Today’s article is about an herb from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): yunnan baiyao for dogs with cancer. Yes, the chinese herb, also spelled yunnan paiyao, can be used in some cancers.
This episode of our podcast Dog Cancer Answers addresses yunnan baiyao.
Bleeding Cancer Causes
Some canine cancers are associated with bleeding, like internal hemangiosarcomas. Hemangiosarcomas are tumors that occur in the linings of the blood vessels, so they can be pretty bloody.
But even other types of cancers can bleed. For example, sometimes chemotherapy drugs increase bleeding tendencies. Sometimes tumors rupture, and internal bleeding results.
Again, not every tumor is bloody. But when they are, finding a way to control that internal bleeding is a good idea.
Especially nice would be something that can be given in a capsule at home.
A Supplement That Stops Bleeding??
Conventional veterinary medicine teaches us that there is no such thing. But hey, let’s remember: there is more to healing than what we may have been exposed to here in the West. My alma mater is consistently ranked number one or two best veterinary school in the nation, but I didn’t learn about supplements until I started my own studies.
Yunnan baiyao is a good example. This is a well-known treatment in China. Its name means “The white medicine from Yunnan province.”
It’s well researched in China, and, perhaps more importantly, comes from a medical tradition that has been in existence for thousands of years. Our Western medical researchers are beginning to show interest, and so far, most studies here show that there are reasons to study it more.
Yunnan baiyao is a blend of herbal ingredients, not one single plant. Here in the West, we’re used to thinking about individual treatments for individual problems. Supplements are usually made of only one ingredient.
That’s not the way TCM thinks about remedies or treatments. With their thousands of years of experience, they often make blends of several different components. Yunnan baiyao is no exception.
The precise recipe is a guarded secret in China, but the ingredients include various yam roots, ox gall bladder, pseudoginseng, and sweet geranium.
How Yunnan Baiyao Works (we think)
It seems that yunnan baiyao activates the platelets, the tiny blood cells that help form clots. Why is this important?
Well, because blood clots are the first step in a scab. When platelets are active, they form little plugs, or little corks. That’s the way they stop a hemorrhage.
Think of the last time you cut yourself. Remember how the blood flowed, and then slowed down, and a red oozy mass formed? That’s your platelets in action.
So we think when a dog takes yunnan baiyao, the herbal formula activates the platelets, which slow bleeding down and help stop it.
Keep in mind that this remedy is not fully understood, and there are some veterinarians who just don’t think using it is worth it. But there are plenty who disagree and feel that as long as it’s safe, using it in serious cases is warranted.
For more tools to help fight dog cancer that you may have not heard of, get a copy of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
When To Use Yunnan Baiyao
I wouldn’t recommend using yunnan baiyao without consulting with your veterinarian. It might not be necessary for your dog’s specific case. But if your dog is having internal bleeds, or if your dog has the bloody cancer called hemangiosarcoma, your veterinarian might want to use it to help control bleeding.
How much to give? The following dosing is a bit rough. These are general guidelines that you should check out with your veterinarian:
- For dogs under 10 lbs, give 1 capsule by mouth one time a day.
- For dogs from 10 to 30 lbs, give 1 capsule by mouth two times a day.
- For dogs above 30 but less than 60 lbs, give 2 capsules two times a day.
- For dogs above 60 lbs, give 2 capsules three times a day.
Do not give Yunnan baiyao on an ongoing basis. It is best to give it on alternating days, or for a 5-day on, 5-day off cycle that repeats. You should also be aware that there is some evidence that this medicine may elevate liver markers if given daily for prolonged periods of time.
Best to all,
Editor’s Note: Where to Buy Yunnan Baiyao
It is not as easy to get yunnan baiyao online as it once was. If your veterinarian doesn’t sell it (and most who recommend it do), the best bet is to check your local supplement store, particularly if they stock other TCM remedies. If they don’t stock it, you might ask your veterinarian to order it for you from Jin Tang http://tcvmherbal.com/. You can also try Pine Street Clinic: https://pinestreetclinic.com/products/yunnan-baiyao
Further Reading & References
Brennen McKenzie, MA, MSc, VMD, cVMA, Yunnan baiyao for patients with hemorrhage, neoplasia, Veterinary Practice News, December 11, 2017
Tansey C, Wiebe ML, Hybki GC, Patlogar JE, Murphy LA, Bianco D, Nakamura RK. A prospective evaluation of oral Yunnan Baiyao therapy on thromboleastographic parameters in apparently healthy dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2018 May;28(3):221-225. doi: 10.1111/vec.12712. PMID: 29727528
Morris BR, deLaforcade A, Lee J, Palmisano J, Meola D, Rozanski E. Effects of in vitro hemodilution with crystalloids, colloids, and plasma on canine whole blood coagulation as determined by kaolin-activated thromboelastography. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2016 Jan-Feb;26(1):58-63. doi: 10.1111/vec.12345. Epub 2015 Jul 28. PubMed PMID: 26220153.
Ness SL, Frye AH, Divers TJ, Rishniw M, Erb HN, Brooks MB. Randomized placebo-controlled study of the effects of Yunnan Baiyao on hemostasis in horses. Am J Vet Res. 2017 Aug;78(8):969-976. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.78.8.969. PubMed PMID: 28738008.
Lee A, Boysen SR, Sanderson J, Wagg CR, Chalhoub S. Effects of Yunnan Baiyao on blood coagulation parameters in beagles measured using kaolin activated thromboelastography and more traditional methods. Int J Vet Sci Med. 2017 Apr 12;5(1):53-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ijvsm.2017.01.004. eCollection 2017 Jun. PMID: 30255049
Wiinberg B, Jensen AL, Rojkjaer R, Johansson P, Kjelgaard-Hansen M, Kristensen AT. Validation of human recombinant tissue factor-activated thromboelastography on citrated whole blood from clinically healthy dogs. Vet Clin Pathol. 2005 Dec;34(4):389-93. PubMed PMID: 16270265.
Frederick J, Boysen S, Wagg C, Chalhoub S. The effects of oral administration of Yunnan Baiyao on blood coagulation in beagle dogs as measured by kaolin-activated thromboelastography and buccal mucosal bleeding times. Can J Vet Res. 2017;81(1):41-45.
How One Company Brought Traditional Chinese Medicine To The Modern World And Made Billions, Forbes, Michael Schuman
Yunnan Baiyao – What’s the Clinical Evidence? by L. Graham
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.