Wei Ling Xian (Radix Clematidis)

What Is Wei Ling Xian

Wei Ling Xian commonly known as Radix Clematidis is the root and rhizome of Clematis chinensis, Clematis hexapstala, or Clematis manshurica, which is a perennial deciduous vine belonging to the family Ranunculaceae. It is a relatively practical Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Tang Ben Cao> in 659 AD.

There are about 300 species of clematis, which are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions, with a few in cold regions. Many of them are medicinal plants, and some of them are used to make pesticides.

Clematis chinensis likes a cool and humid environment. It often grows on mountain slopes, valley shrubs, ditch sides, or roadsides at an altitude of 140-1,500 meters. It is distributed in China, Japan, and Vietnam.

clematis chinensis

Clematis hexapstala is commonly known as Mongolian snowflakes. It often grows on sand dunes, dry hillsides, or hillside grasslands, and is more common in Northeast China and the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. It is distributed in China, Mongolia, Japan, South Korea, and eastern Siberia.

Clematis manshurica often grows on the edge of forests in valleys and bushes. It is distributed in China, Mongolia, North Korea, and the Russian Far East. This plant can be made into pesticides, and its seeds can be made into soap.

In the autumn of each year, people gather the roots and rhizomes of Clematis chinensis, Clematis hexapstala, or Clematis manshurica, remove their impurities, wash them with water, cut them into segments, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Wei Ling Xian contains protoanemonin, anemonin, palmitic acid, vanillic acid, isolariciresinol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, suberone, epifriedelanol, clionasterol, linoleic acid, daucosterol, oleanolic acid, hederagenin, rhamnose, ribose, arabinose, glucose, flavonoids, alkaloids, lignans, and volatile oils.

Generally, dark brown, tan, or brown-black Wei Ling Xian with fine vertical lines and yellowish in the wood parts is preferred.

According to <Kaibao Bencao>, the medicinal property of Wei Ling Xian is relatively warm, with a pungent and salty taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the bladder meridian.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Wei Ling Xian is often used to expel wind-dampness, activate meridians and relieve pain, treat osteoarthritis, rheumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cervical body hypertrophy, lumbar body hypertrophy, heel pain, cholelithiasis, viral hepatitis, acute mastitis, chronic bronchitis, pertussis, oesophagitis, acute tonsillitis, hiccups, urinary calculi, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, filariasis, pharyngolaryngitis, mumps, lymphatic tuberculosis, balanitis in children, hydrocele, phlebitis, hordeolum, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcer.

There are about 50 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing Wei Ling Xian, such as Zhong Feng Hui Chun Wan, Ren Shen Zai Zao Wan, and Tianhe Zhuifeng Gao.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting xylene-induced swelling of the mouse ear, and egg white-induced swelling of the mouse foot.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging hydroxyl free radicals and superoxide anions, inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
  • Raising the pain threshold and inhibiting the pain caused by the hot plate experiment and glacial acetic acid experiment in mice.
  • Inhibiting tyrosinase mRNA synthesis and melanin production by melanocytes.
  • Promoting bile secretion, reducing serum cholesterol concentration, and preventing gallstones.
  • Lowering serum uric acid, reducing urate crystal deposition and inflammatory cell infiltration in the renal tubules, and improving kidney damage in uric acid nephropathy
  • Inhibiting the phagocytosis of mouse monocyte macrophages and peritoneal macrophages, and reducing the body’s non-specific immunity.
  • Expelling wind-dampness, treating rheumatoid arthritis, numbness of the limbs, tendon spasms, and disadvantageous flexion and extension of joints.
  • Activating meridians and relieving toothache, headache, stomachache, and trauma pain.
  • Dispelling phlegm and reducing fluid retention, treating phlegm-retention syndrome, dysphagia, and a mass in the abdomen.
  • Its vinegar extractives can soften fish bones, relax the smooth muscle of the esophagus to enable the fish bones to come out easily in the throat.
  • Inhibiting the growth of sarcoma S180, ascites HepA, leukemia and ascites P388 tumors, and human tongue squamous cell carcinoma cells (Tca-8113).
  • Inhibiting typhoid bacillus, pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter enterica, Proteus, Bacillus suipestifer, alcaligenes, Shigella flexneri, and Bacterium paratyphosum A.


Side Effects

Wei Ling Xian is poisonous and its toxic components are protoanemonin and anemonin.

Overdose of it may cause mouth burning, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, dyspnea, mydriasis, or death.

External use of it may cause skin ulcers or allergic dermatitis.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Wei Ling Xian should be controlled at 6-9g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, or lotion for topical cleaning of the affected area.
  • People who are allergic to Wei Ling Xian should not take it.
  • It should not be used with medicines such as vitamin C, niacin tablets, glutamate tablets, and aconite.
  • People with a deficiency of qi and blood should not take it.
  • Pregnant women and children should not take it.