Huáng bǎi

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Huáng bǎi ( or , literally "yellow fir") or huáng bò () is one of the fifty fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine. Known also as Cortex Phellodendri, it is the bark of one of two species of Phellodendron tree: Phellodendron amurense or Phellodendron chinense.

Huáng bǎi
Alternate names:huáng bò, yuán bò
Tree bark of the Rutaceae plants Phellodendron chinense Schneid. or Phellodendron amurense
Medicinal activity
Taste bitter, cold
Tropism kidney, urinary bladder, large intestine
Efficacy clears and dries damp heat? (清热燥湿), flushes away fire and removes steam? (泻火除蒸), binds up poison and cures sores? (解毒疗疮)
Indications Moist heat (下焦湿热症状)
Internal use Pills or powder
External use As suitable
Counterindications Spleen weakness
Harvesting Tree bark collected March to May
Storage Dry and ventilated place
Processing Salt, alcohol, charcoal? methods
Chinese medicine chemical ingredient
A fully mature (150 yr) Phellodendron amurense tree. Huáng bǎi is typically harvested from trees 10 years old.
Phellodendron amurense cross-section. For a younger specimen see [1]


For Phellodendron amurense (, i.e. "highland Phellodendron") one of the major producing areas is Taoshan District of Heilongjiang province, though other regions of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Inner Mongolia may also be suitable.[1] These provinces are in the far northeast of China, near the Heilong Jiang river, known in Russian as the Аму́р (Amur River), and Phellodendron amurense is commonly known as the Amur cork tree.

Phellodendron chinense (, i.e. "lowland Phellodendron") producing areas include Sichuan, Hubei, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Guangxi.[2]


Bark is collected during Qingming (Pure Brightness), the fifth solar term (April 4–20). It is sun-dried and cut into slices. The bark may be used raw or fried with salt. Typical dosage is 3–10 grams.[3] A variety of methods of water and ethanol extraction may have differing activities (see below) and methods such as "semi-bionic extraction" have been investigated to improve yields.[4] Some pharmacological activities of the bark can be standardized by analyzing the level of berberine using a monoclonal antibody,[5] thin-layer chromatography,[6][7] HPLC,[8] potentiometry,[9] or acidic potassium permanganate chemiluminescence.[10] There are quantitative differences between the two species of Cortex Phellodendri (P. amurense and chinense) and it has been suggested that they should be used as separate resources in the clinic.[11] An analysis of 31 commercial samples in 1993 found that the total level of five alkaloids in samples of P. wilsonii and P. amurense var. sachalinense was 4.1% (mostly berberine), while the level in P. amurense and Ph. chinense was 1.5%.[12]

The levels of four harmful trace heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and thallium) in P. chinense for export are limited by the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China and the Green Trade Standard for Importing and Exporting Medicinal Plant and Preparation.[13]


The earliest known report of this medicine is in the Shen nong ben cao jing[3]

Traditional attributes[edit]

The bark is categorized in a traditional Chinese medicine counterpart of humorism, Wu Xing, as bitter and cold, affecting the kidney, urinary bladder and large intestine meridians. Is said "to clear heat and dry dampness", and "to reduce fire and release toxins".[3]

Biochemical analysis[edit]

Small molecules found in the bark include:


