As all practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine know, Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) is used in Chinese medicine as a 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 another 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 degree of short-term relief it provides or the fact that this and similar herbs seem to have a cumulative, restorative effect that is sustained after use of the substance is halted.￼
Now, it appears that this herb, like many others, has a nourishing effect on 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 some not insignificant component of the function of moisturizing the digestive and respiratory tracts with Chinese medicinals is mediated by the microbiome￼.