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Yunnan Baiyao (literally, the white herbal medicine from the province of Yunnan) is one of the most famous of the patent remedies in China.
It has a gleaming reputation for ability to stop bleeding, whether caused by injury or ailment, and it has been tried, with reported success, for the treatment of a number of other conditions as well.
It is taken internally and/or applied topically.
METHOD OF USE
The most general use of Yunnan Baiyao is to treat bleeding, used by oral administration. The powder is sometimes applied to a narrow open bleeding wound in an attempt to “lacquer” the edges together (one must be able to hold together the edges of the wound long enough that the blood does not wash away the applied powder).
Examples of possible uses in internal medicine include bleeding of the gastrointestinal system (stomach ulcer, stomach cancer, ulcerative colitis) and of the respiratory system (tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, lung cancer, nose bleeds, chronic sinus inflammation).
The product is also claimed to promote normal blood circulation, reduce inflammation and swelling, and alleviate pain.
It is suggested for menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, or excessive menstrual bleeding.
When taking Yunnan Baiyao internally, it is usually recommended that it be taken with warm water to treat hemorrhage. Today, the powder is mainly given in capsules.
When applying Yunnan Baiyao powder topically, if the surface to be treated is not moist (e.g., open injury), the powder is mixed with wine or other alcohol, or with water, or with Vaseline or similar medium to produce a paste; the powder or paste is held in place with a plaster or taped gauze.
Yunnan Baiyao was devised by Qu Huanzhang, a Chinese physician of Yunnan, in 1916. It has been claimed that the original formulation was altered somewhat during the cultural revolution when the factory owners were forced to yield their proprietary control and reveal the ingredients.
Regular larger-scale manufacture of the product began around 1956 at the Yunnan Baiyao Factory, which was expanded in 1971. There are reports that North Vietnamese soldiers were found carrying Yunnan Baiyao as a battlefield remedy for wounds during the 1970’s. The initial Chinese research on Yunnan Bai Yao began in the early 1980s.
Yunnan Baiyao was traditionally provided in small bottles with 4 grams of powder, intended for topical use or for mixing with other ingredients.
What is the red pill in the capsule and powder?
Each bottle is accompanied by a small red pill, called Bao Xian Zi and commonly known as the “safety pill.”
It is to be taken 1 pill per day, intended for treating shock due to significant hemorrhage; it may also help alleviate pain. Its ingredients are not revealed.
Although some physicians have made use of this pill as a single remedy for certain disorders (angina pectoris, pyogenic infections, epitasis) and claimed that the effects were similar to that of Yunnan Baiyao;
The usual procedure is to take the pill along with the first dose of Yunnan Baiyao if there is severe bleeding; but for less severe bleeding, the pill is not used.
Other forms of Yunnan Baiyao are:
Capsules containing 250 mg each:
- usually taken in doses of 2 capsules each time, two to four times daily (a sheet of 16 blister-packed capsules has 4 grams of the powder, sufficient for a 2–4 day supply, which is usually the intended course of therapy).
- Each strip of 16 capsules is accompanied by one safety pill.
Small bottles (30 cc) of liquor (alcohol extract of the powder):
- the oral dose is 3–5 cc each time, 3–5 times per day, for a total dosage of 15 cc/day, so that one bottle is a two day supply.
- The liquor can easily be applied topically; the package label recommends rubbing it in forcefully for several minutes.
Yunnan Baiyao plaster: for easy retention of the herbs against the skin.
- Each carton contains 20 boxes, with 5 plasters per box.
- The plasters are very thin and measure about 2x4 inches.
- Once applied, they last for about four hours, after which time the aromatic constituents are nearly gone.
- The adhesive, which covers the whole plaster, sticks tightly to body hair, as will be noted during removal.
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