Home / Chinese Herb / ISATIS ROOT [板蓝根, BAN LAN GEN]


Name : Isatis Rootisatis root_opt

Chinese Name : 板蓝根

Latin Name : Radix Isatidis seu Baphicacanthi


This herb is the dried root of  Isatis indigotica Fort. of the family Cruciferae. It is mainly grown in the Anhui, Fujian, Guangxi, and Jiangsu provinces of  China. Harvested in autumn, it is cleaned, dried, and cut into sections. Isatis root is effective in clearing pathogenic Heat, febrile epidemics, typhoid fever, and epidemic dysentery. It is an antiphlogestic and detoxifying drug for removing Heat and toxins from the blood. It relieves sore throats, colds and influenza in the early stages, infectious hepatitis, parotitis, mumps, and other viral infections. The antimicrobial effect of  isatis root is stronger than that of  isatis leaf, and for antiviral effects, the leaf is better than the root.

Use of Isatis Root in TCM

Bitter in taste and cold, it acts on the heart and stomach meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses and Combinations

  1. Removes exogenous pathogenic Heat and detoxifies: to treat the Wind-Heat-type of common colds and influenza, and virus infections with symptoms of high fever, isatis root can be used alone or combined with bupleurum, forsythia fruit, lonicera, and peppermint in a decoction.
  2. Relieves high fever and throat infections: isatis root is prescribed with scute root, burdock fruit, scrophularia, forsythia fruit, bupleurum, platycodon, licorice root, and tangerine peel, among other herbs, as in Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin, for high fever, headache, epidemic febrile disease, craniofacial infections, inflammation, and throat pain.
  3. Treats hepatitis: for infectious hepatitis, isatis root can be used with patrinia and capillaris for better results.


In a decoction of 10 to 15 g.


People with Cold, stomach and spleen deficiency, or diarrhea should take this herb with caution.

Side Effects and Toxicity

No undesirable side effects or toxicity were reported at the therapeutic dose in classical Chinese materia medica

Chemical Constituents

The root and leaves contain sinalbin,indirubin, indican, beta-sitosterol, sinigrin, stachyose, and hydroxy-5-ketogluconate. Other ingredients isolated include indigo, isatin, kenetin, adenoside, gamma-sitosterol, several amino acids, alkaloids, and two sulphur-containing compounds (epigoitrin and 2-hydroxy-3butenyl thiocyanate)

Pharmacological Findings

Isatis root is antimicrobial, antiviral, antiendotoxic, and antipyretic.

  1. The injection of the root significantly inhibited the influenza virus.
  2. The decoction of aqueous extract of the root inhibited the growth of aureus, D.pneumoniae,alpha-streptococcus, Hemophilus influenza, E.coli, S.typhi, and S.dysenteriae.
  3. In the Limulus amebocyte lysate test (LAL), the root’s active ingredient was shown to be antiendotoxic.