Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Remove impurities, wash with water, slice and dry.
Dosage: 3 - 10g
Main actions according to TCM*: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind. Disperses Wind and Cold from the Yang Brightness channels. Relieves Wind-Damp Cold painful obstruction. Dries Dampness and pus and reduces swelling. Opens the nasal passages.
Contraindications*: Should not be used by those with Yin or Blood Deficiency
Source date: 1742 AD
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Formula key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Disperses swelling. Dispels Wind, Dampness and Cold. Removes Stagnation and relieves pain.
Bai Zhi is a king ingredient in Hai Tong Pi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Hai Tong Pi Tang, Bai Zhi unblocks the Channels, invigorates the collaterals, dispel Dampness, and relieves pain.
Erythrinae bark, Garden Balsam, Clematis root, Angelica root, Saposhnikovia root and Sichuan pepper shares similar functions.
Source date: 846 AD
Number of ingredients: 15 herbs
Formula key actions: Releases the Exterior. Warms the Interior. Smoothes the flow of Qi. Transforms Phlegm. Invigorates the Blood. Reduces Stagnation.
Bai Zhi is a king ingredient in Wu Ji San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
The four key herbs in the formula work together to addresses Cold Evil in both the Exterior and Interior.
Source date: 1107
Number of ingredients: 9 herbs
Formula key actions: Disperses Wind. Removes pain .
Bai Zhi is a king ingredient in Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San, Bai Zhi alleviates headaches along the Yang Brightness Channel.
Notopterygium root also alleviates headaches but along the Greater Yang Channel around occipital.
Szechuan lovage root is along the Lesser Yang and Terminal Yin Channels around temporal and vertex.
All these three are King herbs of the formula, and they treat headache in
any part of the head.
If the pain is localized, the dosage of the corresponding herb can be increased accordingly.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bai Zhi belongs to the 'Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior' category. Herbs that release the Exterior aim to to treat the early stages of diseases that affect the upper respiratory tract, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the throat or the skin. TCM believes that External diseases such as colds or allergies can only invade the body if the External environment overwhelms our Wei Qi (the TCM version of the immune system). In order to counteract this invasion Warm/Acrid herbs aim to induce sweating by increasing the flow of sweat to our capillary pores. The belief is that this will expel the disease from the body and stop it from invading further.
As suggested by its category Bai Zhi is Warm in nature. This means that Bai Zhi tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Bai Zhi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Bai Zhi also tastes Pungent. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Pungent ingredients like Bai Zhi tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Bai Zhi is thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.
Angelica dahurica may have a potential clinical value for treating mild to moderate pains1
Angelica dahurica has anti-staphylococcal properties and may be used for the treatment of some infections.2
1. Yuan CS, Mehendale SR, Wang CZ, Aung HH, Jiang T, Guan X, Shoyama Y. (2004). Effects of Corydalis yanhusuo and Angelicae dahuricae on cold pressor-induced pain in humans: a controlled trial. J Clin Pharmacol. , 44(11):1323-7.
2. D Lechner, M Stavri, M Oluwatuyi, R Pereda-Miranda et al. (2004). The anti-staphylococcal activity of Angelica dahurica (Bai Zhi). Phytochemistry, 2004 - Elsevier
Bai Zhi is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Candied angelica or Angelica jam.