English Name: bletilla tuber
Pharmaceutical Name: Rhizoma Bletillae
Medica Category: Stop-Bleeding Herbs
Properties: Bai Ji enters the Lung, Stomach, and Liver channels; it is bitter, sweet, and astringent in nature and cool in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Bai Ji is the root/rhizome of the hyacinth orchid (aka—Chinese gourd orchid– Bletilla striata (Thunb.) Reichb. f.), a flowering plant related to the hyacinth native to Southeast/Central China and Japan with striped leaves and cattleya of purple blossoms that bloom in the summer. The roots are dug up in the late fall after the leaves have withered and dried for use as medicine.
Bai Ji cools heat, nourishes yin, and helps retain fluids and is an herb of choice for addressing hemoptysis (cough with blood in the sputum) due to Lung heat or Lung yin deficiency as well as other forms of bleeding involving the gastrointestinal tract (due to its strong binding quality).
Bai Ji reduces swelling and promotes the generation of flesh and is used topically in its powdered form to treat chronic, non-healing sores of various kinds.
Notes for students/practitioners: Bai Ji should be used with caution in cases of hemoptysis from exterior infection (wind invasion), early-stage lung abscesses, and excessive bleeding in the Lung and Stomach caused by excess fire and toxins;
Use of Bai Ji is incompatible with any form of aconite (Fu Zi, Chuan Wu (Wu Tou), or Cao Wu).
Lastly, avoid using heat clearing herbs with Bai Ji once sores have already ulcerated.