What Is Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis or Coptis Rhizome)

Huang Lian is also known as Rhizoma Coptidis or Coptis Rhizome and is a practical and famous traditional Chinese herbal medicine. It has a medicinal history of more than 2,000 years.

Coptis is a perennial herb of the Ranunculaceae family. There are 16 species of this genus, which are distributed in the northern temperate zone.

The Huang Lian referred to herein is the rhizome of Coptis chinensis, Coptis deltoidea or Coptis teeta.

These three kinds of plants often grow in cold and wet areas in the mountains at an altitude of 1500-2300 meters. Coptis chinensis is distributed in central and southwestern China, and there are wild and cultivated. Coptis deltoidea is distributed in Sichuan, China, and is mostly planted artificially. Coptis teeta is distributed in Yunnan and Tibet in China, Myanmar.

Every autumn, people gather rhizomes of Coptis chinensis, Coptis deltoidea or Coptis teeta, remove their fibrous roots and impurities, dry them, cut them into pieces, use them directly or process them with ginger juice, wine or Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae), and make them into Chinese hers.

Huang Lian contains a variety of alkaloids, such as berberine, coptisine, epiberberine, worenine, palmatine, columbamine, etc. In addition, it also contains ferulic acid, obacunone, and obakulactone. The solid Huang Lian with yellow cross-section is the best.

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

In Chinese medicine, Huang Lian is often used to clear heat and dry dampness, reduce fire and remove toxin, treat chronic cholecystitis, tuberculosis, lung abscess, respiratory tract infection, pertussis, arrhythmia, hypertension, diabetes, cervical erosion, atrophic rhinitis, acute conjunctivitis, trachoma, herpes simplex keratitis, suppurative otitis media, and burns.

There are more than 300 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing Huang Lian, such as Angong Niuhuang wan, Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan, and Zuo Jin Wan.

Health benefits of Huang Lian

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-pathogen, and anti-tumor.
  • Inhibiting tissue metabolism, lowering blood pressure and blood glucose.
  • Inhibiting platelet aggregation and preventing atherosclerosis and thrombosis.
  • Promoting bile secretion, inhibiting gastric secretion and relieving gastric ulcer.
  • Increasing the phagocytic activity of white blood cells and the reticuloendothelial system and improving non-specific immunity.
  • A small dose of berberine can excite the heart, enhance cardiac contractility, and increase coronary blood flow.
  • Large doses of berberine can inhibit the heart and weaken cardiac contractility.
  • A small dose of berberine can excite the animal cerebral cortex, but a large dose of berberine can inhibit the animal cerebral cortex.
  • Clearing damp-heat in middle energizer, treating abdominal distension, nausea, and vomiting caused by the damp-heat obstructing the middle.
  • Relieving vomiting and bloating caused by liver-fire attacking stomach or stomach heat.
  • Relieving abdominal pain, tenesmus, diarrhea caused by damp-heat in the large intestine.
  • Clearing heart fire and relieving delirium, irritability, and insomnia caused by high fever.
  • Clearing stomach fire and treating thirst, toothache, hyperglycemia, and urine sugar.
  • The topical application of its decoction can treat skin eczema, abscess, suppurative otitis media, red and swollen eyes.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pneumococcus, Vibrio cholerae, Bacillus anthracis, Dysentery bacillus, Pneumobacterium, Diphtheria bacillus, Bacillus subtilis, Pertussis bacillus, Yersinia pestis, Brucella, Tuberculosis bacilli.
  • The study found that berberine can slow the heart rate of toads, excite the isolated atria of rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats, and have anti-arrhythmic effects.

Huang Lian is used with other Chinese herbs

Side effects of Huang Lian

Huang Lian has been used clinically for many years, with almost no side effects. Overdose of it may cause damage to the spleen and stomach.

A small number of people taking it may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, chest tightness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or irritability. In severe cases, it may cause cold sweat, incontinence, bowel cramps, confusion, respiratory distress or shock.

Precautions of Huang Lian

  • The dosage of Huang Lian should be controlled at 2-5g.
  • It can be made into an oral decoction or be used to soak and wash the affected part.
  • People with deficiency-cold in spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • People with spleen deficiency or yin deficiency should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.
  • The wine-fried Huang Lian is recommended for clearing heat in the middle energizer and treating aphtha and redness and swelling of the eyes.
  • Huang Lian boiled with ginger juice is for clearing stomach heat and stop vomiting.
  • Huang Lian boiled with Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) is for relaxing the liver and stomach, treating vomiting caused by disharmony between the liver and stomach.