Sanguisorba Officinalis As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Sanguisorba officinalis (great burnet) is a plant in the family Rosaceae, subfamily Rosoideae. It is native throughout the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, northern Asia, and northern North America. The plant grows at an altitude of 30 meters to 3000 meters. It is known as Di You (地榆, 玉豉, 酸赭) in China. In traditional Chinese medicine, sanguisorba officinalis is mainly used in clearing internal heat, removing toxicity and stop bleeding.

Odour & Nature:

Astringent, sour, bitter, non-toxic,


Sanguisorba officinalis functions by influencing the liver, lung, kidney and the large intestine.

Indications & Formulas:

A decoction of sanguisorba officinalis can be used in treating dysentery with bloody stool as well as infantile malnutrition (associated with cognitive and behavioral impairment during childhood and adolescence).

A decoction of sanguisorba officinalis and rice vinegar can be taken orally before meal to treat hemoptysis and metrorrhagia (uterine bleeding at irregular intervals, especially between the expected menstrual periods).

Juice of fresh sanguisorba officinalis root can be taken orally and also applied externally to treat venomous snake bites as well as dog and tiger bites.

External application of sanguisorba officinalis root juice can help to help eczema blisters with yellow pus in infants and children.

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 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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