Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae)

What Is Huang Qin

Huang Qin commonly known as Radix Scutellariae is the root of Scutellaria baicalensis, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Lamiaceae. 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).

Scutellaria baicalensis is commonly known as Baikal skullcap or Chinese skullcap and is a flowering plant. This kind of plant often grows on grassy slopes or forest edges facing the sun at an altitude of 60-1,300 meters. They are distributed in China, Mongolia, Russia, North Korea, and Japan.

In spring and autumn, people gather the roots of Scutellaria baicalensis, remove the sand and their fibrous roots, dry them until semi-dry, remove their coarse skins, steam them thoroughly, cut them into slices, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Scutellaria baicalensis

Huang Qin contains baicalein, wogonin, baicalin, wogonoside, dihydroflavonoids, dihydroflavonols, flavanones, chalcones, diterpenoids, polysaccharides, amino acids, starches, volatile oils, and a variety of trace elements.

Generally, yellow-brown or tan and fragile Huang Qin with a yellow-brown or yellow-green cross-section and radial texture is preferred.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Huang Qin is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung, spleen, stomach, gallbladder, large intestine, and small intestine meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to clear heat and dry dampness, reduce fire and remove toxins, stop bleeding and prevent abortion, treat infantile pneumonia, bronchitis, jaundice, hordeolum, non-gonococcal urethritis, herpes zoster, hypertension, viral hepatitis, Epidemic meningitis, and trachoma.

About 500 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions contain it, such as Niu Huang Jie Du Pian, Angong Niuhuang Wan, Fang Feng Tong Sheng Wan, and Shuang Huang Lian.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting carrageenan-induced rat foot swelling.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging DPPH free radicals, hydroxyl free radicals, and superoxide anion free radicals.
  • Inhibiting influenza A virus, respiratory syncytial disease, Coxsackie virus, and hepatitis B virus.
  • Promoting the proliferation of T and B lymphocytes and improving immunity.
  • Reducing liver damage induced by CCL4 or D-galactosamine and protecting the liver.
  • Inhibiting the proliferation of human lung adenocarcinoma LTEP-A2 cells, lung cancer A549 cells, and gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells.
  • Reducing the blood glucose concentration of diabetic rats induced by streptozotocin, treating diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and other diabetic complications in rats.
  • Treating chest tightness, nausea, vomiting, unsurfaced fever, and yellowish greasy tongue fur caused by damp-heat or summer-dampness.
  • Clearing damp-heat in middle energizer, treating fullness and oppression in chest and abdomen, nausea, and vomiting caused by the damp-heat obstructing the middle energizer.
  • Clearing damp-heat in the large intestine, treating diarrhea and jaundice caused by damp-heat.
  • Purging lung fire, treating cough, thick phlegm, and asthma caused by lung heat.
  • Treating high fever, polydipsia, flushing, dry lips, deep-colored urine, constipation, and yellowish tongue fur caused by febrile diseases or excessive heat in upper-jiao and middle-jiao.
  • Cooling blood and stopping bleeding, and treating hematemesis, nasal bleeding, hematochezia, and metrorrhagia caused by blood heat.
  • Reducing fire and removing toxins, treating skin ulcers and abscesses caused by heat toxins.
  • Treating fetal irritability caused by blood heat or deficiency of the kidney.
  • Baicalin can inhibit the expression of Caspase-3, promote the expression of heat shock protein 70 (HSPT0), and have a protective effect on focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats.
  • Its total flavonoids can reduce the output of myocardial enzymes and have a protective effect on myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats.
  • Studies have found that baicalein can improve the decline of learning and memory in mice caused by γ-ray whole brain radiation, and reduce the damage of hippocampal neurons.
  • Inhibiting dysentery bacillus, diphtheria bacillus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, typhoid bacillus, paratyphoid bacillus, proteus, Staphylococcus aureus, hemolytic streptococcus, pneumococcus, meningococcus, Vibrio cholerae.


Side Effects

At present, there is no data showing that it has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.

A small number of patients taking it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or other adverse reactions.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Huang Qin should be controlled between 3-10g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, powders, or ointments.
  • People who are allergic to Huang Qin should not take it.
  • It should not be taken at the same time with medicines containing Zhu Sha (Cinnabaris), Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan), or Li Lu (Veratrum nigrum).
  • People with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach or deficiency of lung qi should not take it.
  • People with poor appetite or loose stools should not take it.
  • People with blood deficiency should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should take it on the advice of their doctor.
  • The unprocessed Huang Qin is often used to clear heat, and stir-fried Huang Qin is often used to prevent abortion.
  • Stir-fried Huang Qin with wine is often used to clear heat in upper-jiao and carbonized Huang Qin is often used to stop bleeding.
  • Traditionally, the old Huang Qin can better clear lung heat, the young Huang Qin can better clear damp-heat in the large intestine.