Other Common Names: Siberian cork tree, huang bai (Chinese).
Habitat: The Amur cork tree is found wild in China, Japan, and Korea but is otherwise cultivated for medical use in Northeast China. It also decorates gardens and parks around the world due to its beautiful bark and the aromatic leaves, which turn yellow in autumn.
Plant Description: Amur cork tree can grow up to 12 meters tall. It is a deciduous tree with pale gray-brown, cork-like bark. The tree has shiny, dark green, pinnate leaves composed of 9 to 13 smaller leaves, and the small greenish-yellow flowers grow in clusters. Male and female flowers are located on separate trees. The small round fruit is black and has a strong scent of turpentine.
Plant Parts Used: The bark is used in herbal medicine. It’s collected in winter from trees that are at least 10 years old and is dried for later use in a decoction.
The active constituents of this herb are berberine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, candicin, palmatin, obacunone, 7-dihydro stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, and campesterol. Amur cork tree has both antimicrobial and antibiotic properties due to the alkaloids present in the plant.
Amur cork tree bark has a strong bitter taste and is best known as diuretic and cooling herb that stimulates the liver and gallbladder. It has been used traditionally to lower fever and to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
It has a strong antibacterial effect and has been used internally to treat diarrhea, dysentery, enteritis, vaginal infections, acute urinary tract infections, abscesses, tumors, jaundice, night sweats, and skin diseases
The fruit has an expectorant effect and is sometimes used to treat the symptoms of a cold.
It is one of the 50 most important herbs in Chinese herbal medicine and is one of the ingredients in the Chinese medicine San huang zhe She ye (“injection of three yellow herbs”).
Use an amur cork tree with caution and under the supervision of qualified health care professional. According to guidelines found in traditional Chinese medicine people with “cold” or “weak” stomach or spleen conditions should not take this herb. Don’t use it during pregnancy.
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