The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Bai Hu Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Gypsum (Shi Gao) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Qi-level Heat. Its main actions are: 1) clears Qi-level Heat and 2) drains Stomach Fire.
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 Bai Hu Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Bright Yang Stomach Heat or Toxic-Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as meningitis, scarlet fever or fever for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the four ingredients in Bai Hu Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Bai Hu Tang helps treat.
Shi Gao is a king ingredient in Bai Hu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: The mineral itself
Shi Gao clears Heat from the Interior, vents Pathogenic Heat to the Exterior and release Heat stagnating in the muscle layer and skin. It also moistens and enriches the Yin to support the generation of Body Fluids.
Zhi Mu is a deputy ingredient in Bai Hu Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried rhizome
Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Bai Hu Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Jing Mi is an envoy ingredient in Bai Hu Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.
Part used: Seed kernels
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
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 Bai Hu Tang 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:
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Bai Hu Tang treats meningitis" for instance. Rather, Bai Hu Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind meningitis.
Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Bai Hu Tang.
The Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu)
Bai Hu Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Bright Yang Stomach Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as high fever, profuse sweating, intense thirst and red face. Patients with Bright Yang Stomach Heat typically exhibit overflowing (Hong) or rapid (Shu) pulses.
Within the framework of the Six Stages theory, this is one of the two patterns of the Bright Yang stage (the second of the six stages). Within the Four Levels theory, this is one of the five patterns of the Qi level (the second of the four levels).
'Heat' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Heat pattern in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red
Symptoms: Pus Fever Boils Sores Eczema Thirst Pustule Coughing Erythema Swellings Carbuncles Dark Urine Sore throat Mouth ulcers Constipation Abdominal pain Swollen tonsils Feeling of heat Lower back pain Perineum swollen Prostate swollen Testicle swollen Red skin eruptions Shortness of breath Yellow vaginal discharge Smelly Vaginal discharge Sticky vaginal discharge Bloody vaginal discharge Five colour vaginal discharge
Bai Hu Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Toxic-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, swellings, pus and boils. Patients with Toxic-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as Red tongue with yellow coating.
There are two types of Toxic-Heat. One type is called Toxic-Heat Stagnation, which mainly happens in Channels or other surfaces like skins, throat, lymph or mouth. The symptoms include pain, redness and swollen in throat as well as skin pustule and rush. Acne during teenage time is mainly due to... read more about Toxic-Heat