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Chinese Herb Known for Hemostatic Abilities
During the Vietnam War, Westerners first learned of the Chinese herbal mixture Yunnan paiyao, which means "the white medicine of Yunnan."
Soldiers from North Vietnam often carried a tiny bottle of this product to ingest if they were hurt and bleeding, internally or externally.1 Over the decades, Yunnan paiyao has grown in popularity among complementary medical practitioners and even in some conventional medicine practices for its hemostatic and thrombolytic properties.
At first glance, the foil packet of Yunnan paiyao capsules may seem puzzling, because an unidentified little red pill lies at one end. Folklore says that the North Vietnamese soldiers would take this red "hit pill" when seriously wounded and this would staunch the bleeding.
The Chinese doctor Qu Huangzhang developed Yunnan paiyao in the Yunnan province of China in the early 1900s.
Although the mixture's contents remained a manufacturing secret until fairly recently, suspicion grew that its main active ingredient consisted of pseudoginseng root, now called Panax notoginseng, notoginseng, "tien chi" or "san qi."2
Notoginseng offers the highest concentration of hemostatic constituents among all seven major ginseng types.3 Its origin in Yunnan makes sense because notoginseng grown there outperforms notoginseng grown elsewhere in crop yield and quality.4
Other substances in Yunnan paiyao formulations vary between manufacturers, and may include myrrh, ox bile, Chinese yam, sweet geranium, lesser...
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