Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (Di Yu)
What is Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (Di Yu)?
Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (di yu, 地榆), also known as Garden Burnet Root, Bloodwort and Great Burnet, refers to the dried root of Sanguisorba Officinalis. A perennial herb found throughout Europe and China, this plant can reach a height of up to three feet, with upright stems and club-shaped clusters of flowers that are typically dark red. These flowers usually bloom between June and October.
The roots of Sanguisorbae Officinalis are usually harvested in Spring and Autumn. After the removal of fibrous material, the roots are then cleaned, dried under the Sun and cut into slices for medicinal usage.
Well known for its incredible performance on stopping bleeding in herbal remedies, the famous pharmacologist in the Ming dynasty, Li Shizhen, also gave this herb high recognition for its amazing medicinal value. It is said that a pound of di yu is better than a pound of precious pearls.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis falls under the category of ‘Herbs that stop bleeding’. Such herbs tend to have hemostatic properties, which means that they can help to stop various types of hemorrhages and ecchymosis. Cool in nature, Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can help individuals who have 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 and sour, Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. The herb can also aid digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, such as diarrhoea or heavy sweating. In particular, the herb targets the stomach, the large intestine and the Liver.
Functions and Benefits of Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (Di Yu)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis has the following health benefits.
Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can cool blood to stop bleeding. This herb is indicated for different kinds of bleeding caused by Blood-Heat. In particular, this herb is very effective in treating bleeding of the lower energizer, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine bleeding and hematochezia. Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can also be combined with other herbs to treat bleeding symptoms. For example, to treat hematochezia caused by exuberant heat, Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can be combined with other Heat-clearing and blood–cooling hemostatics. As Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can clear Heat to relieve toxicity and heal wounds, this herb can also astringe the intestines to stop dysentery. In addition, this herb is also used to treat nosebleeds.
With the ability to purge Fire, relieve toxicity, astringe and heal wounds, Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis is a key herb in the treatment of empyrosis. As the herb can also eliminate swelling, it is also indicated for sores, abscess and carbuncles, both before and after the formation of pus. For example, this herb can help to relieve anal abscess. Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis powder can be mixed with sesame oil to be applied externally, or combined with the power of other Fire-purging and toxicity-relieving herbs for external usage.
To treat eczema and cutaneous ulceration, Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis is applied externally by washing the affected area with its concentrated decoction, or by putting a gauze infused with the herb’s decoction on the affected area. Alternatively, you can mix the powdered form of Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis with the powdered form of other wound-healing and tissue-regeneration-promoting herbs to cast on the affected area. The herb can also be applied topically to treat burns and insect bites.
Other than the above Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis medicinal uses, the herb can also be made into a mouthwash to treat gum inflammation and swollen tonsils.
Modern studies have also found that Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis contains anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an effective treatment for a variety of digestive disorders, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, enteritis, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
How to Use Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (Di Yu)
The recommended daily dosage of Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis is 10 – 15g, when boiled in water and drunk as a decoction. Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis is also applied directly to the skin to treat some skin problems. To stop bleeding, you can stir-bake the herb with charcoal to enhance its effectiveness. To heal wounds, you can use the herb in its unprocessed form.
Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis is often available as pills, decoctions and powder, which can be found in many Asian markets and herbal shops. It is also available as Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract in some stores. Dried, sliced Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis can be found at some Asian markets and herbal shops too. You can use the plant’s leaves and stems to make tea as well.
Cautions and Side Effects of Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (Di Yu)
Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis should not be used by individuals who are experiencing excess Cold, Blood Stasis, and the early stages of dysentery caused by Heat. Pregnant and breast-feeding ladies should avoid consuming this herb too. Also, topical application is not recommended for burns that cover large areas of the body. This is to prevent toxic hepatitis caused by tannin absorption.
As Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis may interact with ciprofloxacin and fluoroquinolones, do check your medications to ensure that they do not clash with Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis.
It is best to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis to your healthcare routine.
Here is a summary for Radix Sanguisorbae Officinalis (Di Yu):
- Herb name (Chinese): 地榆
- Herb name (Pin Yin): dì yú
- Herb name (English): Garden Burnet Root
- Herb name (Botanical): Radix Sanguisorbae
- Origin of species: Sanguisorba officinalis L.; Sanguisorba officinalis L.var. longifolia (Bert.) Yu et Li
- Part(s) of herb used: Root
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi
- Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter, sour, astringent; Slightly cold; Administrates the Liver and Large Intestine Meridians
- Actions: Relieves bleeding symptoms; Eases scalded or inflammatory conditions, and other skin irritations
Jang, E., Inn, K. S., Jang, Y. P., Lee, K. T., & Lee, J. H. (2018). Phytotherapeutic activities of Sanguisorba officinalis and its chemical constituents: A review. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 46(02), 299-318. [Accessed on 16th December 2022]
Ishimaru, K., Hirose, M., Takahashi, K., Koyama, K., & Shimomura, K. (1995). Sanguisorba officinalis L.(Great Burnet): In vitro culture and production of sanguiin, tannins, and other secondary metabolites. In Medicinal and Aromatic Plants VIII (pp. 427-441). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.[Accessed on 16th December 2022]
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