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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 827380, 7 pages
Review Article

Discrimination and Proper Use of Polygoni Multiflori Radix, Cynanchi Wilfordii Radix, and Cynanchi Auriculati Radix in Korea: A Descriptive Review

College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 26 June 2015; Revised 31 August 2015; Accepted 31 August 2015

Academic Editor: Salih Mollahaliloglu

Copyright © 2015 Beom-Joon Lee and Kyungjin Lee. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polygoni Multiflori Radix (PMR), Cynanchi Wilfordii Radix (CWR), and Cynanchi Auriculati Radix (CAR) are very popular herbal medicines in Traditional Korean Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Kampo Medicine. However, the plant origins, efficacies, and traditional uses of these herbal medicines differ. In Korea, PMR is called Ha Su O (He Shou Wu in China), and CWR is called Baek Ha Su O or Baek Su O (Bai Shou Wu in China). Baek Su O refers to CWR in Korea and CAR in China. CAR has not been used as a traditional herbal medicine, and it cannot be legally used as a food or food ingredient in Korea. However, CAR is cultivated in Korea and imported from China. Because the morphology of CWR and CAR is very similar, they are often confused and misused in Korea. This review discusses the reasons for the confusion and misuse of these substances in Korea and provides the exact plant origins, efficacies, uses, components, and toxicities of PMR, CWR, and CAR so that they can be correctly understood and used.