Epimedium As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Epimedium, commonly known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, or yin yang huo (Chinese: 淫羊藿), is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae. Most of the species are endemic to China. Epimedium can be used for medical purposes in treating impotence, lower back pain, amnesia, tinnitus and dizziness.

Odour & Nature:

Pungent, cold-natured, non-toxic,


Epimedium functions by influencing the liver and kidney.

Indications & Formulas:

Medicated wine with epimedium can be taken regularly to treat impotence with weak lower back muscles.

Pills made with epimedium, aspberry, schisandra chinensis and ripe honey can be used in treatment for coughing with loss of appetite.

Powdered epimedium and trichosanthes fruit can be taken with tea to help remove macula of retina.

A decoction of epimedium and fermented soybean can be used as a therapy for glaucoma after surgery.

Lamb liver cooked with epimedium, silk moth, processed licorice root, blackberry lily, black soya bean and washing water of rice can be taken to treat night blindness in infants and children.

Powdered epimedium and radix clematidis can be taken with rice soup to treat smallpox.

Using a decoction of epimedium as a mouth wash can help to relieve toothache caused by internal fire (deficiency type).

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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