Deciduous tree growing to 39 ft (12 m). Has compound leaves with 7 lance-shaped leaflets, clusters of green flowers, and round berries.
Habitat & Cultivation
Huang bai is native to China, Japan, and Korea, and is cultivated in northeastern China. The bark of 10-year-old trees is collected in spring.
Huang bai contains isoquinoline alkaloids (including berberine), sesquiterpene lactones, and plant sterols. Due to its alkaloid content, huang bai is antimicrobial and antibiotic.
History & Folklore
Listed in the Divine Husbandman’s Classic (Shen’nong Bencaojing), of the 1st century CE, huang bai was regarded as an herb to be used with care.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Strongly bitter, huang bai is used within Chinese herbal medicine to “drain damp heat.” It is prescribed for conditions such as acute diarrhea, jaundice, vaginal infection (including trichomonas), and certain skin conditions. It is also given for urinary system disorders such as frequent urination, pain, and infection.
Clinical trials in China indicate that the bark is useful in the treatment of meningitis and conjunctivitis.
Take huang bai only under professional supervision. Do not take huang bai during pregnancy.