Herb: Bai Zhi


Latin name: Angelica dahurica


Synonyms: Callisace dahurica


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Bai Zhi:

Bai Zhi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine where it is used as a sweat-inducing herb to counter harmful external influences. Bai Zhi is contraindicated for pregnant women. The root is analgesic, anodyne, antibacterial, antidote, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, poultice and stimulant. It is used in the treatment of frontal headache, tothache, rhinitis, boils, carbuncles and skin diseases. It appears to be of value in treating the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia. Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory centre, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Biennial/Perennial


Height:
180 cm
(6 feet)

Flovering:
July to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Damp habitats in mountains, C. Japan. Thickets.

Edible parts of Bai Zhi:

Leaves - cooked.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.

Cultivation of Bai Zhi:

Damp habitats in mountains, C. Japan. Thickets.

Known hazards of Angelica dahurica:

All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.