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September 14, 2020 5 min read

Yunnan Baiyao, also known as Yunnan Bai Yao or Yunnan Paiyao, is Class-1 protected traditional medicine, which originated in China. It is also known as Yunnan White Drug. This herbal drug has hemostatic (blood clotting) abilities.  It was used famously during the Vietnam War to help stop bleeding.

what is yunna baiyao

What are the Yunnan Baiyao Ingredients?

Panax Notoginseng, a herb found in the Yunnan area, is believed to be the primary ingredient of the medicine and is responsible for the anti-hemorrhagic abilities of Yunnan Baiyao. It is believed that the drug activates platelets, the blood components that are responsible for blood clotting. The same ingredient is also believed to treat various disorders including joint and muscular pains associated with strains, bruises, backaches, sprains, and arthritis.

Nowadays, Yunnan Baiyao is heavily promoted as a dietary supplement that you can apply externally and consume internally.  This herbal medication is a household name in China and is considered a first-aid kit.

The exact formula for Yunnan Baiyao is a government secret, but it is developed and manufactured by a government-owned company in Yunnan, China.  They have 13 separate teams working on the medication. Each team is assigned a different component to mix and work on. Each team does not know the ingredients that the other teams are working on. Another team mixes all the components together, and this team does not know the content of each of the ingredients.  They are only aware of the proportions of each ingredient.

According to Wikipedia, a few of the ingredients mentioned by the company website includes saponins, alkaloids, and calcium phosphate.  Although the formula is a strict government secret, the original labels from Yunnan Baiyao exported to the United States revealed the following ingredients:

  • 500 mg of a proprietary blend
  • 200 mg of Radix Notoginseng
  • 85 mg of Ajuga forrestii Diels
  • 66.5 mg of Rhizoma Dioscoreae
  • 57.5 mg of Rhizoma Dioscoreae Nipponicae
  • 36 mg of Herba Geranii & Herba Erodii
  • 30 mg of Dioscoreae Parviflora Ting
  • 25 mg of Herba Inulae Cappae

This information can no longer be found in the product labels today.

What is the Medicine Used For in Humans?

In traditional medicine, Yunnan Baiyao is believed to help activate blood circulation, disperse blood stasis, and promote normal blood clotting. Studies of this herbal medicine showed that its ingredients, specifically notoginseng, demonstrate hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-coagulant properties. Clinical studies on this medication showed that it can treat various types of bleeding including those resulting from skin and colon ulcers.  It can even treat bleeding in the uterus.

There are even reports that indicate that Yunnan Baiyao has helped treat bleeding in cancer patients, but there are no formal studies on the effects of this herbal medicine on cancer treatment. Generally, however, Yunnan Baiyao is believed to perform the following uses:

  • Stops bleeding. Studies show that Yunnan Baiyao minimized surgical blood loss. It also helps minimize the risk of blood loss in cancer patients. The medicine, however, may not be ideal for breast cancer patients as it can increase the growth of breast cell cancers.
  • Removes pain and bruises especially resulting from frostbite.
  • Relieves pain and swelling related to arthritis.
  • Promotes oral health. This herbal medication can minimize or prevent bone breakdown or bone loss.
  • Promotes healing of the body from injuries.
  • Supports the health of your immune and nervous system.
  • Relieves muscle and joint pains

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What is the Use of Yunnan Baiyao for Dogs?

Yunnan Baiyao is used on dogs to help stop internal bleeding. The medicine is applied effectively topically on wounds to help stop any bleeding and hastens healing. It can also be administered internally to help control bleeding associated with various diseases especially cancers like hemangiosarcoma of the liver, bladder tumors, and spleen cancers in dogs and cats.

Administration and Dosage for Humans

Yunnan Baiyao can be purchased without a prescription, but it shouldn’t be administered unless it is under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian. It is not yet registered for use in animals by the FDA, but Yunnan Baiyao is prescribed legally by veterinarians as a supplemental drug.

Yunnan Baiyao is registered for use in humans.  Be careful when buying this herbal medication. Fake ones proliferate the market. Make sure to purchase only the proprietary product.

Oral Administration Dosage

  • Adults: 1-2 capsules, 4 times daily
  • 2-5 years old: ¼ of the adult dosage
  • 6-12 years old: ½ of the adult dosage

For wounds resulting from a gunshot, traumatic injury, knife injury, menorrhagia, and metrorrhagia, healthcare professionals have to advise their patients to take the medicine with warm water. For treating swelling and pain, wounds with stagnated blood, and disease of gynecopathy, make sure that your patients take the drug with wine.

To treat venomous sore, make sure to administer a 025g dosage and apply it on the infected area with Yunnan Baiyao mixed with wine. Avoid applying it to suppurative wounds or sores. To treat slight injuries and other symptoms of internal bleeding, administer the medication orally.

Administration and Dosage for Dogs and Cats

Yunnan Baiyao must be used only on dogs after consultation. Here are the general guidelines for dogs and cats:

  • Under 10 lbs: administer 1 capsule by mouth once a day.
  • Between 10-30 lbs: administer 1 capsule by mouth, twice a day.
  • Weigh more than 30 lbs but less than 60 lbs: administer 2 capsules twice a day.
  • Weigh above 60 lbs: give 2 capsules thrice a day.

It is best to give the medicine on alternating days or a 5-day on, 5-day off cycle, and then repeat. Yunnan Baiyao is safe when administered with antibiotics, vaccines, and pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications.

The duration of the administration of this medication would depend on the disorder or condition being treated, the patient’s response to the medication, as well as the development of side effects. The entire treatment plan should be completed even when the pet appears to be feeling better to prevent relapse.

Adverse Reactions on Humans and Animals

A few of the reported issues on humans include:

  • Hypersensitive rash
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Palpitation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • General intense itching
  • Urticaria in the trunk and limbs

Side Effects on Dogs and Cats

While generally, Yunnan Baiyao is safe and effective, it may create some side effects in dogs. The most common side effect on dogs, however, is an upset stomach, which can manifest as vomiting and diarrhea.


In Humans

Yunnan Baiyao should not administer to people who:

  • Take anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs. Notoginseng further stimulates bleeding when it is used with these kinds of drugs.
  • Take drugs, which are substrates of CYP1A2 and 2E1. Notoginseng saponins weaken the effect of these drugs.
  • Take drugs that are substrates of Glutathione S-transferase.  Yunnan Baiyao increases the risk of the adverse effects of these drugs.
  • Suffer from bleeding disorders. Yunnan Baiyao only increases the risk of bleeding.
  • Afflicted with breast cancer. The herbal medicine only increases the risk of developing more cancer cells.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Suffer from allergic diathesis.

In Animals

Yunnan Baiyao should be not be used in dogs with allergy or sensitivity to the drug. It should be used with caution when used with dogs suffering from liver disease. It should also be used with caution if used every other day or for a limited period. It shouldn’t be given in lactating or pregnant dogs or cats.


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