huang lian   黃連        

xuan hu lian 宣胡連


By: Joe Hing Kwok Chu


Pharmaceutical name:

Rhizoma Coptidis (huang lian)

Rhizoma Picrorhizae (xuan hu lian)

Latin botanical name:


huang lian:

  1. Coptis chinensis Franch.

  2. Coptis deltodea C.Y Cheng et Hsiao

  3. Coptis teeta Wall.

  4. Coptis quiquefolia Mig. (台灣黃連)

xuan hu lian

  1. Picrorhiza scrophularfifolia Pennell (胡黃連)

  2. Picrorhiza kurrooa Royle ex Benth.(印度胡黃連)

Other names:

chuan lian,川 蓮,wei lian 味 蓮  (Coptis chinensis Franch.),

ya lian 雅 蓮 (Coptis deltodea C.Y Cheng et Hsiao) ,

yun lian雲 蓮  (Cotis teeta Wall.)

Pron. in Japanese:

o ren   

Pron. in Korean:

hwang lyon  황련

Pron. in Cantonese:

wong lin

Common Name:

coptis rhizome (huang lian)

Figwortflower, Picrorhiza Rhizome (xuan hu lian)



huang lian: Sichuan四川, Xizang 西藏, Hubei 湖 北, Jiangxi 江西, Shanxi 陝西 , Shanxi   江 西

xuan hu lian: Yunnan, Xizang, Nepal, India,

Properties (characteristics):性 味:

bitter in taste; cool

苦 , 寒 。

Channels (meridians) entered:

 heart, large intestine, liver, and stomach channels. 


Actions & Indications:

heat toxicity, indigestion, diabetes, inflammation of intestine, 
diarrhea caused by bacterial infection, high fever, restlessness and
insomnia, spitting blood, nose bleeding due to heat in blood, red eyes
and excess stomach acid, tooth ache, boils.

External uses: inflammation of the cornea,  middle ear infection, ulceration of tongue and mouth, external ear infection and eczema.

Jiu huang lian: for heat in the upper part of the body like red eyes, sores in the mouth.

Jiang huang lian: for clearing the stomach, stop vomiting; for coldness and heat interwined in the abdomen area.

Yu huang lian: for relieving the liver, stop vomiting; for liver and stomach not in harmony, vomiting and excess stomach acid.


用 於 濕 熱 肝脾腫脹 ,黃 疸 ,消化不良﹐糖 尿病﹐ 嘔 吐 瀉 痢 ,  高 熱 神 昏 ﹐ 心 火 亢 盛 ﹐ 心 煩 不 寐 ,

 血 熱 吐 衄 , 目 赤 吞 酸 , 牙 痛 ,  癱 腫 疔 瘡 。

外 治 : 濕 疹 ,濕 瘡 , 耳 道 流 膿 。

酒 黃 連﹕ 清 上 焦 火 熱 。 用 於 目 赤 , 口 瘡 。

薑 黃 連 ﹕清 胃 和 胃 止 嘔 。 用 於 寒 熱 互 結 , 瀛 熱 中 阻 , 痞 滿 嘔 吐 。

萸 黃 連 ﹕舒 肝 和 胃 止 嘔 。 用 於 肝 胃 不 和 , 嘔 吐 吞 酸 。

Medical function:









1. antibiotic and anti-amoeba

2. effect on heart and blood vessels

  •  (1) small amount improves coronary blood vessel circulation while large amount suppresses it.

  • (2) protects heart muscles in case of lack of blood circulation and anti arrhythmia.

  • (3) relaxes blood vessels

  • (4) anti palette coagulation

  • (5) shrinks red blood cells

  • (6) lowers blood sugar

3.  small amount improves function of acetylcholine while large amount suppresses it.

Samples of formulae:

huang lian e jiao tang


Chemical ingredients:

erberine C20H17NO3小檗碱
colchicine  C21H25NO5秋水仙胺
coptisine C19H15NO5黃連鹹
worenine C21H15NO4甲基川連鹼
palmatine C22HC24 H24O5 N.OHO5NOH棕 鹼 

See:Chemical ingredients of  xian hu lian


1.5 to 20 g. Concentrated extract: 0.5 g to 2 g.




Not to use in cases of wind cold type of flu and deficient type of syndromes.

Normal dosage is relatively safe with few side effects and no adverse effects from long term use. Large dosage can be toxic.

Not to use in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.

Clinical experiences and laboratory studies show that the toxic reactions include:

  1. acute deprivation of oxygen of the brain due to cardiac function

  2. shock due to allergenic reaction

  3. rash

  4. dizziness, tinnitus, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and fright, short of breath, joint pain

  5. diarrhea, flatulence, rumbling noise in the intestines, frequent urination

  6. decrease of heme and blood cells

  7. report of sudden stoppage of circulation and breathing due to venous feeding of injectiones of huang lian






  1. 急性心源性腦 缺氧综合征;

  2. 過 敏性休克;

  3. 麻疹样药疹和荨麻疹型药疹;

  4. 頭 晕,耳鳴 ,惡 心 ,嘔 吐 ,心慌,氣 短,關 節 痛等;

  5. 腹瀉 ,腹脹 ,腸 鳴 ,多尿;

  6. 血色素及血细胞减少。

  7. 静滴黄連 素曾引致 三 例循 環 呼吸骤停。 


Chemical ingredients of hu huang liang (Picrorhiza scrophularfifolia Pennell):


Roots of  Picrorhiza scrophularfifolia Pennell contain:


Kutkin 3.4%*

胡黄連素 3.4%*

D—Mannitol 0.5%

D甘露醇 0.5%

Vanillic acid 0.1%

香荚藍酸  0.1%



Kutkisterol 0.18%

黄連甾醇 0.18%



Kutkin is not a simple chemical compound, it is:

胡黄連素并不是一个的 簡單化合物, 它是﹕

a stable crystalized mixture of Picroside  I and Kutkoside and contains Picroside  II

胡黄連苦 I和胡黄連的稳定混晶, 並含﹕胡黄連苦甙 Ⅱ

Fruits contain:


vitamin C








Roots and stems contain:


iridoid glycoside. The ingredients are: picroside  IIIIII


free organic acid: Vanillic Acid, Cinnamic acid and  ferulic acid.


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Julia Chen

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