Bai Xian Pi (Cortex Dictamni)

Bai Xian Pi also known as Cortex Dictamni is the root bark of Dictamnus dasycarpus, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Rutaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

This plant often grows on sunny slopes, low shrubs, grasslands or forest edges, and has now been planted artificially. It can be found in China, North Korea, Mongolia, and the Russian Far East.

In the spring and autumn of each year, people peel off the root bark of Dictamnus dasycarpus, remove their impurities and rough skin, cut them into thick slices, dry them, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Bai Xian Pi contains dictamnine, limonin, evodine, gynesine, choline, β-sitosterol, fraxinellone, obakunone, obakunonic acid. Bai Xian Pi with a slightly slippery surface and layered cross-section is the best.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Bai Xian Pi is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the spleen, stomach and bladder meridians.

In Chinese medicine, Bai Xian Pi is often used to clear heat and dry dampness, dispel wind and remove toxin, treat eczema, rubella, mange, and other skin inflammations, or treat jaundice and rheumatism.

There are more than 50 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing Bai Xian Pi, such as Bai Dian Feng Jiao Nang, Xiao Yin Pian, and Yin Xie Ling Gao.

Health benefits of Bai Xian Pi

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-allergen, and anti-tumor.
  • Inhibiting the replication of the HIV-1 virus.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging DPPH radical and hydroxyl radical.
  • Shortening blood clotting time and contracting uterine smooth muscle.
  • Inhibiting atherosclerosis and having antipyretic and neuroprotective effects.
  • Killing worms, treating gastric and duodenal ulcers.
  • Promoting the proliferation of melanocytes and treating vitiligo.
  • Relieving skin itching and treating athlete’s foot, flat warts, urticaria, eczema, scabies.
  • Clearing heat and drying dampness, treating jaundice and brownish urine caused by damp-heat.
  • Dispelling wind, dredging meridians, and alleviating joint swelling and pain caused by wind-dampness.
  • Treating skin ulcers, pustulosis, and skin exudation of yellow fluid caused by damp-heat.
  • Inhibiting Trichophyton Violaceae, Trichophyton concentricum, Trichophyton schoenleini, Nocardia aureus, Staphylococcus aureus, Cladosporium cucumerinum, E. coli, Proteus, Bacillus subtilis.

Bai Xian Pi is used with other Chinese herbs

  • It with Cang Zhu (Black Atractylodes Rhizome), Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), and Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae) can alleviate skin ulcers and skin exudation of yellow fluid caused by damp-heat.
  • It with Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae), and Di Fu Zi (Fructus Kochiae) can treat rubella, tinea, and scabies.
  • It with Yin Chen (Capillary Wormwood), Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae), and Hu Zhang (Rhizoma Polygoni Cuspidati) can treat jaundice and brownish urine caused by damp-heat.
  • It with Cang Zhu (Black Atractylodes Rhizome), Huang Bai (Cortex Phellodendri), and Yi Yi Ren (Semen Coicis) can dredge meridians and alleviate joint swelling and pain.
  • The topical application of the decoction composed of Bai Xian Pi, Di Gu Pi (Cortex Lycii), Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) can treat chapped hands and feet.

Side effects of Bai Xian Pi

Bai Xian Pi has been used clinically for many years, with few side effects.

Studies have reported that it may cause liver damage. Excessive use of it may cause increased heart rate or blood pressure.

Precautions of Bai Xian Pi

  • The dosage of Ku Shen should be controlled at 5-10g.
  • It can be made into an oral decoction or be used to soak and wash the affected part.
  • People with hypertension or hepatic insufficiency should not take it.
  • People with deficiency-cold in spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Pregnant women and children should not take it.