Zao Xiu - Paris polyphylla

Professional Data
 Pin Yin
Zao Xiu (Cao He Che, Chong Lou)
 Introduction Back to Top
Paris Root is the dried rhizome of Paris polyphylla Smith var. yunnanensis (Franch.) Hand. Mazz. or Paris polyphylla Smith var. chinensis (Franch.) Hara (Fam. Liliaceae). The drug is collected in autumn, removed from fibrous root, washed clean, and dried in the sun. dular, flattened cylindrical, somewhat curved, 5-12 cm long, 1. 0-4.5 cm in diameter. Externally yellowish-brown or greyish brown and white where the outer bark fallen off; having densely lamellar, prominent and annular striations. On one side with distinct node, elliptic sunken scars of stems and on the other side with sparsely rare fibrous roots or its warty scars. Scale leaves and remains of stems occurring at the apex. Texture hard, fracture smooth, white to pale brown, starchy or gummy. Odourless; taste, slightly bitter and numb.

 Western medical Back to Top
zao xiu is indicated in the treatment of phlebitis, uterine bleeding, bronchitis, hepatitis B, infections of bile system, stomach cancer and vulvitis, etc..

 Eastern medical Back to Top
  • Pattern: Clears Heat, removes Toxin, treats swelling and alleviates pain, extinguishes Wind and calms convulsion.
  • Properties: Bitter, slightly cold, slightly toxic.
  • Channels entered: Liver.
 Chemical constituents Back to Top
zao xiu contains pariphyllin, dioscin, diosgenin and pregna-5, 16-dien-3-ol-20-one 3-o--chacotrioside, etc.. It also contains alkaloids and amino acids.

 Pharmacological actions Back to Top
Anti-bacterial effect

zao xiu had inhibitory effect on various shigella dysenteriae, typhoid bacillus, bacillus coli, staphylococcus aureus and meningococcus, etc..

Anti-cancer effect

zao xiu at the dosage of 3.1mg/ml had inhibitory effect on ehrlich carcinoma and liver cancer in mice and the inhibitory effect was 40~50%.

Haemolytic effect

Saponins contained in zao xiu is one of the ingredients that took haemolytic effect.


zao xiu decoction had obvious anti-asthmatic and anti-tussive effects. zao xiu could inhibit the activity of sperms.

 Clinical Studies Back to Top

zao xiu mixed with vinegar was grounded to get the juice which was applied to affected areas of phlebitis caused by injection of various anti-cancer drugs. 30 cases were treated and the effect was satisfactory.

Uterine bleeding

zao xiu was grounded into raw powder, made into dry powder and capsulated. Each capsule contains 2g crude drug. It could be used to treat dysfunctional uterine bleeding, menorrhagia due to uterine fibroids or pelvic inflammation.

Chronic bronchitis

zao xiu was made into tablets, 3g, bid after meals, 10 days as a course of treatment, 3 courses totally. It had satisfactory effect on chronic bronchitis.

Chronic hepatitis B

zao xiu, wu wei zi, guan zhong, nu zhen zi, ku shen, etc., 1 dose daily, 2 months as a course of treatment. The total effective rate was 92.8%.

Acute injections of bile system

zao xiu, bai hua she she cao, ban bian lian, jin qian cao, dan shen, 30g each; zhi shi 20g; huang lian 10g; sheng da huang 6g, with jaundice, add yin chen. The control group was treated with intravenous drip of antibiotics. Results: all indices in the treated group were significantly supeior to those of the control group.

Stomach cancer

zao xiu 50~100g, other formula based on TCM differentiation could be combined, water decoction, 10 days as a course of treatment, 7~8 courses totally. 15 cases of stomach cancer in late stage with wide metastasis were treated, 11 cases survived more than 1 year, 4 cases more than 2 years.


zao xiu, tu fu ling, ku shen, 90g, huang bo, da huang, 45g each; long dan cao, bi xie 30g each; ku fan 15g. 1 dose daily, water decoction. The juice was used to steam and wash the private parts, tid, 30 minutes daily, 56 treated cases were all cured.

 References Back to Top

Except those noted, all references come from Weng Weiliang, et al., Clinical Chinese materia medica, Henan Science & Technology Press, 1998