Bai Lian (Ampelopsis Radix)

What Is Bai Lian

Bai Lian commonly known as Ampelopsis Radix is the tuberous root of Ampelopsis japonica, which is a deciduous climbing vine belonging to the family Vitaceae. It first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

This plant grows on hillsides, shrubs, or grasslands at an altitude of 100-900 meters. It can be found in China, Korea, and Japan.

In the spring and autumn of each year, people gather the tuberous roots of Ampelopsis japonica, remove their impurities and fibrous roots, wash them with water, cut them diagonally into slices, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Ampelopsis Radix

Bai Lian contains gallic acid, digallic acid, paeonol, ethyl gallate, 6-O-digalloyl-1,2,3-tri-O-galloyl-β-D-glucopyranoside, 1,2,3,4,6-Penta-O-galloyl-β-D-glucopyranoside, chrysophanol, emodin, physxion, emodin-8-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin, epicatechin, catechin, daucosterol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, tigmasterol-β-D-glucoside, α-spinasterol, β-sitosterol linoleate, protocatechuic aldehyde, gentistic acid, palmitic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, octacosanoic acid, oumalic acid, schizandriside, resveratrol, triterpenoids, volatile oils, uridine, adenosine, α-tocopherol, α-eutrophyl, vanillin, aromadendrin, and momordin I.

Generally, reddish-brown and fragile Bai Lian with radioactive lines, light reddish-brown or white cross-section is preferred.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Bai Lian is slightly cold, with a bitter and pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart and stomach meridians.

Ampelopsis japonica

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to clear heat and remove toxin, expel carbuncle and dissipate nodulation, promote tissue regeneration, treat bacterial dysentery, scrofula, subcutaneous nodule, hematemesis, hemoptysis, acne, hemorrhoids, burns, chloasma, recurrent oral ulcers, age spots, chapped hands and feet, sprains, and purulent skin infection.

There are about 50 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Jing Wan Hong Ruan Gao, Nei Xiao Luo Li Pian, and Shu Yu Wan.


  • Scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
  • Enhancing the proliferation ability of splenic lymphocytes and the phagocytic ability of macrophages, and improving immunity.
  • Inducing the apoptosis of leukemia HL-60 cells and HepG2 cells, and inhibiting the proliferation of SP20 myeloma cells.
  • Removing heat toxins, treating sores, and carbuncles caused by heat toxins accumulation.
  • Alleviating swelling and dissipating nodulation, treating scrofula and subcutaneous nodules caused by the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
  • Promoting tissue regeneration and treating burns and chapped hands and feet.
  • Cooling blood, treating hemoptysis and hematemesis caused by blood heat.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella flexneri, and a variety of skin fungi.
  • The topical application of its powder can relieve sprains.


Side Effects

At present, there is no report in the literature that it has toxic effects.

Individual patients taking it may cause adverse reactions such as loss of appetite, fatigue, cold limbs, or diarrhea.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Bai Lian should be controlled between 4.5-9g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, lotions, or ground for external use.
  • It should not be used with Chuan Wu (Radix Aconiti), Cao Wu (Radix Aconiti Agrestis), or Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata).
  • People with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Patients with excessive heat syndrome should not take it.
  • Patients with ulcerated abscesses should not take it.
  • Pregnant women and children should not take it.