Chinese pink herbs (Qu Mai) Knotgrass (Bian Xu) Akebia stems (Mu Tong) Talc (Hua Shi) Plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Rhubarb (Da Huang) Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Ba Zheng San

Chinese: 八正散

Pinyin: Bā Zhèng Sàn

Other names: Eight Corrections Powder, Eight-Herb Powder for Rectification

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness

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

  1. Clears Heat and Fire
  2. Promotes urination
  3. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling

Contraindications: Contraindicated for long-term use because it can lead to palpitations,... Contraindicated for long-term use because it can lead to palpitations, weakness, lightheadedness and a loss of appetite. Contraindicated to treat Cold symptoms due to Deficiency. Contraindicated during pregnancy. see more

Source date: 1107 AD

Source book: Formulary of the Pharmacy Service for Benefiting the People in the Taiping Era

Ba Zheng San is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai) and Knotgrass (Bian Xu) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness. Its main actions are: 1) clears Heat and Fire and 2) promotes urination.

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 Zheng San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Damp-Heat or Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as intermenstrual bleeding, glomerulonephritis or cystitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the nine ingredients in Ba Zheng San, we review the patterns and conditions that Ba Zheng San helps treat.

The nine ingredients in Ba Zheng San

Qu Mai is a king ingredient in Ba Zheng San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai)

Part used: Dried aerial part

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderHeartSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Qu Mai bitter and cold. It enters the Blood to invigorate the Blood and is particularly useful in treating painful urinary dribbling with Blood. It also directs Heart Fire and Heat downward, unblocks the Small Intestine, expels Damp Heat from the Bladder, and is an important herb for treating dribbling disorders.

Learn more about Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai)

Bian Xu is a king ingredient in Ba Zheng San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Knotgrass (Bian Xu)

Part used: Aerial parts

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: Bladder

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Bian Xu's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat and encourages urination. Drains Dampness and stops itching. Kills parasites."

In the context of Ba Zheng San, it is used because it enters the Qi to promote urination, unblock painful urinary dribbling, and clear Damp Heat.

Learn more about Knotgrass (Bian Xu)

Mu Tong is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Akebia Stems (Mu Tong)

Part used: Dried stem

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Mu Tong is bitter and cold. It is very effective in
clearing the Stagnation caused by Dampness. It also clears Heat and promotes urination. It assists the king ingredients in unblocking any painful urinary dribbling.

Learn more about Akebia Stems (Mu Tong)

Hua Shi is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Talc (Hua Shi)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderStomach

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Hua Shi's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination. Expels Damp-Heat from the Urinary Bladder. Dispels Summer Heat. Dries Dampness when applied topically."

In the context of Ba Zheng San, it is used because it smooths the passage of urine despite any Stagnation in the way.

Learn more about Talc (Hua Shi)

Che Qian Zi is a deputy ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Plantain Seeds (Che Qian Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiverLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Che Qian Zi's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and clears Heat. Stops diarrhea by expelling water through urination. Brightens the eyes, used in combination either for Deficiency or Heat. Reduces inflammation of infections. Arrests cough and expectorates Phlegm."

In the context of Ba Zheng San, it is used because it smooths the passage of urine despite any Stagnation in the way.

Learn more about Plantain Seeds (Che Qian Zi)

Zhi Zi is an assistant ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

In general Zhi Zi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory."

In the context of Ba Zheng San, it is used because it drains Heat from the Triple Burner through the urine.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Da Huang is an assistant ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Da Huang's main actions are as follows: "Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis."

In the context of Ba Zheng San, it is used because it drains Heat from the Triple Burner through the stool.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

8. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao harmonizes the actions of all ingredients and relieves the abdominal pain. The combination of Liquorice and talc also assist to ease irritability.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Deng Xin Cao is an envoy ingredient in Ba Zheng San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

9. Common Rush (Deng Xin Cao)

Part used: Dried stem pith

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Deng Xin Cao's main actions are as follows: "Diuretic, promotes urination. Clears urinary tract infections."

In the context of Ba Zheng San, it is used because it guides Heat downward as one of the envoys.

Learn more about Common Rush (Deng Xin Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Ba Zheng San 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 Zheng San is used by TCM practitioners to treat two 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:

Intermenstrual bleeding Glomerulonephritis Cystitis Urethritis Urinary tract calculi Prostatitis Stomatitis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ba Zheng San treats intermenstrual bleeding" for instance. Rather, Ba Zheng San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind intermenstrual bleeding.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Ba Zheng San.

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner

Ba Zheng San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. This pattern leads to symptoms such as scanty and yellow urine, lower back pain, weakness of the lower extremities and red and swollen feet. Patients with Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating.

Learn more about Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner

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