Guang Fang Ji (Aristolochia Root, Stephania)
Herb 16 of 28 in Herbs that Regulate Water and Drain Dampness
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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
- 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:
- Xiao Xu Ming Tang (Minor Prolong Life Decoction)
Category: Formulas that Release Wind from the Skin and Channels
- Xuan Bi Tang (Disband Painful Obstruction Decoction)
Category: Formulas that Dispel Wind-Dampness