Yunnan Baiyao Clinical Evidence

Yunnan Baiyao, a traditional Chinese medicine, has been the subject of various scientific studies to evaluate its efficacy and safety. Here is an overview of the clinical evidence available:

1. Hemostatic Properties

  • In Vitro Studies:
    • Studies have demonstrated that Yunnan Baiyao can influence platelet aggregation and coagulation. It appears to cause ultrastructural changes in platelets and promotes the release of platelet constituents, which may contribute to its hemostatic effects.
    • For instance, one study indicated that Yunnan Baiyao affects the expression of glycoproteins on platelets, which play a role in the coagulation process.
  • Animal Studies:
    • In canine models, Yunnan Baiyao has been used to control bleeding, with mixed results. Some studies found that it effectively reduced bleeding time and improved clotting parameters, while others reported no significant differences compared to placebo.

2. Wound Healing and Pain Relief

  • Topical Application:
    • Yunnan Baiyao is traditionally applied topically to wounds for its supposed healing properties. Some clinical observations and case studies suggest that it may accelerate wound healing and reduce pain, but controlled clinical trials are limited.

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • In Vitro Studies:
    • Some studies have explored the potential benefits of Yunnan Baiyao in treating rheumatoid arthritis. In vitro research has suggested that it might have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially beneficial in managing arthritis. However, these findings have not been conclusively confirmed in human clinical trials.

4. Cancer

  • Hemangiosarcoma:
    • An in vitro study found that Yunnan Baiyao induces dose- and time-dependent apoptosis (cell death) in canine hemangiosarcoma cell lines. This suggests a potential anti-cancer effect, though its application in actual patient treatment remains unverified.
  • Clinical Observations:
    • Anecdotal evidence from veterinary use indicates that Yunnan Baiyao may help manage bleeding in animals with hemangiosarcoma, but rigorous clinical trials are lacking.

5. Safety Concerns

  • Heavy Metal Content:
    • Some studies have reported that Yunnan Baiyao contains heavy metals within permissible limits. However, the long-term impact of these findings is not well understood, and more research is needed to fully assess safety.
  • Contamination Issues:
    • In early 2013, officials in Sichuan province banned the sale of Yunnan Baiyao powders and pills due to defective packaging that led to water contamination. Additionally, mold contamination was found in some products, leading to temporary bans and recalls in Hong Kong and Macau.

6. Regulatory Status and Efficacy

  • United States (FDA):
    • Yunnan Baiyao products are classified as dietary supplements or new drugs. The FDA has not generally recognized them as safe and effective for treating conditions such as wounds, pain, and hemorrhage.
  • European Union (EMA):
    • The European Medicines Agency has not assessed the safety or efficacy of Yunnan Baiyao as a hemostatic agent.
  • Australia (ARTG):
    • Yunnan Baiyao is not listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, meaning its quality, safety, or efficacy has not been established by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.


While Yunnan Baiyao has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine and some in vitro and animal studies suggest potential benefits, high-quality clinical evidence supporting its efficacy and safety in humans is limited. Regulatory bodies like the FDA, EMA, and ARTG have not recognized it as a proven treatment for specific conditions. Therefore, while it may have promising properties, more rigorous and comprehensive clinical trials are needed to establish its therapeutic value and safety profile.