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Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)

Close up of Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)

What is Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)?

Chinese Pulsatilla Root (bai tou weng, 白头翁), also known as Radix Pulsatillae Chinensis, refers to the root of Pulsatilla chinensis (Bge.) Regel, which belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. The plant is also known as Easter Flower, as it blooms during the Easter season (April to June), and is a popular ornamental flower for gardens.

In China, the roots of the plant are harvested in spring before the flowers bloom, or in autumn after the leaves turn yellow. Many consider this herb to be the ‘King herb’ for treating any kind of dysentery caused by Heat. The Chinese name of the herb, Bai Tou Weng, means ‘Hoary-headed Geezer’, which is derived from the head of the root being white and hairy.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chinese Pulsatilla Root falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity’. Such herbs are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as Internal Heat in TCM. Most herbs in this category have both antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Cold in nature, Chinese Pulsatilla Root can help individuals with too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a Yang Excess or a Yin Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Bitter in taste, Chinese Pulsatilla Root can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. In particular, Chinese Pulsatilla Root targets the stomach, the large intestines and the Liver.

Functions and Benefits of Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Chinese Pulsatilla Root has the following health benefits.

Chinese Pulsatilla Root can eliminate Damp-Heat and remove toxicity. Thus, this herb excels in eliminating Damp-Heat from stomach and intestines, clear Heat-toxicity in the blood system, and is effective in treating dysentery caused by Damp-Heat or dysentery with blood due to Heat-toxicity. For dysentery caused by Damp-Heat. Dysentery caused by Heat-toxicity, tenesmus and dysentery with bloody pus, Chinese Pulsatilla Root is often combined with other Heat-clearing, Dampness-drying and dysentery-checking herbs to enhance its effectiveness. Chinese Pulsatilla Root is also often used to treat nosebleeds.

By clearing Heat and removing toxicity, Chinese Pulsatilla Root can treat Heat-toxicity syndromes such as sores, abscesses and haemorrhoids with swelling pain. Also, Chinese Pulsatilla Root can kill worms and check malaria, and can thus be used to treat pruritus vulvae and leucorrhoea.

Close up of Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)
Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng) can help to ease inflammatory conditions like swollen sores.

How to Use Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)

The recommended daily dosage of Chinese Pulsatilla Root is 6 – 15g, when used as a decoction. However, in the treatment of amebic dysentery, you may use 15 – 30g of Chinese Pulsatilla Root. For topical usage, do consult a healthcare professional on the recommended dosage to be applied to the desired area.

Chinese Pulsatilla Root and its supplements, such as pills and powder, can be found in many herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)

Chinese Pulsatilla Root should not be used by individuals experiencing chronic dysentery or diarrhoea caused by Spleen Deficiency or Stomach Deficiency Cold. Women with vaginal discharge caused by Stomach Deficiency should avoid using this herb too. In addition, Chinese Pulsatilla Root should not be used by people with dysenteric disorders that exhibit pale blood.

Do note that you should only use the herb in its dried form instead of using it fresh.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Chinese Pulsatilla Root to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 白头翁
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): bái tóu wēng
  • Herb name (English): Chinese Pulsatilla Root
  • Herb name (Botanical): Radix Pulsatillae
  • Origin of species: Pulsatilla chinensis (Bge.) Regel
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jiangxi, Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter; Cold; Administrates the Stomach and Large Intestine Meridians
  • Actions: Helps relieve dysentery with blood in stools; Eases inflammatory conditions such as carbuncles and swollen sores

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