Bai Lian commonly known as Ampelopsis Radix is the tuberous root of Ampelopsis japonica, which is a deciduous climbing vine belonging to the family Vitaceae. It first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).
This plant grows on hillsides, shrubs, or grasslands at an altitude of 100-900 meters. It can be found in China, Korea, and Japan.
In the spring and autumn of each year, people gather the tuberous roots of Ampelopsis japonica, remove their impurities and fibrous roots, wash them with water, cut them diagonally into slices, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs.
Bai Lian contains quercetin, α-spinasterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, chrysophanol, emodin, emodin methyl ether, paeonol, α-tocopherol, gallic acid, palmitic acid, tartaric acid, protocatechuic acid, gentisic acid, oleanolic acid, lupeol, resveratrol, glycosides, and lignans. Generally, Bai Lian with a pink-white cross-section is the best.
According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Bai Lian is slightly cold, with a bitter and pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart and stomach meridians.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to clear heat and remove toxin, expel carbuncle and dissipate nodulation, promote tissue regeneration, treat bacterial dysentery, scrofula, subcutaneous nodule, hematemesis, hemoptysis, acne, hemorrhoids, burns, chloasma, recurrent oral ulcers, age spots, chapped hands and feet, sprains, and purulent skin infection.
There are about 50 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Jing Wan Hong Ruan Gao, Nei Xiao Luo Li Pian, and Shu Yu Wan.
Health benefits of Bai Lian
- Scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
- Enhancing the proliferation ability of splenic lymphocytes and the phagocytic ability of macrophages, and improving immunity.
- Inducing the apoptosis of leukemia HL-60 cells and HepG2 cells, and inhibiting the proliferation of SP20 myeloma cells.
- Removing heat toxins, treating sores, and carbuncles caused by heat toxins accumulation.
- Alleviating swelling and dissipating nodulation, treating scrofula and subcutaneous nodules caused by the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
- Promoting tissue regeneration and treating burns and chapped hands and feet.
- Cooling blood, treating hemoptysis and hematemesis caused by blood heat.
- Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella flexneri, and a variety of skin fungi.
- The topical application of its powder can relieve sprains.
Bai Lian is used with other Chinese herbs
- It with Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae), Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae), and Pu Gong Ying (Dandelion) can alleviate swelling and pain caused by carbuncles in the early stage.
- It with Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), Tian Nan Xing (Rhizoma Arisaematis), and Zao Jiao Ci (Spina Gleditsiae) can promote pus discharge from sores.
- It with Xuan Shen (Radix Scrophulariae), Chi Shao (Radix Paeoniae Rubra), and Da Huang (Rhubarb Root) can treat scrofula and subcutaneous nodules caused by the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
- It with Bai Ji (Bletilla Rhizome), Da Huang (Rhubarb Root), and Bing Pian (Borneol) can treat chapped hands and feet.
- It with Zi Cao (Radix Lithospermi), Tu Fu Ling (Rhizoma Smilacis Glabrae), Huang Jing (Rhizoma Polygonati), and Xu Chang Qing (Radix Cynanchi Paniculati) can treat venous ulcer of lower limbs.
Side effects of Bai Lian
Bai Lian has been used clinically for many years, with few side effects.
Precautions of Bai Lian
- The dosage of Bai Lian should be controlled between 4.5-9g.
- It can be made into decoction, lotions, or ground for external use.
- It should not be used with Chuan Wu (Radix Aconiti), Cao Wu (Radix Aconiti Agrestis), or Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata).
- People with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
- Pregnant women and children should not take it.