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chuan dong zhang ya cai 川東獐牙菜


Translated and edited by: Joe Hing kwok Chu  朱興國編譯

Pharmaceutical name:


Herba Swertiae davidi

Botanical name:


Swertia davidii Franch

Pron. in Japanese:



Pron. in Korean:



Pron. in Cantonese:


cyun1 dung1 long1 ngaa4 coi3

Other Names:

別 名﹕

shui ling zhi 水靈 芝,yu dan cao 魚膽草qing yu dan cao 青魚膽草si huang cao 四黃草, shui huang lian 水黄連 , xiao si fang 小四方,he feng cao 河風草,qing ye dan 青葉膽

Common Name:





All over the world. According some report, there are about 170 varieties. They are mainly distributed in Asia, Africa, North America. There are about 79 varieties in China and mainly distributed in  western part of Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Zongqing, Qinghai,  and western part of Hubei area, especially in the south western part of China.

廣佈于全世界,據報導大概有170种,主要分布在亞洲、非洲、北美洲,我國约79个品種, 主要分布湖南的西部 、雲南、四川、貴州、重慶、 青海及湖 北 西 部 等地區,以西南地區最 為集中。[3]




cold, extremely bitter.


Channels  meridians) entered:




Medical functions:




Chuan dong zhang ya cai extract can inhibit Gram-positive bacteria. Its effective concentrate can be diluted to as high as 1:128. The decoction of the whole herb can also inhibit various bacteria, like: Staphylococcus albus, Non-coagulate  Vibrio, typhoid bacteria, paratyphoid type A bacteria,  Shigella dysenteriae, Shigella boydii  Shigella flexneri.



Gentian alkaloid possesses the effect of anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, enhancing the effect of sedatives and enhance the effect of analgesics.

Liver protection:

Its ursolic acid can obviously  lower the liver enzyme ALT of laboratory white rats, induced by CCl4.

Methylswertianin possesses anti-tuberculosis effect, enhances the function of the liver, and improves the liver enzyme system.

Iridoid glycoside can lower Alanine transaminase (ALT), improve liver function, and protect the cells of the liver.


Cardiovascular protection:

Xanthones and other ingredients possess strong anti-oxidation effect, inhibing the oxidation of lipids.

In studies, it shows that the anti OFR (oxygen free radical) activity is 7 times stronger than vitamin E. The studies showed that those chemical ingredients can inhibit the damage of lab rats' angeial endothelium by inhibiting LDL, and lower the density of asymmetric dimethylarginine(ADMA) and possess anti atherosclerosis

One of the main ingredients, demethylbellidifolin,  protects the myocardium against damage due to ischemia-reperfusion in rats. [4]


Hair growth promotion effect:

The ingredient swertiamarin possesses hair growth promotion effect.

Actions & Indications:


Being used in jaundice, enteritis, dysentery, tonsillitis,  red and swollen eyes (acute conjunctivitis) , urinary tract infection, gynecological inflammatory diseases, boils and eczema. Since the 70's it is being used as folk's medicine for hepatitis B, cancer of the liver, cirrhosis of the liver with good result.

具清熱解毒, 利膽 健胃等功 效。 主要用于黄疸性肝炎, 胃腸炎, 膽囊 炎,痢疾, 急性咽喉炎,扁桃腺體炎, 目赤腫痛 (急性结膜炎), 泌尿道感染,婦科炎症, 惡瘡疥癣等症。

70年代以來,民間將川東獐牙菜用于乙肝, 肝癌, 肝硬化等症有 好的療效。

Chemical ingredients:


gentiopicroside (5-Ethenyl-6-(β-D- glucopyranosyloxy)-5,6- dihydro- 1H,3H - pyrano [3,4-C] pyran-1-one)龍膽苦甙
swertianolin獐牙菜口山酮甙 (當藥甙)
swertianolin II雛菊葉龍膽甙
amarogentin苦龍膽酯甙 [1]
bellidifolin (1,5,8-Trihydroxy-3-methoxy-9H-xanthen-9-one;1,5,8-Trihydroxy-3-methoxyxanthone;Bellidifoline;3-Methoxy-1,5,8-trihydroxyxanthen-9-one;9H-Xanthen-9-one, 1,5,8-trihydroxy-3-methoxy- (9ci);Bellidifolium;Brn 0288441)雛菊葉龍膽酮  [1]
ursolic acid熊果酸 (烏蘇酸)
oleanic acid齊墩果酸
ursolic acid熊果酸 [1]
mythylswertianin (1,8-dihydroxy-37-dimehoxyxanthone)甲基當藥噸酮 [1]
gentiancaulein (1,7-dihydroxy03,8-dimehtoxyxanthone)二甲基氧口山酮 [1]
daviditin A川東獐牙菜素 A [1]
daviditin B川東獐牙菜素B [1]
amarogentin苦龍膽酯甙 [1]
demethylbellidifolin去甲基雛菊葉龍膽酮 [1]
1,5,8-trihydroxy-3-methoxyxanthone (billidifolium)1,5,8-三羥基-3-甲氧基呫噸酮[1]



Take orally: make decoction 3 to 9 g, or make into powder form and mix into boiling water. 

External application: appropriate amount, Smash and apply to affected area.

內服,煎湯 3~9 克。或研末沖服。外用適量,研磨調敷。

Samples of formulae:



Modern Research:



Toxicity & Cautions:


This herb is mainly being used in Sichuan, Hubei, and Hunan areas. The name chuan dong means

eastern part of Sichuan province where it was originated.

本品原以 四川省的東部為生長地,故命為川東獐亞菜 。




Ref. 參考﹕

[1] Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2002 Aug;37(8):630-2.藥學學報 ﹐  2002 年 ﹐ 八 月  37(8)﹔  630-2

[Studies of the chemical constituents of Swertia davida Franch]
[Article in Chinese]
Tan GS, Xu KP, Xu PS, Hu GY, Li YJ.
Department of Pharmacy, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China.

藥學學報 ﹐  2002 年 ﹐ 八 月  37(8)﹔  630-2 作者:徐康平,徐平声,刘 巍,胡高云,余嘉政,谭桂山

[2] [3] 三湘民族醫藥網

[4] Jiang DJ, Tan GS, Zhou ZH, Xu KP, Ye F, Li YJ.
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Xiangya Medical College, Central South University, 410008 Changsha, China.

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