Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Ginseng (Ren Shen) Yam (Shan Yao) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Eucommia bark (Du Zhong) Cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu) Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi) Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Da Bu Yuan Jian

Chinese: 大补元煎

Pinyin: Dà Bǔ Yuán Jiān

Other names: Great Tonifying the Original (Qi) Decoction, Great Tonify the Primal Decoction

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that nourish Yin and tonify

Mother formula: Zuo Gui Wan

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Uterine prolapseLate menstruation

  1. Tonifies Yin and Blood
  2. Nourishes Qi and Yang

Source date: 1624 AD

Source book: Collected Treatises of [Zhang] Jing-Yue

Da Bu Yuan Jian is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) tonifies Yin and Blood and 2) nourishes Qi and Yang.

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 Da Bu Yuan Jian is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as late menstruation or uterine prolapse for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eight ingredients in Da Bu Yuan Jian, we review the patterns and conditions that Da Bu Yuan Jian helps treat.

The eight ingredients in Da Bu Yuan Jian

Shu Di huang is a king ingredient in Da Bu Yuan Jian. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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

Shu Di huang tonifies the true Yin of the five Yin Organs. It is necessary to use Shu Di huang to treat Yin Deficiency of the 12 Meridians. When the Yin is Deficient and fire ascends, it cannot be directed downward sufficiently without the heaviness of Shu Di huang.  Due to Yin deficiency, restless movement cannot be sedated sufficiently without the stillness of Shu Di huang. And hardness and tension due to Yin Deficiency cannot be relaxed sufficiently without the sweetness of Shu Di huang.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

2. 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 Da Bu Yuan Jian, it is used because it tonifies Qi in general and the Original Qi in particular.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

3. Yam (Shan Yao)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Shan Yao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing."

In the context of Da Bu Yuan Jian, it is used because it benefits the Yin and tonifies the Spleen which is the source of the postnatal constitution.

Learn more about Yam (Shan Yao)

4. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Dang Gui's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation."

In the context of Da Bu Yuan Jian, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

5. Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong)

Part used: Dried stem bark

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

In general Du Zhong's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys. Calms ascendant Liver Yang (hypertension/high blood pressure). Calms a restless fetus."

In the context of Da Bu Yuan Jian, it is used because it tonifies Kidney Yang and strengthen the back.

Learn more about Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong)

6. Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

Part used: Dried ripe sarcocarp

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Shan Zhu Yu nourishes Yin, Blood and Essence and strengthen Liver and Kidneys. Here it works synergistically with the chief herb Prepared rehmannia.

Learn more about Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

7. Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Gou Qi Zi nourishes Yin, Blood and Essence and strengthen Liver and Kidneys. Here it works synergistically with the chief herb Prepared rehmannia.

Learn more about Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

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 Da Bu Yuan Jian, it is used because it harmonizes all ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Da Bu Yuan Jian is used to treat Blood 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 Da Bu Yuan Jian is mostly used to treat the pattern "Blood Deficiency" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Blood Deficiency here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Late menstruation Uterine prolapse

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Da Bu Yuan Jian treats late menstruation" for instance. Rather, Da Bu Yuan Jian is used to treat Blood Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind late menstruation.

Now let's look at Blood Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Da Bu Yuan Jian.

Blood (Xue) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Blood in Chinese Medicine

Blood Deficiency

Da Bu Yuan Jian is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as amenorrhea, scanty periods, dizziness and numbness. Patients with Blood Deficiency typically exhibit choppy (Se) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

A Deficiency of Blood occurs when their entire body, a part of body or a particular Organ is insufficiently nourished by Blood. This can be caused by a loss of blood, insufficient Spleen Qi to produce Blood or congealed Blood which prevents new Blood from forming.

The Organs most likely to be... read more about Blood Deficiency

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