Phellodendron amurense

Last Updated: November 18 2022

Phellodendron amurense (PA), also known as CorkTree, is a chinese herb used to historically treat different forms of inflammation and bone pain. There is not too much Western research on this herb.

Phellodendron amurense is most often used for

Don't miss out on the latest research

Become an Examine Insider for FREE to stay on top of the latest nutrition research, supplement myths, and more


    Sources and Components



    Phellodendron amurense (Henceforth PA) is tree from the overarching family Rutaceae. It is more specifically known as 'Amur Cork Tree' and is known as one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.[1]

    A supplement known as 'Cortex Phellodendri' may be sold and, if the species is unspecified, may be a combination of both the species P. Amurense as well as P. Chinensis.[1] These plants are similar for the most part, but the Chinensis species possesses a higher berberine (360% higher) and anti-oxidant (28% higher) content while the species Amurense possesses a higher total protoberberine alkaloid (25% higher) and flavonoid (11% higher) content; Chinensis contains mostly only Berberine in the protoberberine alkaloid class.[1][2][3] There is not too much practical difference between the two, although only Chinensis is implicated in slowing down intestinal motility.[1]



    As a herbal supplement, Phellodendron Amurense contains a variety of compounds including:


    Interactions with fat metabolism

    Phellodendron amurense (PA) has been noted to have beta-2-adrenergic agonistic properties[8] with an EC(50) 50% higher than the plant which bears Synephrine (denoting more of a dose needed to achieve the same effects).


    Joint and Bone health

    Phellodendron amurense (PA) has been shown in humans to alleviate pain associated with osteoarthritis[9] perhaps through alleviating inflammation's (IL-1a) degradative effects on sulfated glycosaminoglycan in joints.[10]

    The component berberine has been shown to promote osteoblast differentiation, leading it to possible be an adjunct treatment for bone health.[11]


    Interactions with Neurology

    Phellodendron Amurense has been implicated in preserving neural function at 100-200mg/kg bodyweight (IP injections) in rats administered scopolamine, an anticholinergic research toxin.[12] Benefit was seen with both Phellodendron as well as one of its components, Berberine, in isolation.[12] 200mg/kg bodyweight Phellodendron showed similar effects to the group not given scopolamine, and the group given Phellodendron without the toxin did not experience enhanced effects; suggesting a recovery of deficit but not unilateral improvement.[12]


    Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial effects

    Many anti-oxidant effects of PA are mediated vicariously through an increase in in vivo glutathione levels via stimulation of the Glutathione S-Transferase enzyme via a peptide found in PA.[13]

    The anti-microbial activity of Phellodendron Amurense is most likely due to its protoberberine content and high Berberine content relative to other herbs.


    Interactions with Hormones



    In a screening of medicinal herbs for estrogenicity, Phellodendron Amurense failed to exert any estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects in concentrations below 1mg/mL.[14]


    Nutrient-Nutrient Interactions


    Magnolia Officinalis and Relora

    A patented combination of Phellodendron Amurense and Magnolia Officinalis is known as 'Relora', known for its properties of stress and anxiety reduction.[15][16][17] Although preliminary, it shows promise in reducing overeating related to stress, an effect similar to that of Rhodiola Rosea.[17]

    1.^Chen ML, Xian YF, Ip SP, Tsai SH, Yang JY, Che CTChemical and biological differentiation of Cortex Phellodendri Chinensis and Cortex Phellodendri AmurensisPlanta Med.(2010 Oct)
    6.^Miyake M, Inaba N, Ayano S, Ozaki Y, Maeda H, Ifuku Y, Hasegawa SLimonoids in Phellodendron amurense (Kihada)Yakugaku Zasshi.(1992 May)
    7.^Steinmann D, Baumgartner RR, Heiss EH, Bartenstein S, Atanasov AG, Dirsch VM, Ganzera M, Stuppner HBioguided isolation of (9Z)-octadec-9-enoic acid from Phellodendron amurense Rupr. and identification of fatty acids as PTP1B inhibitorsPlanta Med.(2012 Feb)
    8.^Wang H, Li SY, Zhao CK, Zeng XA system for screening agonists targeting beta2-adrenoceptor from Chinese medicinal herbsJ Zhejiang Univ Sci B.(2009 Apr)
    9.^Oben J, Enonchong E, Kothari S, Chambliss W, Garrison R, Dolnick DPhellodendron and Citrus extracts benefit joint health in osteoarthritis patients: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled studyNutr J.(2009 Aug 14)
    10.^Kim JH, Huh JE, Baek YH, Lee JD, Choi DY, Park DSEffect of Phellodendron amurense in protecting human osteoarthritic cartilage and chondrocytesJ Ethnopharmacol.(2011 Mar 24)
    11.^Lee HW, Suh JH, Kim HN, Kim AY, Park SY, Shin CS, Choi JY, Kim JBBerberine promotes osteoblast differentiation by Runx2 activation with p38 MAPKJ Bone Miner Res.(2008 Aug)
    14.^Kim IG, Kang SC, Kim KC, Choung ES, Zee OPScreening of estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities from medicinal plantsEnviron Toxicol Pharmacol.(2008 Jan)
    16.^Sufka KJ, Roach JT, Chambliss WG Jr, Broom SL, Feltenstein MW, Wyandt CM, Zeng LAnxiolytic properties of botanical extracts in the chick social separation-stress procedurePsychopharmacology (Berl).(2001 Jan 1)