Du Huo is a Chinese herbal medicine that is normally used in treatment of cold and dampness. It is a Chinese herbal medicine that is mainly found in various parts of China including Sichuan, Hubei and Anhui provinces (Zhou & Milne, 2003). The origin of this Chinese herbal medicine is the roots of herbaceous plant known as “Angelica Pubescens Maxim.f.biserrata Shan et Yuan”; which is a popular herbaceous plant that is found in the family of Umbelliferae (Sacred Lotus, 2018). Du Huo, being one of the famous Chinese herbal medicines is botanically known as Radix Angelicae Pubescentis. It is popularly known for its botanical profile of being able to release the exterior syndrome by expelling wind and dampness in the human body thus relieving them from pain.
According to traditional theories, Du Huo is an herbal medicine that has a pungent, bitter, and slightly warm herbal medicine (Hou & Jin, 2012). By virtue of having these properties, this herbal plant has been able to utilize kidney and bladder as its main channels to the human body.
As stated in the properties section, Du Huo has features of being pungent, bitter and fragrant (F. Builders, 2019). These features are very vital to its medicinal value in terms of its contributions to its therapeutic actions. For instance, according to traditional theories, it is evident that by being pungent, bitter and fragrant, Du Huo has the ability to carry out various actions including the actions of diffusing, eradicating, warming and combing up body pains and headaches (Egger, Love, & Doherty, 2013). This is to mean that through these features, Du Huo has exemplary potentials to dispel wind-damp, as well as in alleviating arthralgia. This way, as Hou & Jin (2012) indicate, Du Huo is effectively and excellently being used in treatment for all types of arthralgia syndromes that emerges in humans due to various causes such as dampness, cold and wind.
It has been reported by Stevenson, Shusheng, & Chun-su (2014), that regardless of how acute or chronic an arthralgia syndrome is, Du Huo is able to effectively eliminate such as syndrome due to its properties of being pungent, bitter and fragrant. This way, these features are said to enable this herbal medicine to excellently disperse, eliminate and dredge arthralgia syndromes (Zhou & Milne, 2003). As time evolved, the ability of Du Huo to be pungent, bitter and fragrant has allowed the doctors to easily combine it with other herbs like Fang Feng and Fu Zi, all which are then soaked together in wine thus forming a complex cold-dispersing herbal medicine known as Du Huo Jiu (Egger, Love, & Doherty, 2013). Du Huo, when consumed by a human enters the human bladder and kidney meridians, and then proceeds to move in a descending direction , thus allowing it to effectively dispel wind-damp from the lower portions of the human body, as compared to its corresponding herbal medicine known as Qiang Huo (F. Builders, 2019). So, with such features, Du Huo is highly preferred for treatment of human waist and legs pains caused by pathogenic wind, cold and dampness.
In addition to its ability to offer various therapeutic actions including dispelling wind-damp from the lower portions of the human body, Du Huo has been one of the ideal herbal medicines that is mainly combined with liver-kidney tonics, as well as with blood activating and blood nourishing herbs like Du Zhong, Dang Gui and Sang Ji Sheng so as to treat concomitant symptoms in human’s like deficiency of liver and kidney, as well as to treat human symptoms such as insufficiency of qi and blood (Sacred Lotus, 2018). The ability of Du Huo to be effectively pooled with liver-kidney stimulants and blood stimulating herbs has been due to its key features of being pungent and flagrant (Zhou & Milne, 2003). Such features allows it to effectively be compatible with the above blood-activating herbs such as Du Zhong, and thus making it an ideal herbal item that is used in making drugs that are used in treating the human’s concomitant symptoms.
Secondly, as stated earlier, Du Huo is an herbal medicine that is pungent and warm. By virtue of these two properties, Du Huo has been able to effectively release the exterior syndrome in the human body (Flaws & Sionneau, 2001). Also, due to its ability to be bitter and warm, Du Huo herbal medicine has been able to treat the heavy sensation of the human’s head that comes as a result of cold and dampness (Hou & Jin, 2012). With such features, Du Huo has been said to have moderate impacts similar to that of Qiang Huo. This way, it has been said to be highly suitable in treatment of human’s head-pain and overall human body pain that mainly emerge as a result of affections of exogenous wind clod with dampness.
Additionally, due to its warm and pungent features, Du Huo has been able to serve as a cure of dermal pruritus (Zhou & Milne, 2003). Due to its pungent and warm features, Du Huo has the ability to be administered to human body orally or through external washout; and this allows it to be an effective dispeller of wind and remover of dampness, toothache and headache (Flaws & Sionneau, 2001). This has made it an effective pain alleviator in human body.
