Rhubarb (Da Huang) Ground Beetles (Tu Bie Chong) Peach kernels (Tao Ren) Lacquer (Gan Qi) Scarab grubs (Qi Cao) Leeches (Shui Zhi) Tabanus horseflies (Meng Chong) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin)

Chinese: 大黄蟅虫丸

Pinyin: Dà Huáng Zhè Chóng Wán

Other names: Rhubarb and Ground Beetle Pill

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: DiabetesPsoriasisOrganomegaly and eleven other conditions

  1. Breaks up and dispels Blood Stagnation
  2. Generates new Blood

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Rhubarb (Da Huang) and Ground Beetles (Tu Bie Chong) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) breaks up and dispels Blood Stagnation and 2) generates new 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 Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Stagnation. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as chronic hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease or fibrosis of the liver for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the twelve ingredients in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan helps treat.

The twelve ingredients in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan

Da Huang is a king ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

Da Huang eliminates Blood Stagnation by attacking and purging,
while simultaneously cooling the Blood and clearing Heat. It has the ability to break up abdominal masses and accumulations, pushing out the Stagnant Blood to allow generation of new blood.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Tu Bie Chong is a king ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Ground Beetles (Tu Bie Chong)

Part used: The dried female bug

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Salty

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Tu Bie Chong attacks and purges the Blood Stagnation, breaking up Blood that has aggregated into fixed abdominal masses.

Learn more about Ground Beetles (Tu Bie Chong)

Tao Ren is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Tao Ren assists the key ingredients by invigorating the Blood,
unblocking the Channels, and breaking up Blood Stagnation, thereby reducing the fixed abdominal masses.

Learn more about Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Gan Qi is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Lacquer (Gan Qi)

Part used: The resin residue

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Gan Qi assists the key ingredients by invigorating the Blood,
unblocking the Channels, and breaking up Blood Stagnation, thereby reducing the fixed abdominal masses.

Learn more about Lacquer (Gan Qi)

Qi Cao is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Scarab Grubs (Qi Cao)

Part used: The dried grubs

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Salty

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Qi Cao assists the key ingredients by invigorating the Blood,
unblocking the Channels, and breaking up Blood Stagnation, thereby reducing the fixed abdominal masses.

Learn more about Scarab Grubs (Qi Cao)

Shui Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. Leeches (Shui Zhi)

Part used: The dried worm body

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSalty

Meridian affinity: BladderLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Shui Zhi assists the key ingredients by invigorating the Blood,
unblocking the Channels, and breaking up Blood Stagnation, thereby reducing the fixed abdominal masses.

Learn more about Leeches (Shui Zhi)

Meng Chong is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

7. Tabanus Horseflies (Meng Chong)

Part used: The dried bug

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Meng Chong assists the key ingredients by invigorating the Blood,
unblocking the Channels, and breaking up Blood Stagnation, thereby reducing the fixed abdominal masses.

Learn more about Tabanus Horseflies (Meng Chong)

Huang Qin is an assistant ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLarge intestineLungSmall intestineSpleen

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

Huang Qin matches with Rhubarb to clear Heat from the Liver due to Blood Stagnation.  With the blood-invigorating and purgative herbs, its action of descending Qi encourages the elimination of Blood Stagnation. In addition, the combination of Baikal skullcap root and Apricot seed is helpful in clearing Heat from constraint.

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Xing Ren is an assistant ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: Large intestineLung

Category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

Xing Ren matches with Peach kernel to moisten Dryness.  With the blood-invigorating and purgative herbs, its action of descending Qi encourages the elimination of Blood Stagnation. In addition, the combination of Baikal skullcap root and Apricot seed is helpful in clearing Heat from constraint.

Learn more about Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Di Huang is an assistant ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Di Huang nourish the Blood and Yin.  The combination of Unprepared Rehmannia, White peony root and Liquorice tonifies Deficiency and generate Blood, thereby providing a tonifying dimension to this formula to counterbalance its attacking aspect.

Learn more about Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Bai Shao is an assistant ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: LiverSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Bai Shao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain."

In the context of Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan, it is used because it nourish the Blood and Yin.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

12. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao harmonizes the Middle Burner, tonifies Qi Deficiency, and regulates and harmonizes the actions of the other herbs. It also helps prevent injury to the normal Qi from the harsh properties of those herbs that are used in breaking up Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan is used to treat Blood Stagnation

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 Zhe Chong Wan is mostly used to treat the pattern "Blood Stagnation" which we describe below.

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

Chronic hepatitis Alcoholic liver disease Fibrosis of the liver Cirrhosis of the Liver Hepatic neoplasms Organomegaly Tubercular peritonitis Uterine leiomyoma Chronic myelogenous leukemia Esophageal varice Postsurgical adhesions Diabetes Psoriasis Thrombocytopenic purpura

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan treats chronic hepatitis" for instance. Rather, Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan is used to treat Blood Stagnation, which is sometimes the root cause behind chronic hepatitis.

Now let's look at Blood Stagnation, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan.

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

Blood Stagnation

Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dark face, purple lips, boring fixed stabbing pain and abdominal masses. Patients with Blood Stagnation typically exhibit choppy (Se), firm (Lao) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as Purple tongue .

Blood Stagnation - also often referred to as "Blood Stasis" - is where the Blood flow is heavily restricted in all or parts of the body. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the... read more about Blood Stagnation

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