What Is Huang Bai (Huang Bo or Cortex Phellodendri)

Huang Bai is also known as Huang Bo or Cortex Phellodendri and is the bark of Phellodendron. It first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Phellodendron is a deciduous tree of the family Rutaceae. There are four species of this genus, which are native to East Asia. The Huang Bai referred to herein is the bark of Phellodendron chinense or Phellodendron amurense.

Phellodendron chinense and Phellodendron amurense are of great economic value. Phellodendron chinense often grows in forests above 900 meters above sea level. It is mainly distributed in Sichuan, Hubei, Guizhi, Yunnan, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang in China.

Phellodendron amurense is distributed in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. It can be made into cork and plywood. Its fruit can be used as an insect repellent and dye, and its seeds can be made into soap and lubricating oil.

After the Qingming Festival, people peel off the bark of Phellodendron chinense or Phellodendron amurense, remove the rough skin inside, dry them in the sun, flatten them, cut them into slices, use them directly, or stir-fry them with saline water or carbonize them, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Huang Bai contains berberine, phellodendrine, magnoflorine, jatrorrhizine, palmatine, obaculactone, obakunone, 7-dehydrostigmasterol, β-sitosterol, and campesterol.

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

In Chinese medicine, Huang Bai is often used to clear heat and dry dampness, reduce fire and remove toxin, treat acute bacillary dysentery, chronic bacillary dysentery, chronic colitis, prostatitis, bronchitis, impetigo, herpes zoster, pharyngitis, otitis media, and epidemic encephalomyelitis.

There are about 200 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing Huang Bai, such as Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan, Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan, and Da Bu Yin Wan.

Health benefits of Huang Bai

  • Inhibiting skin fungi, leptospira, and hepatitis B virus.
  • Lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, and promoting antibody production.
  • Inhibiting the central nervous system and having sedative and antitussive effects.
  • Relaxing muscles and inhibiting gastric ulcers induced by ethanol or aspirin.
  • Clearing damp-heat in lower energizer, treating abnormal leucorrhea, frequent urination, urgent urination, turbid urine, short urine, and urinary pain caused by the downward flow of damp-heat.
  • Clearing damp-heat in the large intestine, treating jaundice and diarrhea caused by damp-heat.
  • Treating beriberi, muscle weakness, muscle atroingphy, and flaccid paralysis caused by damp-heat.
  • Nourishing yin and clearing heat, treating hot flashes, night sweats, and spermatorrhea caused by the flaming of fire from yin deficiency.
  • Purging toxic heat and treating eczema, skin ulcers, and abscesses.
  • Inhibiting dysentery bacilli, typhoid bacilli, tuberculosis bacilli, Staphylococcus aureus, hemolytic streptococcus, Vibrio cholerae, and Bacillus anthracis.
  • It contains jatrorrhizine, which can positive muscle strength and anti-arrhythmia.

Huang Bai is used with other Chinese herbs

Side effects of Huang Bai

Huang Bai has been used clinically for many years, with few side effects. Excessive use of it may cause loss of appetite or diarrhea.

A small number of people taking it may cause skin allergies.

Precautions of Huang Bai

  • The dosage of Huang Bai should be controlled between 3-12g.
  • It can be made into decoction or ground into powder for external use.
  • People with poor appetite or loose stools should not take it.
  • People with deficiency-cold in spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Pregnant and lactating women should not take it.

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