Bai Dou Kou (Fructus Amomi Rotundus)

What Is Bai Dou Kou

Bai Dou Kou commonly known as Fructus Amomi Rotundus is the ripe fruit of Amomum kravanh or A. compactum, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Zingiberaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Mingyi Bie Lu> around 420-589 AD.

Previously, Amomum kravanh and A. compactum belonged to the genus Amomum. They are now grouped into the genus Wurfbainia.

Amomum kravanh is also known as Wurfbainia vera and is a shallow-rooted plant. They like shade and moist environments. They grow well in sandy loam soils with fertile, airy, well-drained soils. They are found in Cambodia, China, Sumatra, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Amomum kravanh

Amomum compactum is also known as Wurfbainia compacta. They often grow in forests with good drainage and fertilizer retention. They are native to Indonesia and have been introduced to Hainan, China, India, and Malaysia.

In autumn, people gather the ripe fruits of Amomum kravanh or A. compactum, remove impurities, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Bai Dou Kou contains α-pinene, β-pinene, α-thujene, camphene, β-myrcene, α-phellandrene, α-terpinene, p-cymene, 1,8-cineole, γ-terpinene, α-terpinolene, fenchone, linalool, camphor, 4-terpineol, α-terpineol, 2-carene, thymol, α-copaene, β-elemene, β-phellandrene, caryphyllene, α-humulene, eremophilene, β-bisabolene, cadinene, α-cedrol, starch, pigments, and saponins.

Generally, white and plump Bai Dou Kou with a strong aroma are preferred.

According to <Kaibao Bencao>, the medicinal property of Bai Dou Kou is relatively warm, with a pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung, spleen, and stomach meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to resolve dampness and promote the circulation of qi, warm middle energizer and arrest vomiting, whet the appetite and promote digestion, and treat abdominal distension, abdominal pain, vomiting, belching, loss of appetite, dyspepsia, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, gastric ulcer, asthma, chest tightness, anorexia, and gastrointestinal dysfunction after abdominal surgery.

There are about 200 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Ding Kou Li Zhong Wan, Shu Gan Jian Wei Wan, and Liu Wei Mu Xiang San.

Benefits

  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting croton oil-induced ear swelling and egg white-induced feet swelling in mice.
  • Improving superoxide dismutase activity, reducing malondialdehyde content, and inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
  • Promoting gastric juice secretion, increasing gastrointestinal motility, inhibiting abnormal fermentation in the intestine, and removing gastrointestinal gas.
  • Resolving dampness and treating abdominal distention and pain, and loss of appetite caused by turbid damp retention in the middle energizer.
  • Promoting the circulation of qi, treating deficient flatulence in the chest and abdomen, poor appetite, and acratia caused by damp obstruction leading to qi stagnation.
  • Whetting the appetite, treating distending pain in chest and abdomen, dyspepsia caused by stagnation of spleen and stomach qi.
  • Treating chest tightness with not easy hunger caused by damp-warm diseases in the early stage.
  • Warming stomach, treating vomiting caused by damp obstruction leading to qi stagnation.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Shigella, Aeromonas hydrophila and some dermatophytes.
  • Studies have found that its ethanolic extract at a dose of 100-200 mg/kg significantly inhibited the total increase of IgE and Th2 cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-5 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. This confirms that it has an anti-asthmatic effect [1].
  • Studies have found that the LC50 value of Amomum compactum extract is 26.60 ppm. So that its extract has the potential as an anticancer (cytotoxic) [2].

Combinations

  • It can be used in combination with Guang Huo Xiang (Herba Pogostemonis), Pei Lan (Eupatorium Fortunei), and Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel) to treat abdominal distention and pain, loss of appetite caused by turbid damp retention in the middle energizer.
  • It can be used in combination with Huang Qi (Radix Astragali), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), and Ren Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng) to treat deficient flatulence in the chest and abdomen, poor appetite, and acratia caused by damp obstruction leading to qi stagnation due to spleen deficiency.
  • It can be used in combination with Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel), Zhi Shi (Fructus Aurantii Immaturus), and Mu Xiang (Radix Aucklandiae) to treat distending pain in the chest and abdomen, dyspepsia caused by stagnation of the spleen and stomach qi.
  • It can be used in combination with Yi Yi Ren (Semen Coicis) and Ku Xing Ren (Bitter Apricot Seed) to treat chest tightness with not easy hunger caused by damp-warm diseases in the early stage.
  • It can be used in combination with Guang Huo Xiang (Herba Pogostemonis) and Ban Xia (Pinellia Rhizome) to treat vomiting caused by damp obstruction leading to qi stagnation due to stomach cold.

Side Effects

At present, there is no literature report that Bai Dou Kou 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 Bai Dou Kou should be controlled at 3-6g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, or powders.
  • It is recommended to crush Bai Dou Kou before using it.
  • When making prescriptions containing it, other medicines should be boiled first, and when the other medicines are almost ready, add Bai Dou Kou and decoct them slightly.
  • People who are allergic to Bai Dou Kou should not take it.
  • Patients with the syndrome of yin deficiency and blood dryness should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.