant contains many chmeical constituents which herbalists consider to be beneficial including alkaloids, limonoid triterpenoids, flavonoids, sesquiterpenoids, coumarins, and phenylpropane.
As with most herbal material, if in doubt about its use then please consult with a professional practitioner first. This herb is not recommended for use during pregnancy.