Herb: Yun Lian

Latin name: Coptis teeta

Synonyms: Coptis teetoides

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Medicinal use of Yun Lian:

The root is a pungent, very bitter, cooling herb that controls bacterial and viral infections, relaxes spasms, lowers fevers and stimulates the circulation. It is locally analgesic and anaesthetic and is used in Chinese medicine as a general panacea with alterative, ophthalmic and pectoral activity. The root contains several compounds that are effective in inhibiting various bacteria and they are a safe and effective treatment for many ailments, such as some forms of dysentery, that are caused by bacteria. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)

Habitat of the herb:

Evergreen broad-leaved forests at elevations of 1500 - 2300 metres in NW Yunnan.

Edible parts of Yun Lian:

Fruit. No more details are given but some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

Can be grown as a ground cover plant in the peat garden.

Propagation of Yun Lian:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in an ericaceous compost. Seal the pot in a polythene bag until germination takes place, which is usually within 1 - 6 months at 10C. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible. Four weeks cold stratification may be beneficial. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a shady part of the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in mid-autumn or in spring. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Evergreen broad-leaved forests at elevations of 1500 - 2300 metres in NW Yunnan.

Known hazards of Coptis teeta:

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been found for this species, it belongs to a family that contains many species that are mildly toxic and so it is wise to treat this plant with some caution.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.