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.
Da Huang Fu Zi Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and purge. Its main actions are: 1) warms the Interior and 2) disperses Cold.
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 Huang Fu Zi Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Exterior Cold invading the Interior. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia, periarthritis of the shoulder or gallstones for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the three ingredients in Da Huang Fu Zi Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Da Huang Fu Zi Tang helps treat.
Zhi Fu Zi is a king ingredient in Da Huang Fu Zi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Processed daughter root
Zhi Fu Zi is the most effective substance in the Materia Medica for warming the Yang and dispelling Cold. In this case, because the Cold is severe and it is combined with a cooling substance, Rhubarb (Da Huang)'s dosage is higher than usual.
Da Huang is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Fu Zi Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward
Da Huang is used here to flush the Intestines and purge Stagnant accumulation. It also enters the Liver Channel at the Blood level where it assists in the treatment of hypochondriac pain and directs the actions of the other herbs into the Intestines. This is a more subtle and complex action than merely draining Fire through the stool. For this reason, the dosage of this herb is much lower than in formulas in which it serves as the key herb, such as Da Cheng Qi Tang.
Xi Xin is an assistant ingredient in Da Huang Fu Zi 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
Xi Xin is a powerful substance for expelling Cold and dispersing accumulation or clumping. It is commonly combined with Aconite to treat pathogenic Cold that lurks deeply in the Yin portion of the body.
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 Huang Fu Zi Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Exterior Cold invading the Interior" which we describe below.
But before we delve into Exterior Cold invading the Interior here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:
Trigeminal neuralgia Periarthritis of the shoulder Gallstones Kidney stones Appendicitis Inguinal hernia Orchitis Sciatica Phlebitis Sties Keratities Conjunctivitis Tonsillitis Gingivitis Chronic renal failure Lumbar disc disease Urticaria Eczema
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Da Huang Fu Zi Tang treats trigeminal neuralgia" for instance. Rather, Da Huang Fu Zi Tang is used to treat Exterior Cold invading the Interior, which is sometimes the root cause behind trigeminal neuralgia.
Now let's look at Exterior Cold invading the Interior, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Da Huang Fu Zi Tang.
The Interior in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Interior in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)
Tongue coating: Thick white coating
Symptoms: Chills Dizziness Constipation Unsteadiness Abdominal pain Low-grade fever Hypochondriac pain Cold hands and feet Generalized twitching Palpitations in the epigastrium Sweating that doesnt reduce fever
Da Huang Fu Zi Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Exterior Cold invading the Interior. This pattern leads to symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, hypochondriac pain and chills. Patients with Exterior Cold invading the Interior typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.
Shen Fu Tang is 33% similar to Da Huang Fu Zi Tang
Xie Xin Tang is 33% similar to Da Huang Fu Zi Tang
Yin Chen Hao Tang is 33% similar to Da Huang Fu Zi Tang
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Si Ni Tang is 33% similar to Da Huang Fu Zi Tang
Da Cheng Qi Tang is 25% similar to Da Huang Fu Zi Tang