Home / Chinese Herb / PULSATILLA ROOT [白頭翁, BAI TOU WENG]


Name : Pulsatilla RootPulsatilla chinensis_opt

Chinese Name : 白頭翁

Latin Name : Radix Pulsatillae


This herb is the dried root and  flower of  Pulsatilla chinensis (Bge.)  Regel. Of  the family Ranunculaceac. It is grown mainly in the Liaoning province and Inner Mongolia of China. Collected in the spring, it is dried and used unprocessed.

Traditionally, this herb  was a popular medicine. It was  prescribed for fevers, insanity, ague, obstruction of  the bowels, swelling of  the neck  from anger, poor circulation of  the blood, abdominal pain, dysentery, toothache, all sorts of  rheumatic pain, scrofulous glands, all forms of miasmatic poisoning, hemorrhoids, and favus (fungal skin). Pulsatilla root clears away pathogenic Heat, subdues pyogenic infections, and detoxifies. It is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.

Use of Pulsatilla Root in TCM

Bitter in taste and cold, it acts on the large  intestine meridian.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Removes pathogenic Heat and relieves dysentery: for bacterial and  amochic dysentery, pulsatilla root  is combined  with  coptis, phelodendron bark, and fraxinus bark, as in Bai Tou Weng Tang.
  2. Detoxifies: to treat Trichomonas vaginalis, a fairly common condition in women characterized by symptoms of persistent burning and itching of the vulvae tissue associated  with  a profuse frothy discharge, pulsatilla  root is made into a decoction with sophora root, which is  applied externally on the  affected areas. Pulsatilla root  is also effective in treating lymphnoditis. The decoction and ethanol extract of the  root is antibacterial in vitro against aureus, P. aeruginasa, S. dysenteriae, and B.subutilis.


In a decoction of 6 to 15 g.

Side Effects and Toxicity

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

Chemical Constituents

Pulsatilla root contains saponins, protoanemonin, and glycoside ranunculin, anemonin, okinalin, okenalein, stigmasterol, hederagenin, and oleanolic acid.

Pharmacological Findings

Pulsatilla root is antimicrobial and antiamebic. It inhibits vaginal trichomonas in vitro.