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Yunnan Baiyao (or Yunnan Paiyao; simplified Chinese: 云南白药; traditional Chinese: 雲南白藥; pinyin: Yúnnán Báiyào; literally: "Yunnan White Drug") is a hemostatic powdered medicine famous for being carried by the Vietcong to stop bleeding during the Vietnam War. The medicine, developed by Qu Huangzhang in 1902, is designated as one of two Class-1 protected traditional medicines, which gives it 20 years protection. In China, its reputation is equal to that of penicillin in the U.S. It is founded and manufactured by a state-owned enterprise, Yunnan Baiyao Group (SZSE: 000538) in Yunnan, China.
Yunnan Baiyao was developed by a Chinese man named Qu Huanzhang from Jiangchuan County in Yunnan Province. He had set out to explore the entire region and taste its hundreds of herbs. In 1902, he formulated "Qu Huanzhang Panacea" which became Yunnan Baiyao ("White medicine from Yunnan") In the massive Battle of Taierzhuang of 1938 (between Chinese and Japanese forces), Mr. Qu Huanzhang donated more than 30,000 bottles of Yunnan Baiyao to the army, thereby saving the lives of many soldiers.
As an indication of its value, it is noted that during the 1940s, army commander Wu Xuexian was seriously injured in his right leg. The French hospital in Kunming (capital of Yunnan) recommended amputation to save Wu's life. Wu turned to Qu for help, and to everyone's surprise, recovered without the need for an amputation. Yunnan Baiyao gained the reputation as a miracle remedy. After the death of Qu, his wife, Liao Lanying, donated the secret prescription to the government.
Its exact formula is a closely guarded secret. The company website mentions that the steroid progesterone is in the formula, in addition to several saponins, alkaloids and calcium phosphate. The separate herbal ingredients are reportedly made up by thirteen separate teams, none of whom have any knowledge of the ingredients the other teams are mixing. The individual mixed components are then combined by a further team, who have no knowledge of what constitutes them but knows the proportions in which they are combined.
In December 2010, purported lists of ingredients were published on the websites of Amazon.com and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The list supposedly containing eight active ingredients of a liquid form of the drug were found in a document published on the FDA website that contains correspondence between the FDA and a distributor of the drug. Ingredient lists were also present in the product information sections for the powdered and capsule forms of the drug on Amazon.com. The proportions and exact manufacturing processes are still unknown.
- Materia Medica
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- FDA document containing ingredients
- Product information of Yunnan Baiyao[dead link]