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What is Yunnan Baiyao

Yunnan Baiyao, also known as “Yunnan Paiyao”, which literally means white herbal medicine, is originally from the province of Yunnan – it is among the most popular patent preparation in China. It has a notorious reputation for its ability to halt bleeding caused by ailments and injury. This has been tried in various conditions and yielded successful results.

Interestingly, it is not only used today in stopping or preventing bleeding as its potential in treating a few medical conditions is well-recognized in modern healthcare settings. Various preparations are available and can be applied topically or taken internally.


Yunnan Baiyao was discovered by a Chinese physician named Qu Huanzhang in the 1916. However, wide scale production of this drug began in 1956 at a factory in Yunnan Paiyao – the operations got bigger a decade after. During the 1970’s, there was a reported usage of the drug by Vietnamese soldiers. The U.S. military observed that these soldiers carry a small powder-filled bottle around their necks. Later, it was revealed that the product inside the bottle is used in the event the soldiers are injured, whether by knife or gun shot. The first clinical research about the drug started in the early part of the 1980’s.

The product has stirred the interests of doctors all over China and various health research facilities as shown by tons of reviews and research articles – they appear in the Chinese Medical Bulletin, Materia Medical and The Traditional Chinese Journal in Yunnan. Up to present, the use of Yunnan Baiyao continues and several preparations and easy to apply forms are available for purchase.

What Are the Ingredients

The formula for this drug is a result of several years of research and experimentation. Though the complete list of components remains a mystery, the main known ingredients include the following:

– Sanqi

Sanqi is from the roots of panax Notoginseng or Tienchi ginseng, which is a specie known for the highest level of homeostatic or anti-bleeding properties.

– Rhizoma Dioscoreae

This is a type of herb in China, also called as yam, which is known to have the same anti-hemorrhagic property as Sanqi.

– Borneol

Apart from contributing to its taste and aroma, borneol is essential in controlling pain, eliminating swelling and moving blood for faster healing of wounds. This ingredient is said to come from the herb called “Blumea” Balsamifera”, which is native in the Yunnan province.

– Musk or muscone

Traditionally, musk was used derived from a musk deer’s sexual secretion. But this was replaced by muscone, which is readily available. This component aids in revitalizing and promoting circulation as well as relieving pain.

– Tiny plant fibers

Promotes platelet aggregation, which is essential in the closing and healing of wounds and alleviating bleeding.

It was in late 2010 that a list of the active ingredients was published online, specifically on FDA and Amazon websites. However, the exact manufacturing procedure and the proportions of the ingredients remain unknown.

Overall, more than 20 compounds are present in this product and majority of these can constrict tissues in the body to hasten wound healing. Several of these are steroid progesterone, alkaloids, saponins, calcium phosphate etc. The exact formula for Yunnan Baiyao is a top secret by the government of China though fundamental formulation information can be seen on every package.

Common Usages

The drug has the right to be referred to as a “miracle drug” since it can be used in different forms to treat many medical conditions, such as what follows:


Yunnan Baiyao relieves pain by facilitating blood flow and delivering oxygen to the site of injury, contrary to the action of conventional medications for pain, which work by freezing the brain receptors for pain.

– Inflammation and swelling, particularly in the throat area

– Gastric ulcers and stomach pains

– Oozing sores and infections as it aids in washing out the toxins

– Rashes, brought by poison Oak or Poison Ivy

– Bone and joint pain/stiffness

– Irregular/lacking menstruation, uterine bleeding

– Blood in stool and urine

– Hemangiosarcoma, bleeding tumors in animals, such as cats, dogs and horses

– The toothpaste form helps in preventing the gums from bleeding

– Traumatic bleeding

– Gunshot and knife wounds

Essentially, Yunnan Baiyao has extensive applications and some of these will be detailed in the following chapters.

Length of Treatment

Generally, the drug should only be used for a period of 2 to 4 days. But then, several applications may require additional days of management. Ideally, the treatment time should not exceed 15 days. In situations where the disorder being treated does not improve within the given timeframe, seeking another remedy or better yet, consulting the doctor is advised.

Are There Side Effects

Up to date, there are no identified side effects related to the use of Yunnan Baiyao, so long as it is taken as advised. But then, it is not recommended to take it longer than 2 weeks. Taking the drug may cause weakness over a certain period. If required, supplement it with tonic prescription like neutral ginsengs and mushroom extracts.

Safety Measures

Though side effects and adverse reactions to the product are not likely, these precautions will further help in preventing unwanted effects:

– There are individuals who may be allergic to one or few of its components. Thus, it is highly advised to withdraw from using the drug in case allergy reactions take place. Borneal may be the cause of mild allergic reactions to the drug, but such reactions may happen in a very minute proportion of the population.

– Ensure that the necessary steps to put off infected are performed when applying Yunnan Baiyao to an open injury or wound. It is possible that bacteria may become locked in the area when the powder and blood dries up. On the other hand, hot foods like chicken and goat meat as well as alcohol are indicated to promote healing.

– If the drug upsets your stomach or makes you feel dizzy, take it together with warm soup.

– It is not advisable to go beyond the dosage of 2 grams per day for adults. Also, do not take a single dose of 2 grams. It is always best to read the instructions for administration or consult with a medical practitioner especially if the drug is intended for children and infants.

– The manufacturer of the drug informs that the effects of the medicine will be lessened if the person takes the following food within a day of taking the capsule form: cold and sour foods, fish, lamb, beef and beans.

– Be cautious when swallowing the drug in its loose powder form as it may cause congestion and choking.

– The drug should not be used by pregnant women.

– The “red pill” must not be taken for more than once a day since too much of this pill could lead to unnecessary bleeding.

2 thoughts on “What is Yunnan Baiyao

  1. I want to buy the powder in case of emergency for infected wounds. Does Yunnan Baiyao expire or how long can you keep it for use?

    1. Yunnan baiyao powder’s period of validity is 4 years

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