Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Remove impurities, wash, soak in water, cut in thick slices and dry.
Dosage: 6-12 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Mu Dan Pi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hematemesis Nosebleed Amenorrhea Dysmenorrhea Sores Carbuncles
Contraindications*: Not recommended for patients with weak Spleen and Stomach.
Source date: 1576 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Expel Dampness. Relieve pain. Move Qi and Blood.
Mu Dan Pi is a king ingredient in Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang, Mu Dan Pi clears Heat and cools Blood
Source date: 2002 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.
Mu Dan Pi is a king ingredient in Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, Mu Dan Pi clears Heat
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Stagnant Heat in the intestines. Reduces swelling and disperses lumps.
Conditions targeted*: AppendicitisPelvic inflammatory disease and others
Mu Dan Pi is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang, Mu Dan Pi cools the Blood and eliminates masses due to Blood Stagnation.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Mu Dan Pi belongs to the 'Herbs that cool the Blood' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that cool the Blood treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.
As suggested by its category Mu Dan Pi is Cool in nature. This means that Mu Dan Pi tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Mu Dan Pi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Mu Dan Pi also tastes Bitter and Pungent. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like Mu Dan Pi tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Pungent ingredients tend to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Mu Dan Pi is thought to target the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.
Guizhi Fuling capsules (consisting of Mudan peony bark) achieved obvious effects in the treatment of uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, dysmenorrheal, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, breast hyperplasia and other gynecological diseases.1
1. Su ZZ, Li N, Cao L, Wang TJ, Zhang CF, Ding G, Wang ZZ, Xiao W. (2015). Main progress on studies of pharmacological activities and clinical applications of Guizhi Fuling capsule. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. , 40(6):989-92.