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This poor perennial, native to sandy hillsides in northern China at elevations between sea level and 5000', has been kicked out of most major plant families (Liliaceae, Asparagaceae, Agavaceae), and now resides all alone in Anemarrhenaceae. I admit to a weakness for monotypic genera. The fast offsetting, but tight 1' tall clumps are composed of narrow, green, lily-like foliage topped, starting in late summer, with 30" tall spikes of tiny...no, really tiny lavender flowers. Thank goodness, doctors have long prized anemarrhena for its medicinal uses as an anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and an aid to renal function. Even if you are renally functional, this really deserves a second look. Anemarrhena even contains natural steroids like sapogenin, and as best as I can determine, hasn't yet been banned by major league baseball. Chinese authorities even tout its potency for "stool half congealed", "frigidity", "mass-run gas", "drop and rise", "wet-dream night sweats", "nourishing bone-steaming hot flashes", "virtual bother sleepless", and yes, "knot of constipation". Well damn!
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