Part Used: Dried rhizome without rootlets
Coptis is the underground stem (rhizome) or root of the plant Coptis chinensis. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a stomachic (a medication to improve digestive functions) and an antiseptic. It is a low, creeping perennial evergreen that grows in damp boggy spots in woods. The plant produces a mass of thread-like golden rhizomes that are used in healing. This herb is native to the cooler parts of Asia and is extensively cultivated in Szechwan province in China. It has the properties like anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, vasodilator, antipyretic, cholagogue, etc. The anti-inflammatory property of Coptis makes it especially effective with heat conditions associated with nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. It stimulates the flow of bile, relieving damp heat, making it effective for hepatitis, gallstones, cirrhosis, jaundice, and venereal diseases, including herpes simplex. It is also very effective for infections, fevers, conjunctivitis, inflammation, abscesses, and hemorrhage. It is useful for oral ulcers. In addition, it can be topically applied for scabies and external infections. It is also useful for more serious diseases, from leukemia and cancer to tuberculosis and typhoid fever.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Coptis has been used to treat conditions associated with excess dampness and excess heat, such as insomnia and irritability. It is also used to treat such gastrointestinal problems as diarrhea, vomiting, and bacterial dysentery. It is also used to treat chronic gall bladder inflammations. Other gastrointestinal conditions treated with Coptis include abdominal cramps, acid reflux (heartburn), ineffective or painful bowel movements, and bloody stools. It is effective as a hemostatic, which means that it can be used to stop bleeding. In some laboratory experiments, Coptis reduced blood-cholesterol levels and induced the production of chemicals that hinder the development of atherosclerosis.