Herbology is one branch of the field of integrative, or complementary and alternative, veterinary medicine (CAVM). With growing interest around integrating these techniques into daily practice, veterinary herbal is gaining attention. One such Chinese herbal formula, called yunnan paiyao or yunnan baiyao, is commonly used to stop bleeding and promote wound healing and relieve pain. I am interested in it because I have had several patients respond surprisingly well to it. So, I decided to learn a bit more about it.
It translates as “White Medicine from Yunnan Province, having been developed in the Yunnan Province of China over 80 years ago. The exact herbal formula is not completely clear, with variations including yam root, sweet geranium, and ox gall bladder to name a few. Grossly, it appears to be a uniform tan colored powder with a sweetly pungent odor.
It helps hemostasis by stabilizing platelet plugs. Thus it enhances platelet function, furthermore helping the body to form clots when needed, and to prevent excessive blood loss in diseases and cancers that cause hemorrhage. It has been used during surgery, resulting in less need for blood transfusions. Additionally, yunnan paiyao is also thought to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, yunnan paiyao stops bleeding by removing or dispersing stagnant blood,while aiding the liver in regulating blood and its ability to aid in blood clotting. It is used clinically, both orally and topically, in everything from birds to elephants.. It is used internally and externally for bleeding tumors, sheared nails/hooves, surgical bleeds, nasal procedures, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, abdominal trauma, surgery for ear hematoma, oral and dental surgery and spays performed during heat.
The doses vary depending on the source. It is widely available, via mail order or in local Asian markets and health food stores. It is important to buy from reputable retailers, as the quality and contents of these formulas can vary greatly, and the risk of heavy metal contamination is a concern.
It is relatively inexpensive, available in foil sheets of gelatin capsules, 250 mg each.
If your doctor recommends it for your pet, consider it.