Bai Zhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae)

What Is Bai Zhi

Bai Zhi commonly known as Radix Angelicae Dahuricae is the root of Angelica dahurica(Fisch, ex Hoffm.)Benth. et Hook. f. or Angelica dahurica(Fisch. ex Hoffm.) Hook.f.var.formosana(Boiss.)Shan et Yuan, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Umbelliferae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Angelica dahurica(Fisch, ex Hoffm.) Hook. f. likes a light and warm and humid environment. They often grow under forests, streams, shrubs, and valley grasslands at an altitude of 200-1,500 meters. It is mainly distributed in Northeast and North China, Russia, Mongolia, Japan, and South Korea.

Angelica dahurica(Fisch. ex Hoffm.) Hook.f.var.formosana(Boiss.)Shan et Yuan is a variant of Angelica dahurica(Fisch, ex Hoffm.) Hook.f.. They grow well in sunny, deep soil, loose, fertile, and well-drained sandy loam. They are distributed in Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, and Fujian.

Angelica dahurica

In summer and autumn, people gather the roots of Angelica dahurica, remove the sand and their fibrous roots, dry them in the sun or dry them at low temperature, cut them into slices, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Bai Zhi contains lauryl alcoho, tetradecyl alchohol, lauryl alcohol, 1-pentadecene, ocimene, terpinenes, byak-angelicin, neobyakangelicol, isogosferol, scopoletin, columbianetin, oxypeucedanin, phellopterin, ostruthin, isoimperatorin, oxypeucedanin hydrate, xanthotoxol, byak-angelicol, isopsoralen, furocoumarines, flavonoids, alkaloids, amino acids, lignans, sterols, polysaccharides, fatty acids, and some trace elements.

Generally, Bai Zhi with smooth surface, white or off-white cross-section, and a strong fragrance is preferred.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal nature of Bai Zhi is relatively warm, with a pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung, stomach, and large intestine meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to relieve exterior symptoms and dispel cold, dispel wind and relieve pain, relieve stuffy nose, eliminate dampness, reduce swelling and discharge pus, and treat headaches, migraines, toothaches, periodontitis, nasal congestion, runny nose, abnormal leukorrhea, skin ulcers, acute rhinitis, allergic rhinitis, chronic enteritis, ovarian cysts, herpes zoster, hemiplegia, hepatitis, bone spurs, hemorrhoids, dysentery, heatstroke, vitiligo, psoriasis, acne, chloasma, hydrarthrosis, peripheral facial nerve palsy, non-purulent costochondritis, superficial mycosis, and paralytic intestinal obstruction.

There are about 200 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Du Liang Wan, Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan, and Tian Ma Tou Tong Pian.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting croton oil-induced mouse ear swelling and carrageenan-induced rat foot swelling.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging hydroxyl free radicals and superoxide anions and inhibiting lipid hypertrophy.
  • Raising pain threshold and inhibiting migraine in rats induced by nitroglycerin.
  • Reducing the activity of tyrosinase and inhibiting melanin production.
  • Increasing glucose tolerance and insulin secretion in normal mice and diabetic mice.
  • Enhancing the function of the central serotoninergic nervous system, regulating the hippocampal BDNF/TrkB/p-CREB neurotrophic pathway, and antagonizing depression.
  • Relieving exterior symptoms and dispelling cold, and treating headache, body pain, nasal congestion, and runny nose caused by wind-cold.
  • Dispelling wind and treating yangming headache, supraorbital neuralgia, chronic paroxysmal headache, and toothache.
  • Treat joint pain and disadvantageous flexion and extension caused by wind-cold-dampness.
  • Relieving stuffy nose, treating nasosinusitis, thick snivel, and forehead pain.
  • Eliminating dampness, treating leukorrhagia caused by cold-damp in lower jiao, yellow leucorrhea caused by dampness-heat in the lower jiao.
  • Alleviating swelling and dissipating nodulation, treating redness, swelling and pain of sores, and difficult pus discharge.
  • Treating itching of the skin caused by wind-damp.
  • Its methanol extract cooperates with pentobarbital sodium to extend the sleep time of experimental mice.
  • Inhibiting the proliferation of breast cancer MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, and inducing apoptosis of colon cancer HT-29 cells.
  • Inhibiting Escherichia coli, Shigella, Typhoid, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae.


Side Effects

  • At present, there is no report showing that Bai Zhi has toxic effects.
  • Overdose may cause loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, convulsions, or paralysis.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Bai Zhi should be controlled between 3-9g.
  • It can be made into decoctions or mashed for external use.
  • People who are allergic to Bai Zhi should not take it.
  • It should not be taken with medications containing tolbutamide, diazepam, nifedipine, physostigmine, or Xuan Fu Hua (Flos Inulae).
  • People with internal heat due to yin-deficiency should not take it.
  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.