COMMON NAME: Ophiopogon


LATIN NAME: Ophiopogon japonicus


HABITAT: Mai Dong grows on the slopes of the mountains and at the foot of the Himalayas, in the Philippines and Japan. In some regions of China can be found at the height of 2800 meters. The plant prefers slopes of mountains, hills, forests, grassy thickets, bamboo groves. This plant loves shady and moist places. Ophiopogon japonicus can grow in open ground, often as a border plant.

Mondo Grass or Japanese lily of the valley (lat. Ophiopogon japonicus) is a perennial tuberous-root plant, one of the species of the genus Ophiopogon. Belongs to the Liliaceae family. There are approximately 65 species in the genus. Many eastern countries use Mai Dong in their traditional medicine. 
Ophiopogon japonicus is a tuberous-root plant with a strongly shortened stem, fibrous roots, with tuberous thickenings. The leaves are narrowly linear, up to 35 cm long, collected in thick rosette. The plant has smooth, dark green leaves. Elongated thin stolons-shoots are formed during the process of growth. This shoots сan grow over large areas. Mondo Grass blooms from July to September. During the flowering period, there appear a short peduncle grows, on which 15-20 buds are formed. The length of the peduncle is usually shorter than the length of the leaves of the plant. The flowers are small, can be pink or purple in color. The fruits of Mai Dong are spherical berries, blue-black in color. Small seeds develop inside the fruit. The plant propagates by vegetative division of the rhizome, less often - by seeds.

The plant contains carbohydrates (arabinose, galactose, glucose), polysaccharides, sitosterol, ruscogenin, ophiopogonins (steroid saponins), terpene glycosides, isoflavonoids, vitamins B, C, A, D, trace elements (calcium, copper, zinc, iron, chromium, sodium, etc.).

ACTIONS: Mai Dong can provide cardio tonic, antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, nutritive, sedative effects on the body. 


  • Due to isoflavonoids in the composition of the plant, roots have an anti-inflammatory effect. This parts of this plant can be recommended for the treatment of chronic inflammatory processes of the skin, purulent skin inflammations and boils.
  • Ophiopogon japonicus has an antiarrhythmic effect; this herb is able to increase coronary blood flow, as well as the strength of contractions of the heart muscle and slow heart rate.
  • Mai Dong polysaccharides have a beneficial effect on the immune system. Japanese scientists have noted the antibacterial properties of Mondo Grass against pneumococci, significantly weaker on streptococci and pneumococci.
  • This Chinese herb possesses strong antioxidant effect, destroying damaging free radicals that cause such diseases as cancer, atherosclerosis, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Steroidal saponins isolated from Mai Dong roots can be used in the treatment of breast, liver and lung cancer. 
  • Ophiopogon japonicas due to its anti-diabetic actions can effectively reduce blood glucose levels and increase the insulin level.


  • There is not much published information on the side effects and contraindications of Mai Dong. No studies mention toxicity of the plant. 
  • In order to protect yourself from potential risks do not use it during pregnancy and breast-feeding period.
  • Do not use Ophiopogon japonicas in case of individual intolerance to the components of the plant. 

"Medicine for death" - this is the name of Ophiopogon japonicus in the ancient Chinese "Treatise on roots and herbs." The ancient Chinese believed that the plant is able to moisturize the lungs, has a beneficial effect on the stomach and nervous system.
Mai Dong has many synonyms and popular names. In some sources this species is found under the Latin name Convallaria japonica (in translation - Japanese lily of the valley, as the similarity of the flowers of lily of the valley and Mondo Grass is obvious). 
The Latin name of the genus ophiopogon comes from the Greek. ophis - “snake” and pogon - “beard.

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.