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Rhizoma Bletillae (Bai Ji)

What is Rhizoma Bletillae (Bai Ji)?

Common Bletilla Pseudobulb (bai ji, 白及), also known as Rhizoma Bletillae, refers to the tuber of Bletilla striata (Thunb.) Reichb. f., which belongs to the Orchidaceae family. Known commonly as Chinese ground orchid or hyacinth orchid, this plant is native to much of China and the temperate regions of Japan, Korea and Myanmar. In North America and Europe, this plant is mostly cultivated for ornamental purposes due to its beauty.

Used for many years as a natural remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the rhizome of the plant is usually collected in summer and autumn, peeled, dried and sliced for medicinal usage.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Rhizoma Bletillae falls under the category of ‘Herbs that stop bleeding’. Such herbs tend to have hemostatic properties, meaning that they help to stop various types of haemorrhages and ecchymosis. Cold in nature, Rhizoma Bletillae 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 and sweet in taste, Rhizoma Bletillae can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, Rhizoma Bletillae can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Rhizoma Bletillae targets the stomach, the Liver and the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Rhizoma Bletillae (Bai Ji)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Rhizoma Bletillae has the following health benefits.

Rhizoma Bletillae can astringe and stop bleeding. As this herb mainly enters the Lung and stomach meridians, it is mostly used to treat syndromes of Lung and stomach bleeding. For bleeding caused by traumatic injuries, Rhizoma Bletillae can be used in powdered form singly or mixed with water for external application. 

To enhance its effects in stopping bleeding, Rhizoma Bletillae can be combined with Notoginseng (San Qi). Other bleeding symptoms that Rhizoma Bletillae may help to relieve include hemoptysis, hematemesis due to blood Heat and traumatic haemorrhage. 

Rhizoma Bletillae can nourish one’s Lungs and resolve Phlegm too, which is why it is indicated for symptoms of Lung damage.

Also, Rhizoma Bletillae can dissipate carbuncles and swelling. Due to its astringent properties and sticky texture, Rhizoma Bletillae can heal wounds and promote tissue regeneration. In fact, Rhizoma Bletillae is commonly used to treat external abscess by resolving swelling and promoting tissue regeneration. It is indicated for sores and abscesses, whether ulcerated or not. In addition, Rhizoma Bletillae can relieve scalds and chapped skin too.

How to Use Rhizoma Bletillae (Bai Ji)

The recommended daily dosage of Rhizoma Bletillae is 3 – 10g, when used as a decoction. Some healthcare practitioners may indicate a recommended dosage of up to 30g, depending on your condition. 

To stop bleeding in the stomach or intestines, some may recommend to consume 6g of the powdered root three times a day.

For external use, you may boil 15 – 20g of Rhizoma Bletillae in 2 cups of water for at least half hour, leave it to cool, and apply it to the skin. It is often mixed with sesame oil for external application. To relieve cracked and bleeding skin on hands and feet, Rhizoma Bletillae may be combined with gypsum, boiled and topically applied to the skin when cool.

Rhizoma Bletillae and its supplements may be found in herbal shops and Asian specialty stores.

Cautions and Side Effects of Rhizoma Bletillae (Bai Ji)

Rhizoma Bletillae should not be used by individuals experiencing coughing of blood, early-stage Lung abscess, Lung and stomach excess, toxic Heat or Wind invasion with hemoptysis.

Also, Rhizoma Bletillae should not be used together with Aconite (Wu Tou).


Here is a summary for Rhizoma Bletillae:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 白及
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): bái jí
  • Herb name (English): Common Bletilla Tuber
  • Herb name (Botanical): Rhizoma Bletillae
  • Origin of species: Bletilla striata (Thunb.) Reichb. F.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Tuber
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Guizhou, Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Henan, Zhejiang, Shaanxi
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter, sweet, astringent; Cold; Administrates the Lung, Stomach and Liver Meridians
  • Actions: Helps to stop bleeding in external wounds; Relieves heat and aid in wound healing process for scalded or dry skin or swollen sores.

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