Oriental Arborvitae

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Bai Zhi Ren, Biota d’Orient, Biota Orientalis, Ce Bai, Ce Bai Ye, Chinese Arborvitae, Platycladus orientalis, Retinispora juniperoides, Thuja orientalis, Thuya de Chine, Thuya d’Orient, Tuya Oriental.


Oriental arborvitae is a plant. The seeds and leafy twigs are used to make medicine.

Oriental arborvitae is used for pain, including headache and muscle and joint pain (rheumatism); sleep problems (insomnia); anxiety; and ongoing depression and fatigue (neurasthenia). It is also used for digestive tract problems including constipation, nausea, and narrowing of the intestine. Other uses include treatment of cancer, seizures, fever, parasite infections, excessive perspiration, and water retention.

Some people take oriental arborvitae for excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) and blood in vomit, stools, and urine.

Women take oriental arborvitae for menstrual problems including cramps, heavy flow, and irregular periods.

Some men take it for ejaculation problems.

Oriental arborvitae is applied directly to the affected area for nosebleed, hemorrhoids, burns, and scalds. It is also applied to the scalp as a hair tonic and to the skin as an antiperspirant.

How does it work?

Oriental arborvitae might have some activity against certain types of bacteria.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Headache.
  • Muscle and join pain (rheumatism).
  • Anxiety.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Ongoing depression and fatigue (neurasthenia).
  • Constipation.
  • Nausea.
  • Cancer.
  • Fever.
  • Parasite infections.
  • Seizures.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Ejaculation problems.
  • Excessive bleeding (hemorrhage).
  • Excessive perspiration, when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
  • Burns, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of oriental arborvitae for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Oriental arborvitae might be safe when taken short-term in small amounts. However, it contains a toxic compound called thujone, which can cause restlessness, mental changes, vomiting, dizziness, tremors, kidney damage, seizures and other side effects, especially when taken long-term or in large amounts.

There isn’t enough information to know whether oriental arborvitae can be safely applied to the skin.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It might be UNSAFE to use oriental arborvitae if you are pregnant. It contains a chemical called thujone, which might cause the uterus to contract. Don’t use oriental arborvitae if you are pregnant.

Porphyria, an inherited condition. Oriental arborvitae might make porphyria worse.

Kidney problems: Oriental arborvitae might make kidney disease worse.


The appropriate dose of oriental arborvitae depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for oriental arborvitae. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Chen CP, Lin CC, Namba T. Screening of Taiwanese crude drugs for antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans. J Ethnopharmacol 1989;27:285-95. View abstract.

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