Guang Fang Ji (Aristolochia Root, Stephania)

Guang Fang Ji (Aristolochia Root, Stephania)

Herb 16 of 28 in Herbs that Regulate Water and Drain Dampness

Cold Guang Fang Ji (Radix Aristolochiae Fangchi)
Photo Note:
Mixed with Han Fang Ji?
Bitter, Spicy, Cold, Toxic
Radix Aristolochiae Fangchi
Tone Marks:
guăng fáng jĭ
Alt Names:
Fang Ji, Mu Fang Ji
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Chinese Herb Actions

  • Expels Wind Damp Heat and Relieves Pain
    For diffuse painful joints and achinesss due to Wind Damp or Wind Damp Heat.
  • Promotes Urination, Reduces Swelling
    For dysuria, edema, and leg qi.

Chinese Herb Contraindications & Cautions

  • Use with caution in cases with Yin Deficiency
  • Use with caution in cases with Spleen and Stomach Deficiency and Cold

Herb-Drug Interactions

  • This herb should not be used with other nephrotoxic or hepatotoxic compounds.

Chinese Herb Toxicity & Overdose

  • This herb is banned due to its toxicity
  • This herb contains aristolochic acid, a compound that can cause permanent kidney damage, including kidney failure. It has also been shown to cause cancer, specifically urothelial carcinoma.
  • Position paper on the risks associated with the use of herbal products containing Aristolochia
    European Medicines Agency (EMEA)
  • This herb is considered toxic.
    (while some Chinese herbs are toxic, it must be noted that many come prepared, or are combined, to mitigate their toxicity)

Chinese Herb Dosage

  • 4.5-9 grams in decoction 12
  • 4.5-9 grams in decoction 13

Chinese Herb Notes

  • Guang Fang Ji contains aristolochic acid, a known nephrotoxic compound. The traditional method of preparation (boiling in water) is believed to lower the toxicity since aristolochic acid has a low water solubility but extreme care should be taken.
  • In Belgium, a weight loss clinic used a large dose of the raw powder along with acetazolamide and several other compounds resulting in at least 53 cases of renal fibrosis.
  • See Eric Brand's blog post: Are You Using the Correct Fang Ji?

Chinese Herb Clinical Studies & Research

  • Aristolochic acid has demonstrated anti-inflammatory actions by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis.
    McGuffin M, Hobbs C., et al. Botanical Safaety Handbook, CRC. Press, 1997; 131-132.

This Herb Appears in the Following Formulas:

References Used

The TCM information presented here has been referenced from numerous sources; including teachers, practitioners, class notes from Five Branches University, the following books, as well as other sources. If you have benefited from this information, please consider supporting the authors and their works by purchasing the books below.

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