Home / Chinese Herb / NOTOPTERYGIUM [羌活, QIANG HUO]


Name : Notopterigium[0

Chinese Name : 羌活

Latin Name : Rhizoma  seu Radix Notopterygii


This herb is the dry rhizome and root of  Notopterygium incisum Ting ex H. T. Chang or N.forbesii  Boiss. of the  Umbelliferae family.  It is grown mainly in the Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces of China, harvested in autumn, cleaned, dried in the sun, and sliced. Notopterygium root is similar to pubescent angelica root in action and applications. Notopterygium root is commonly used as an antirheumatic, analgesic, and antipyretic agent for  the treatment of rheumatism pains, especially those of the upper parts of the body. As a diaphoretic, notopterygium root is used for Wind-Cold colds. It is also used to relieve cancer pain, along with other cancer treatment herbs.

Use of Notopterygium in TCM

Pungent and bitter in taste, and warm, it acts on the urinary bladder  and kidney meridians

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  • Disperses Wind-Cold-Dampness pathogens from the body, induces sweating, and relieves pain: notopterygium root is blended with pubescent angelica root (du huo), cnidium, ledebouriella root, large-leaf gentian root, licorice root, and vitex fruit, as in Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang (R-57), which is an effective recipe for the treatment of arthralgia and joint pain in the upper limbs of the body.
  • Induces diaphoresis and relieves pain: to treat influenza, common colds, stuffy nose, weakness, high fever, headache, and general aches and pains, this herb is combined with siler, cnidium, atractylodes, dried rehmannia, scute root, angelica root, and asarum, as in Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang
  • To treat a chronic and intractable headache caused by Wind-Cold notopterygium root is prescribed with cnidium, asarum, schizonepeta, siler, dahurian angelica root, mentha, and green tea in a decoction
  • Treats facial paralysis. Notopterygium decoction or extract with wine provides relief when applied on the affected area of the face.


In a decoction of 3 to 10 g. avoid an overdose


People with arthralgia caused  by blood deficiency or headache caused by yin deficiency should use this herb with caution

Side Effects and Toxicity

No adverse effects or toxicity at the suggested dose were reported in classical Chinese material  medica. Oral administration of  7.5 g/kg of  the essential oil produced  no toxic reaction in rats. An oral overdose causes nausea.

Chemical Constituents

The rhizome and the root of  N. incisum contains 1 to 6.8 percent of essential oil. The main ingredients of  the oil are limonene, terpineol 1-4, bornylacetate, alpha-terpinolene, alpha-copene, and alpha-terpinen.

The main components of the essential oil of the root N.forbesii are alpha- and beta-pinene, limonene, and sabinene. Its other components are organic acids and alkaloids

Pharmacological Findings

  1. Antipyretic and analgesic. The root and its volatile oil were shown to be analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory.
  2. Notopterygium root has been shown to be antifungal and antimicrobial
  3. Antispasmodic
  4. Oral administration of the methanolic extract of the root appreciably suppressed the formation of CCI4-induced lipid peroxidation in the liver