Angelica formosana H.Boissieu
Angelica macrocarpa H.Wolff
Angelica porphyrocaulis Nakai & Kitag.
Angelica pubescens glabra Y.Yabe
Angelica tschiliensis H.Wolff
Callisace dahurica Hoffm.
Thysselinum davuricum (Hoffm.) Spreng.
Common Name: Bai Zhi
Photograph by: Alicia-C
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Angelica dahurica is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing a stout stem 100 - 250cm tall from a strongly aromatic, cylindrical root up to 5cm in diameter[
This species is widely cultivated in northern China, where the roots are used as the important traditional Chinese medicine 'bai zhi' and also as a substitute, known as 'dong bei da huo' for the traditional Chinese medicine 'du huo' (Angelica biserrata)[
]. The plant is also sometimes gathered from the wild for local use as a food.
All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis[
E. Asia - eastern Siberia, northern China, Japan, Korea
Damp habitats in mountains, C. Japan[
]. Forest margins, valley grasslands, streamsides; at elevations from 500 - 1,000 metres[
]. Banks of rivers and streams, mostly gravelly soil, shrubby thickets, along coasts, rarely meadows[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Angelica dahurica is native to northern and eastern Asia, where it experiences very cold winters.it grows in areas where the hardyness zone can range from 2 - 7.
Species in this genus generally grow best in a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun[
Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed[
Widely cultivated for medicinal use in northern China, two cultivars are common - 'Hangbaizhi' and 'Qibaizhi'[
Leaves - cooked[
Bai Zhi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine where it is used as a sweat-inducing herb to counter harmful external influences[
]. Bai Zhi is contraindicated for pregnant women[
The root contains an essential oil, resins, furanocoumarins etc[
]. It is analgesic, anodyne, antibacterial, antidote, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, poultice and stimulant[
]. It is used in the treatment of frontal headache, tothache, rhinitis, boils, carbuncles and skin diseases[
]. It appears to be of value in treating the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia[
The roots are harvested in the autumn, dried and stored for later use[
Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory centre, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting[
]. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability[
]. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring.
The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.