Ginseng (Ren Shen) Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Ba Zhen Tang

Chinese: 八珍汤

Pinyin: Bā Zhēn Tāng

Other names: Eight Treasure Decoction, Eight Substance Decoction

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that tonify Qi and Blood

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: AnemiaUlcersHepatitis and four other conditions

  1. Tonifies and augments Qi
  2. Tonifies and augments Blood

Source date: 1326 AD

Source book: Experiential Formulas from the Auspicious Bamboo Hall

Ba Zhen Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) and Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1326 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi and Blood. Its main actions are: 1) tonifies and augments Qi and 2) tonifies and augments Blood.

In Chinese Medicine health conditions are thought to arise due to "disharmonies" in the body as a system. These disharmonies are called "patterns" and the very purpose of herbal formulas is to fight them in order to restore the body's harmony.

In this case Ba Zhen Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Lung Qi Deficiency, Spleen Qi Deficiency or Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as spontaneous flow of breast milk, anemia or hepatitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the ten ingredients in Ba Zhen Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Ba Zhen Tang helps treat.

The ten ingredients in Ba Zhen Tang

Ren Shen is a king ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Ren Shen's main actions are as follows: "Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit)."

In the context of Ba Zhen Tang, it is used because it is warming in nature and augments the Qi.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Shu Di huang is a king ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Shu Di huang's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys."

In the context of Ba Zhen Tang, it is used because it nourishes the Blood.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Bai Zhu is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Bai Zhu strengthens the Spleen and dry Dampness. Therefore it helps the main ingredient Ren Shen (Ginseng) in fortifying the Spleen and Lungs Qi.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Fu Ling is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Fu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit."

In the context of Ba Zhen Tang, it is used because it strengthens the Spleen and dry Dampness.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Bai Shao is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Bai Shao nourishes Blood and helps reinforcing the action of the king ingredient Shu Di Huang (Prepared rehmannia).

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Dang Gui is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Dang Gui nourishes Blood and therefore helps reinforcing the action of the king ingredient Shu Di Huang (Prepared rehmannia).

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Chuan Xiong is an assistant ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chuan Xiong's main actions are as follows: "Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches."

In the context of Ba Zhen Tang, it is used because it promotes Qi movement and invigorates Blood.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Gan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs."

In the context of Ba Zhen Tang, it is used because it supplies Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Sheng Jiang is an envoy ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

9. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang regulates Stomach and Spleen's absorptive function. This is important because it helps the other herbs in the formula to be absorbed. It also regulates the relationship between the Protective (Wei Qi 卫气) and Nutritive Qi (Rong Qi 荣气), which helps patients suffering from Blood and Qi Deficiency to recover without developing other issues.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Da Zao is an envoy ingredient in Ba Zhen Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

10. Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Da Zao regulates Stomach and Spleen's absorptive function, thereby helping the other herbs in the formula to be absorbed.

Learn more about Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Conditions and patterns for which Ba Zhen Tang may be prescribed

It's important to remember that herbal formulas are meant to treat patterns, not "diseases" as understood in Western Medicine. According to Chinese Medicine patterns, which are disruptions to the body as a system, are the underlying root cause for diseases and conditions.

As such Ba Zhen Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat four different patterns which we describe below.

But before we delve into these patterns here is an overview of the Western conditions they're commonly associated with:

Spontaneous flow of breast milk Anemia Hepatitis Abnormal uterine bleeding Habitual miscarriage Ulcers Nervous exhaustion

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ba Zhen Tang treats spontaneous flow of breast milk" for instance. Rather, Ba Zhen Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind spontaneous flow of breast milk.

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Ba Zhen Tang.

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Lung Qi Deficiency

Ba Zhen Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Lung Qi Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, weak voice and spontaneous sweating. Patients with Lung Qi Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

The Lungs govern Qi and respiration. Therefore there will be shortness of breath in case of Lung Qi Deficiency. However the condition is not severe as it is mostly on exertion and not full-blown symptoms of bronchitis or asthma. Symptoms like coughing can also appear if Lungs' Qi downwards... read more about Lung Qi Deficiency

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Spleen Qi Deficiency

Ba Zhen Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Spleen Qi Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as poor appetite, fatigue, loose stools and pale face. Patients with Spleen Qi Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Spleen Qi Deficiency is one of the most commonly seen disharmony. Nowadays our diets are rich in sugars, fats, iced drinks, junk food and cold raw foods. This harm the Spleen function of transformation and transportation and leads to Spleen Qi Deficiency. Other bad eating habits also impair Spleen... read more about Spleen Qi Deficiency

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

Ba Zhen Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dizziness, unsteadiness, blurred vision and deafness. Patients with Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency typically exhibit weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Learn more about Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

Formulas similar to Ba Zhen Tang

Ba Zhen Yi Mu Tang is 80% similar to Ba Zhen Tang

Shi Quan Da Bu Tang is 80% similar to Ba Zhen Tang

Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang is 64% similar to Ba Zhen Tang

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is 60% similar to Ba Zhen Tang

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San is 60% similar to Ba Zhen Tang

Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang is 60% similar to Ba Zhen Tang