Pharmaceutical Latin: Radix Phytolaccae
Common English: Poke Root
Pokeberry Root
Downward Draining Herbs: Harsh Cathartics
Taste Temperature Entering Meridians Dosage


Large Intestine
Tincture: 0.1-1.5ml
Actions Indications/Syndromes

Drives out water through the urine and stool

Edema associated with Excess with severe constipation, abdominal distention and urinary difficulty

Reduces sores and carbuncles

Hot type sores (topical)

Removes Phlegm, stops coughs and resolves lumps

Pulmonary disorders

Reduces swelling and disperses nodules

Crushed and applied topically to treat swelling and nodules
  • Contraindicated during pregnancy.
  • Contraindicated for those with a weak, deficient Stomach.
  • Use only with severe Excess.
  • Use with great caution due to its high toxicity.
  • The dust can cause inflammation of the eyelids, rhinitis and gastroenteritis.

Sm. Arecae
Bing Lang
Rz. Alismatis
Ze Xie

Sm. Phaseoli
Chi Xiao Dou

Rx. Sophorae Flavescentis
Ku Shen

Edema associated with Excess and swelling with urinary difficulty.

Edema and abdominal distention, shortness of breath, and urinary difficulty.

Topically as a warm poultice for hot, painful sores.

Rx. Kansui
Gan Sui

Sm. Arecae
Bing Lang
Sm. Phaseoli
Chi Xiao Dou
Rz. Alismatis
Ze Xie
Per. Arecae
Da Fu Pi


Strongly expel water, eliminate plugged accumulation and unblock the water pathways to to treat edema in the Upper, Middle and Lower Jiaos.

Edema in the abdomen or limbs and ascites. (use very cautiously)

Ascites and edema.


  1. This is a very harsh, toxic herb.
  2. It induces diarrhea.
  3. The effects of overdose include: mild manifestations: fever, tachypnea, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with abdominal pain; severe manifestations: headache, delirium, mydriasis, and coma. The antidote is fresh Rx. Glycyrrhizae Gan Cao and fresh Sm. Phaseoli Lu Dou. These herbs are often prescribed with Shang Lu to minimize toxicity.
  4. Applied externally it resolves toxicity and reduces swelling. For boils and abscesses, it is often ground with table salt and applied.
  5. Both Shang Lu and Sm. Pharbitidis Qian Niu Zi powerfully unblock and drain outward through the urethra and anus, to treat edema associated with severe constipation, urinary difficulty and thin mucus. Qian Niu Zi guides out Stagnation, reduces accumulation, and kills parasites. Its degree of toxicity is less than Shang Lu. and can be used in both adults and children for abdominal pain due to parasitic accumulation, Food Stagnation and anorexia. Shang Lu is more toxic internally. Externally, it can be used to resolve toxicity and reduce swelling.
  6. Processed Phytolacca Zhi Shang Lu is less toxic and has a stronger draining, descending power.