Coptis chinensis, also known as Huang lian or Chinese Goldthread, is a perennial herb native to China. Considered to be one of the fundamental homeopathic herbs, it is used by homeopathic medicine practitioners to relieve fever, reduce eye redness, and alleviate sore throats. Some practitioners recommend it to treat diarrhea, vomiting, or dysentery. Some people believe the herb can treat skin conditions, such as acne, burns, abscesses, and boils. Many people use the root of the herb to heal canker sores, ulcers on the tongue, toothaches, and swollen gums.
A mid-sized herb, Coptis chinensis grows to about 20 inches (50.8 cm) in height. It typically has leaves located at the base of the stem and small flowers that are white or light green in color. The root, usually harvested in the fall, is the part of the herb used for medical purposes.
Homeopathic medicine practitioners believe that Coptis chinensis can cure a variety of ailments. The herb contains many useful properties, such as berberine. Berberine is a known antibacterial, antidiarrheal, and amebicidal. As a result, it is believed to treat many stomach conditions, some skin conditions, and other illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus, fevers, sore throats, toothaches, and canker sores.
If someone were to taste Coptis chinensis, they would say it has a bitter flavor. The most common preparation of the herb is to boil the root in water. One teaspoon of the decoction can be used in one cup of water. If a dry liquid extract is used, many practitioners recommend somewhere between ten and 60 drops of Coptis chinensis, up to four times each day.
Although it is most commonly used for medical purposes, Coptis chinensis is also used for other purposes. The roots contain a yellow pigment that is quite bright, so many people use it for dying cloth. It is often used by some people in gardening and landscaping as a ground cover as well.
Most homeopathic medicine practitioners consider Coptis chinensis to be a safe herb. In general, there are no known toxicities related with this herb, even though it is part of a family of toxic herbs. As a result, people are advised to use this plant with caution. Women who are pregnant are specifically warned against using it because it has been reported to cause uterine contractions leading to miscarriage of the baby. It is always best to consult an expert in homeopathic medicine or a medical doctor before taking this or any herbal remedy.