What Is Bai Zhi (Angelica Dahurica or Dahurian Angelica)

Bai Zhi is also known as Angelica Dahurica or Dahurian Angelica, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Umbelliferae. It has a medicinal history of more than 2,400 years.

This plant generally grows in forests, thickets, valley grasslands or near streams 200-1,500 meters above sea level. It can be found in China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia.

The Bai Zhi mentioned in this article refers to the root of Angelica Dahurica. It is also called Radix Angelicae Dahuricae, which can be used as a medicine or kitchen additive.

In the summer and autumn of each year, people pick the root of Angelica Dahurica, wash them with water, remove their fibrous roots and impurities, dry them in the sun or dry them at low temperature, cut them into thick slices, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Bai Zhi contains byakangelicin, byakangelicol, oxypeucedanin, imperatorin, isoimperatorin, bergapten, umbeliferone, xanthotoxin, and angelicotoxin. The aromatic Bai Zhi with a powdery feeling is the best.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Bai Zhi is relatively warm, with a pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on pathological changes of lung, stomach and large intestine meridians. Its fragrance can relieve insomnia.

In Chinese medicine, Bai Zhi is often used to relieve stuffy nose and headache caused by wind-cold, reduce swelling and expel pus, and treat sinusitis, paranasal sinusitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, vitiligo, and psoriasis.

There are about 200 kinds of Chinese medicine formulas containing Bai Zhi, such as Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan, Bi Yan Pian, and Huang Lian Shang Qing Pian.

Health benefits of Bai Zhi

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-fungus, and anti-virus.
  • Alleviating the central nervous system suppression caused by snake venom.
  • Relaxing smooth muscles, relieving gastrointestinal spasms and uterine spasms.
  • A small dose of angelicotoxin can excite the central nervous system, raise blood pressure, and cause salivation and vomiting.
  • Large doses of Angelica toxin can cause tonic spasms and systemic paralysis.
  • Dispelling cold and relieving headache and body pain caused by wind-cold.
  • Relieving frontal pain, supra-orbital neuralgia, rheumatic arthralgia, joint pain, toothache caused by wind-cold or wind-heat.
  • Relieving stuffy nose and runny nose, treating rhinitis, sinusitis, paranasal sinusitis.
  • Eliminating dampness and treating abnormal leucorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease, yellowish urine.
  • Relieving swelling and itching, treating skin ulcers, shingles, and traumatic dermatitis.
  • Inhibiting E. coli, dysentery bacilli, typhoid bacilli, paratyphoid bacilli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholerae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis hominis, Proteobacteria.
  • The study confirmed that it contains photosensitive active substances, which can treat vitiligo and psoriasis.

Bai Zhi is used with other Chinese herbs

  • It with Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) and Qiang Huo (Notopterygium Root) can treat wind-cold, headache, and stuffy nose. In this recipe, Bai Zhi can Improve the efficacy of other Chinese herbal medicines.
  • It with Xiong Huang (Realgar) and Ru Xiang (Frankincense) can detoxify snake venom.
  • It with Gan Cao (Licorice Root) can treat mastitis, stomachache, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, and chronic gastritis.
  • It with Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae), Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong) and Flos Magnoliae (Xin Yi Hua) can treat sinusitis and paranasal sinusitis.
  • It with Huang Qin (Scutellaria Baicalensis Root), Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower) can treat swollen gums and mouth ulcers.
  • The decoction made from Bai Zhi with Zi Cao (Radix Lithospermi), Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), Hua Shi (Talcum) and Huang Bo (Amur Corktree Bark) can be used for treating hemorrhoids in fumigation and washing method.

In addition, mix the powder of Bai Zhi with water and apply it on the face, which can improve microcirculation, promote skin metabolism, eliminate pigment and delay skin aging.

Side effects of Bai Zhi

Bai Zhi can be consumed with few side effects. A small number of people taking it may cause contact dermatitis such as erythema, blisters, and pimples.

Excessive use of it may cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath, palpitation, elevated blood pressure, difficulty breathing and other symptoms.

Precaution of Bai Zhi

  • The dosage of Bai Zhi should be controlled between 3-10 g.
  • It contains volatile oil, so it is not suitable for long-term decocting.
  • It can be made into decoction or ground for external use.
  • People with blood or qi deficiency should not take it.
  • People with photosensitive dermatitis, lupus erythematosus, or diabetics should not take it.