The root of balloon flower is considered to have the following health properties; astringent, anti-inflammatory, digestive, expectorant, antitussive, analgesic, antibacterial and slightly sedative.
The use of balloon flower in herbal medicine is primarily associated with lung and throat related ailments and the herb is often combined with Chinese licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) in that regard.
The root of the plant is used to treat cough, excessive mucus formation in the throat, sore throat, the common cold, flu, bronchitis, abscesses of the mouth and throat, dysentery and pains in the intestinal region.
The constituent platycodigenin found in the herb can dilate the bronchial vessels and both thin and eliminate phlegm. (1)
In folk medicine, extracts of the roots have been used as an anti-cancer treatment and a Korean study found that the saponins in the herb slowed down the growth of cultured human tumor cells. (2)
The saponins can also inhibit gastric secretion and have ulcer-protective and ulcer-healing properties.