For proper functioning and proper working of Du Huo in human body, the patients using this herbal medicine should understand several cautions and contraindications that come along with its use (Stevenson, Shusheng, & Chun-su, 2014). For instance, one of the key cautions that patients using this traditional Chinese herbal medicine should take is to ensure that they are highly cautious with the quantity of Du Huo they take when treating special diseases such as Yin or blood deficiency (Zhou & Milne, 2003). The fact remains that Du Huo is a herbal medicine that is pungent and bitter. When a human body is suffering from Yin, it is highly prone to pungent substances because such a body has a sensitive stomach that is highly vulnerable to irritation (Sacred Lotus, 2018). So, by the virtue of being a drug that has a pungent feature, Du Huo has a high chance of causing stomach irritation to person suffering from Yin or blood deficiency. The fact that Du Huo is prudent, fragrant, bitter and dry means that this herbal medicine can readily create immense damage to the human’s Yin, and thus for this reason, patients suffering from blood deficiency should be able to cautiously ensure they use the actual required quantity of Du Huo, as this will prevent him from suffering from stomach irritation.
Secondly, the other key contraindication related to Du Huo herb is that it should not be used in the treatment of Liver Wind (NI, 2011). According to Hou & Jin, (2012), Liver Wind is a disease that occurs inside the human’s liver, which is a human’s body part that is always surrounded by body fluid. In most cases, due to its fragrant, pungent and bitter nature, Du Huo can easily cause a huge damage to human’s body parts that have body fluids such as liver (Flaws & Sionneau, 2001). This way, it is always important to ensure that patients suffering from Liver Wind should ensure they cautiously utilize Du Huo as a treatment herbal drug, as this type of drug can easily cause a huge damage to such body-fluid-filled areas.
Lastly, as it is indicated by F. Builders (2019), patients using Du Huo for treatment of their illnesses should ensure that they take the right quantity of this herbal medicine. This is due to the fact that an overdose of Du Huo in a patient’s body can result to human body poisoning (Egger, Love, & Doherty, 2013). Overdose of Du Huo mainly lead to severe body symptoms such as agitation, total body paralysis, hallucinations and also in severe overdose can result to death.
As stated by traditional theories, Du Huo herbal medicine can effectively be used to relieve pain through expelling, and clearing of dampness and cold (NI, 2011). However, in accordance to modern clinical and lab aspects, such claims haven’t been well explained, as there is no lab-proven way on how Du Huo works so as to help the human’s body fight against cold and dampness (Zhou & Milne, 2003). However, as stated by Egger, Love, & Doherty (2013), some modern clinical tries carried in China have proved that Du Huo can excellently treat the heavy sensation of human’s head that comes as a result of cold and dampness, due to its ability to carry out various actions including dispensation, elimination as well as dredging of human pain. This way, though some clarity has been established regarding the role of Du Huo in helping human’s treat and cure dampness and headaches, the fact remains that the modern medical experts still have a lot to do in establishing the actual usefulness of Du Huo to human’s effort to fight against pain, headache and dampness.
From the above paper, it is evident that Du Huo is one of the leading Chinese herbal medicines that are normally used in treatment of cold and dampness. As argued by Egger, Love, & Doherty (2013), it is apparent that due to its pungent, bitter and fragrant features, Du Huo has the ability to carry out various actions including the actions of diffusing, eradicating, warming and combing up body pains and headaches. From such evidence, it means that herbal medicines is a very vital part of the medical growth and development in China, as it still continues to play a key role in the curative and therapeutic roles in the modern day Chinese medicine. However, for such herbal medicines such as Du Huo to continue to be legally allowed to play their key role in the Chinese and global medicine, more modern clinical and lab aspects ought to be carried out to ascertain the effectiveness of these traditional medicines in the modern-day global medicine.
- Egger, C. M., Love, L., & Doherty, T. (2013). Pain Management in Veterinary Practice. John Wiley & Sons.
- F. Builders, P. (2019). Introductory Chapter: Introduction to Herbal Medicine. Herbal Medicine. doi:10.5772/intechopen.78661
- Flaws, B., & Sionneau, P. (2001). The Treatment of Modern Western Medical Diseases with Chinese Medicine: A Textbook & Clinical Manual. Blue Poppy Enterprises.
- Hou, J. P., & Jin, Y. (2012). The Healing Power of Chinese Herbs and Medicinal Recipes. Routledge.
- NI, D. M. (2011). The Natural Health Dictionary: Your comprehensive A-to Z guide for healing with herbs, nutrition, supplements, and secret remedies. Ask Dr. Mao.
- Sacred Lotus. (2018). Chinese Herb: Du Huo (Pubescent Angelica Root), Radix Angelicae Pubescentis. Retrieved from https://www.sacredlotus.com/go/chinese-herbs/substance/du-huo-pubescent-angelica-root
- Stevenson, X., Shusheng, T., & Chun-su, Y. (2014). Handbook Of Traditional Chinese Medicine (In 3 Volumes). World Scientific.
- Zhou, J., & Milne, G. W. (2003). Traditional Chinese Medicines: Molecular Structures, Natural Sources and Applications. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.