  1. ^ Suo, FM; Chen, SL; Zhang, Z; Xie, CX (2008). "Ecological evaluation of suitable area for production of Phellodendron amurense based on TCMGIS- I". Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi = Zhongguo zhongyao zazhi = China journal of Chinese materia medica. 33 (13): 1536–9. PMID 18837308.
  2. ^ 《中国药物志》 北京:科学出版社,1997,43(2) 99~103
  3. ^ a b c "Traditional Chinese Medicine basics".
  4. ^ Zhang, X; Zhang, Z; Xu, X; Wang, Y (1999). "Comparison of semi-bionic extraction and water extraction in extraction of chemical constituents from processed cortex Phellodendri". Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi = Zhongguo zhongyao zazhi = China journal of Chinese materia medica. 24 (10): 600–2, 638. PMID 12205956.
  5. ^ Kim, JS; Tanaka, H; Shoyama, Y (2004). "Immunoquantitative analysis for berberine and its related compounds using monoclonal antibodies in herbal medicines". The Analyst. 129 (1): 87–91. doi:10.1039/b311304c. PMID 14737589.
  6. ^ Xu, PS; Tan, GS; Li, XZ (2000). "A study of quality standards for fuyanke granule". Hunan yi ke da xue xue bao = Hunan yike daxue xuebao = Bulletin of Hunan Medical University. 25 (5): 502–4. PMID 12212134.
  7. ^ Zhou, H; Gu, Y (1995). "Determination of berberine in Phellodendron chinense Schneid and its processed products by TLC (thin layer chromatography) densitometry". Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi = Zhongguo zhongyao zazhi = China journal of Chinese materia medica. 20 (7): 405–7, 447. PMID 7576137.
  8. ^ Wang, YM; Zhao, LB; Lin, SL; Dong, SS; An, DK (1989). "Determination of berberine and palmatine in cortex phellodendron and Chinese patent medicines by HPLC". Yao xue xue bao = Acta pharmaceutica Sinica. 24 (4): 275–9. PMID 2816389.
  9. ^ Liu, WZ; Peng, WB; Yang, CH (1991). "Berberine-electrochemical detector for the determination of berberine-type alkaloids in various Chinese patent medicines by flow injection analysis". Yao xue xue bao = Acta pharmaceutica Sinica. 26 (4): 315–9. PMID 1957679.
  10. ^ Xu, X; Lin, Q; He, X; Fu, F; Chen, G (2010). "Determination of protoberberine alkaloids in medicinal plants based on acidic potassium permanganate chemiluminescence system". Luminescence : the journal of biological and chemical luminescence. 25 (5): 403–8. doi:10.1002/bio.1169. PMID 19743526.
  11. ^ Hu, YM; Su, GH; Sze, SC; Ye, W; Tong, Y (2010). "Quality assessment of Cortex Phellodendri by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry". Biomedical Chromatography. 24 (4): 438–53. doi:10.1002/bmc.1311. PMID 19711298.
  12. ^ Liu, YM; Sheu, SJ; Chiou, SH; Chang, HC; Chen, YP (1993). "A comparative study on commercial samples of phellodendri cortex". Planta Medica. 59 (6): 557–61. doi:10.1055/s-2006-959761. PMID 17230366.
  13. ^ Kou, XM; Xu, M; Gu, YZ (2007). "Determination of trace heavy metal elements in cortex Phellodendron chinense by ICP-MS after microwave-assisted digestion". Guang pu xue yu guang pu fen xi = Guang pu. 27 (6): 1197–200. PMID 17763791.
  14. ^ a b Li, CY; Lu, HJ; Lin, CH; Wu, TS (2006). "A rapid and simple determination of protoberberine alkaloids in cortex phellodendri by 1H NMR and its application for quality control of commercial traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions". Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis. 40 (1): 173–8. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2005.06.017. PMID 16061339.
  15. ^ a b c Su, X; Kong, L; Li, X; Chen, X; Guo, M; Zou, H (2005). "Screening and analysis of bioactive compounds with biofingerprinting chromatogram analysis of traditional Chinese medicines targeting DNA by microdialysis/HPLC". Journal of Chromatography A. 1076 (1–2): 118–26. doi:10.1016/j.chroma.2005.04.031. PMID 15974077.
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  18. ^ a b c Miyake, M; Inaba, N; Ayano, S; Ozaki, Y; Maeda, H; Ifuku, Y; Hasegawa, S (1992). "Limonoids in Phellodendron amurense (Kihada)". Yakugaku Zasshi. 112 (5): 343–7. PMID 1403667.
  19. ^ a b Zhou, HY; Wang, D; Cui, Z (2008). "Ferulates, amurenlactone A and amurenamide A from traditional Chinese medicine cortex Phellodendri Amurensis". Journal of Asian natural products research. 10 (5–6): 409–13. doi:10.1080/10286020801966534. PMID 18464078.
  20. ^ Kuo, PC; Hsu, MY; Damu, AG; Su, CR; Li, CY; Sun, HD; Wu, TS (2004). "Flavonoids and coumarins from Leaves of Phellodendron chinense". Planta Medica. 70 (2): 183–5. doi:10.1055/s-2004-815500. PMID 14994201.
  21. ^ a b Wu, TS; Hsu, MY; Kuo, PC; Sreenivasulu, B; Damu, AG; Su, CR; Li, CY; Chang, HC (2003). "Constituents from the leaves of Phellodendron amurense var. wilsonii and their bioactivity". Journal of Natural Products. 66 (9): 1207–11. doi:10.1021/np030034v. PMID 14510598.
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  23. ^ Lee, JH; Lee, DH; Yu, HE; Kim, JH; Lee, JS (2006). "Isolation and characterization of a novel glutathione S-transferase-activating peptide from the oriental medicinal plant Phellodendron amurense". Peptides. 27 (9): 2069–74. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2006.03.004. PMID 16624447.

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