What Is Bi Cheng Qie
Bi Cheng Qie commonly known as Fructus Litseae is the ripe fruit of Litsea cubeba（Lour.）Pers., which is a deciduous shrub or tree belonging to the family Lauraceae. It is a relatively practical Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Lei Gong Pao Zhi Lun> (Master Lei’s Discourse on Processing of Chinese Materia Medica) in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 AD–589 AD).
There are about 391 species of Litsea, which are distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Australia, and America. Some of them are common medicinal plants, such as Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers.
Litsea cubeba also called Aromatic litsea or May Chang is an important economic plant. They often grow in sunny mountainous areas, thickets, sparse forests or forest roadsides and waterfronts at altitudes of 500-3,200 meters. They are found in China, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Nepal.
In the autumn, when the fruits of Litsea cubeba are ripe, people gather their fruits, remove impurities, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.
Bi Cheng Qie contains α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, citral, camphene, methyl heptenone, geraniol, limonene, p-cymene, ethyl acetate, linalool, citronellal, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, stearic acid, arachidic acid, rutin, tephrosin, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, flavonoids, amino acids, sugars, organic acids, lignans, and some trace elements.
Generally, the plump and oily Bi Cheng Qie with a strong fragrance is preferred.
According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal nature of Bi Cheng Qie is relatively warm, with a pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the spleen, stomach, kidney, and bladder meridians.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to warm middle energizer and dispel cold, promote qi circulation and relieve pain, and treat cold pain in the stomach and abdomen, vomiting, hiccup, periumbilical colic due to cold, turbid urine, difficult urination, fever, phlegm, asthma, cough, toothache, chronic bronchitis, cerebral thrombosis, and coronary artery disease.
- Anti-inflammation, inhibiting the production of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 induced by LPS .
- Anti-oxidation, scavenging DPPH free radicals .
- Increasing the pain threshold and inhibiting the pain caused by the hot plate experiment and acetic acid experiment in mice.
- Decreasing body temperature in rats induced by endotoxin, dry yeast, or 2,4-dinitrophenol.
- Relaxing smooth muscle of airways, relieving asthma, suppressing cough, and expelling phlegms.
- Warming middle energizer and dispelling cold, treating cold pain in stomach and abdomen, vomiting, and hiccup caused by stomach-cold.
- Dispelling cold and promoting qi circulation, treating periumbilical colic due to cold.
- Warming interior to expel cold, treating turbid urine caused by stagnation of cold-dampness, and difficult urination caused by deficiency-cold in lower jiao.
- Its aqueous extract significantly retarded the formation of thrombus in the test mice and had significant inhibitory effects on both adenosine diphosphate and collagen-induced platelet aggregation.
- Its ether extract and water extract have an anti-animal experimental gastric ulcer and experimental diarrhea in mice.
- Its essential oil has a certain inhibitory effect on Azotobacter chroococcum, Serratia marcescens, Priestia megaterium, Micrococcus luteus, Yeasts, Candida glabrata, and Candida tropicalis in vitro .
- Its alkaloids exhibited strong cytotoxicity in vitro against BGC-823 gastric cancer cells, HepG2 liver cancer cells, MCF-7 breast cancer cells, SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells, SK-MEL-2 skin cancer cells, and SK-OV-3 ovarian cancer cells .
- Its extract inhibited RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation by suppressing Akt and MAPK pathways in mouse bone marrow macrophages .
- The study found that it could ameliorate memory and learning ability in amyloid β-induced Alzheimer’s disease mice .
- It can be used in combination with Gao Liang Jiang (Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum), Ding Xiang (Flos Caryophylli), Hou Po (Magnolia Bark), etc. to treat cold pain in the stomach and abdomen, vomiting, and hiccup caused by stomach-cold.
- It can be used in combination with Wu Zhu Yu (Evodiae Fructus), Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi), and Mu Xiang (Radix Aucklandiae), etc. to treat periumbilical colic due to cold.
- It can be used in combination with Bi Xie (Rhizoma Dioscoreae Hypoglaucae), Fu Ling (Poria), Wu Yao (Radix Linderae), etc. to treat turbid urine caused by stagnation of cold-dampness, and difficult urination caused by deficiency-cold in the lower jiao.
- It can be used in combination with Chuan Lian Zi (Fructus Meliae Toosendan), Yan Hu Suo (Rhizoma Corydalis), Da Huang (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei), Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis), Wu Zhu Yu (Evodiae Fructus), Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi), etc. to treat epigastric pain caused by stagnation of qi and blood stasis.
- It can be used in combination with Zhi Zhu Xiang (Valerianae Jatamansi Rhizoma et Radix), Jiang Ban Xia (Ginger-processed Rhizoma Pinelliae), Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Gan Jiang (Dried Ginger), Pu Gong Ying (Dandelion), Zhi Qiao (Fructus Aurantii), Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis), Bing Lang (Semen Arecae), and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) to treat superficial gastritis and erosive chronic gastritis.
- At present, there is no literature report that Bi Cheng Qie has toxic effects, and no data is showing that taking it at the prescribed dose can cause serious adverse reactions.
Precautions and Warnings
- The dosage of Bi Cheng Qie should be controlled between 1-3g.
- It can be made into decoctions, pills, or granules.
- People who are allergic to Bi Cheng Qie should not take it.
- Patients with hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency should not take it.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under medical supervision.
- Children, the elderly, and the infirm should take it under medical supervision.