Amur Cork Tree (Phellodendron amurense)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Amur Cork Tree
Phellodendron amurense

A yellow dye is obtained from the inner bark[178].

An oil obtained from the seed has insecticidal properties similar to pyrethrum[57].

Wood – heavy, hard, strong, close grained. Used for furniture[74].

The bark is a cork substitute[74].

  • Medicinal Use

    Amur cork tree, called Huang Bai in China, is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs, but one that should be used with care[218, 254]. A strongly bitter remedy, the bark acts strongly on the kidneys and is regarded as a detoxicant for hot damp conditions[238]. Recent research has shown that the plant is useful in the treatment of meningitis and conjunctivitis[254]. Huang Bai should only be used under professional supervision and should not be take during pregnancy[254].

    The bark is alterative, antibacterial, antirheumatic, aphrodisiac, bitter stomachic, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, ophthalmic, skin, vasodilator and tonic[4, 61, 174, 176, 178, 218, 238, 279]. It is taken internally in the treatment of acute diarrhoea, dysentery, jaundice, vaginal infections including Trichomonas, acute urinary tract infections, enteritis, boils, abscesses, night sweats and skin diseases[238, 254]. It is commonly used in conjunction with Scutellaria baicalensis and Coptis chinensis in a preparation called ‘injection of three yellow herbs'[238]. It is given intramuscularly for upper respiratory tract infections[238]. The bark of 10 year old trees is harvested in the winter or spring and dried for later use[238, 254].

    The fruit is expectorant[218].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit[105, 177]. The fruit is about 1cm in diameter and has a strong scent of turpentine[200].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed requires 2 months cold stratification, sow in late winter in a cold frame[78, 113]. Germination is usually good. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up in autumn and over winter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage[78]. Root cuttings – obtain in December and store in leafmold in a warm place for 3 weeks. Cut into 4cm lengths and plant horizontally in pots. Grow on in a warm greenhouse. Good percentage[78].
Prefers a moisture retentive well-drained deep rich loam in full sun[11, 200]. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil[238]. Succeeds in shallow chalky soils[245]. Grows best in areas with long hot summers[200]. Plants are gross feeders and require a rich soil if they are to perform well[11]. Dormant plants are fully hardy in Britain[188], but the young growth is liable to damage from late spring frosts[11, 188, 200]. The leaves are aromatic[188]. This species is occasionally cultivated for timber in S.E. Europe[50]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – N. China and Manchuria.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.