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Table 3 Summary of top ten most frequently used Chinese medicinal substances (single herbs)

From: Chinese herbal medicines in the treatment of ulcerative colitis: a review

English name (Phonetic)

Latin Pharmaceutical Name



Quality Markersa

Frequency of usage

Chinese Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian)

Coptidis Rhizoma

Bitter; cold

Clears heat, dries dampness, drains fire, resolves toxin. Apply to damp-heat distention and fullness, vomiting and acid regurgitation, diarrhea, jaundice, dizziness with high fever, excess of heart fire, insomnia due to vexation, haematemesis and epistaxis due to blood heat, red eye, toothache, diabetes, abscess, sore and boil swelling, externally used to eczema, ear pus



Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu)

Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma

Bitter, sweet; warm

Fortifies the spleen, boosts qi, dries dampness, promotes urination, stops sweating, calms the fetus. Apply to deficiency-weakness of spleen, anorexia, and abdominal distension, and loose tools, dizziness induced by phlegm and retained fluids, edema, spontaneous perspiration, restless fetal movement

Atractylon, Atractylol


Liquorice Root (Gan Cao)

Glycyrrhizae Radix et Rhizoma

Sweet; neutral

Supplements the spleen, boosts qi, clears heat, resolves toxin, dispels phlegm, relieves cough, relaxes tension, relieves pain, harmonizes the nature of other medicinals

Liquiritin, Glycyrrhizic Acid


White Peony Root (Bai Shao)

Paeoniae Radix Alba

Bitter, sour, slightly cold

Nourishes the blood, regulates menstruation, calms the liver, relieve pain, astringes yin, stops sweating. Apply to thoracic, abdominal and costal pains, abdominal pain due to dysentery, spontaneous perspiration and night sweat, fever with yin deficiency, irregular menstrual periods, metrorrhagia and metrostaxis, leukorrhea



Chinese Pulsatilla Root (Bai Tou Weng)

Pulsatillae Radix

Bitter, cold

Clears hear, resolves toxin, cools the blood, relieves dysentery, eliminating dampness and destroying parasites. Apply to heat dysentery, epistaxis, hemorrhoid hemorrhage, leucorrhea, pudendum itch, ulcer and carbuncle, struma

Anemoside B4


Common Bletilla Tuber (Bai Ji)

Bletillae Rhizoma

Bitter, sweet, astringent; slightly cold

Tonify the lung, stop bleeding, reduces swelling, engenders flesh, astringes core. Applied to empsyxis, non-traumatic hemorrhage, traumatic hemorrhage, anthracia and swelling caused by toxicity, pain due to ulcer, scalding and scorching injuries, rhagadia manus et pedis



Amur Corktree Bark (Huang Bai)

Phellodendri Chinensis Cortex

Bitter; cold

Clears heat, dried dampness, drains fire, eliminates steaming, resolves toxin, treats sore. Apply to dysentery due to damp-heat pathogen, jaundice, leukorrhea, pyretic stranguria, beriberi, osteopyrexia, night sweat, emissions, burns and scalds and swelling, eczema and pruritus

Berberine, Phellodendrine


Costusroot (Mu Xiang)

Aucklandiae Radix

Acrid, bitter, warm

Moves qi, stops pain, adjusts middle, resolves stasis, warms middle, digests food

Costunolide, Dehydrocostus Lactone


Mongolian Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi)

Astragali Radix

Sweet; warm

Supplements qi, secures the exterior, promotes urination, outthrusts toxin, expels pus, closes sore, engenders flesh. Apply to deficiency of vital energy causing debilitation, anorexia and loose stools, collapse of middle-warmer energy, anal prolapse due to long term diarrhea, hemafecia, metrorrhagia and metrostaxis, continuous persipiration due to superficial deficiency, persistent superficial infection, persistent ulcers, wilting due to blood deficiency, internal heat dispersion-thirst

Astragaloside A, Calycosin-7-Glucoside


Pilose Asiabell Root (Dang Shen)

Codonopsis Radix

Sweet, slightly sour, neutral

Supplements the center, boosts qi, fortifies the lung, boosts the spleen. Apply to weakness of spleen and lung, short breath and palpitations, anorexia and loose stool, dyspnea and cough due to deficiency of the lung, feverish dysphoria and diabetes

Spinaterol, Stigmasterol


  1. aAccording to the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (2020 Edition)