Qin Pi (Cortex Fraxini or Ash Bark)

What Is Qin Pi

Qin Pi commonly known as Cortex Fraxini or Ash Bark is the bark of Fraxinus rhynchophylla, F. chinensis, F. szaboana, or F. stylosa, which is a deciduous tree belonging to the family Oleaceae. It first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

There are about 70 species of this genus, which are mainly distributed in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. They are an important source of biological wax. Their trunk can be made into furniture and agricultural tools.

Fraxinus rhynchophylla often grows on river banks, hillsides, or roadsides below 1,500 meters above sea level. It is distributed in Russia, Korea, and China and has not yet been artificially introduced and cultivated.

F. chinensis is also known as Chinese ash and often grows in mountains or woods at an altitude of 800-1,600 meters.

F. szaboana often grows in mountains at an altitude of 1,000 meters. It is distributed in the provinces of China’s Yangtze River Basin and Yellow River Basin and has not yet been artificially introduced and cultivated.

F. stylosa is a unique plant in China, which is distributed in Gansu, Sichuan, Henan, and Shaanxi of China. It often grows in hillsides or woods at an altitude of 1,300-3,200 meters.

Fraxinus rhynchophylla

In spring and autumn each year, people peel the bark of Fraxinus rhynchophylla, F. chinensis, F. szaboana, or F. stylosa, dry them in the sun, cut them into pieces, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Qin Pi contains esculin, esculetin, fraxin, fraxetin, stylosin, scopoletin, scopolin, isoscopoletin, isofraxidin, coumarin, floribin, umbelliferone, fraxinol, cichoriin, magnolioside, lignans, secoiridoids, phenethyl alcohol glycosides, flavonoids, phenolic acids, triterpenes, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, and volatile oils.

Generally, the grey-brown and strong Qin Pi with a fibrous cross-section is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Qin Pi is relatively cold, with a bitter and astringent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver, gallbladder, and large intestine meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to clear heat and dry dampness, induce astringency and relieve diarrhea, improve eyesight, treat enteritis, excessive leucorrhea, psoriasis, chronic conjunctivitis, chronic bronchitis, pertussis, bacillary dysentery, and senile prostatic hyperplasia.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting carrageenan, croton oil, glucan, or yeast-induced edema in mice.
  • Improving the activity of superoxide dismutase, reducing the content of malondialdehyde, and delaying aging.
  • Reducing liver damage induced by CCL4 and protecting the liver.
  • Promoting urination and uric acid excretion, and inhibiting the reabsorption of uric acid by the kidneys.
  • Inhibiting xanthine oxidase activity, reducing serum uric acid levels, and treating hyperuricemia.
  • Clearing heat and drying dampness, treating diarrhea and tenesmus caused by damp-heat.
  • Treating abnormal leucorrhea caused by the downward flow of damp-heat.
  • Purging the liver fire, treating redness and swelling of the eyes, nebula, and blurred vision caused by the stagnation of liver-fire or wind-heat evil accumulated in the liver channel.
  • Inhibiting the proliferation of gastric cancer cells SGC-790, human liver cancer cells BEL-7402, and human lung cancer cells A549, and inducing apoptosis of lung cancer cells H125, human liver cancer cells SMMC-7721, and liver cancer cells HepG2.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Shigella, Catacoccus, and Neisseria.


Side Effects

At present, there is no literature report that it has toxic effects, and no data have been found to show that taking Qin Pi at the prescribed dose will cause serious adverse reactions.

If you need to take it for a long time, please consult a professional doctor and formulate a reasonable medication plan.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Qin Pi should be controlled at 6-12g.
  • It can be made into an oral decoction or be used to soak and wash the affected parts.
  • People who are allergic to Qin Pi should not take it.
  • It should not be taken with medications containing vitamin B1.
  • People with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • People with poor appetite or loose stools should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take it.