Dong quai (Dang Gui) Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu) Yam (Shan Yao)

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin

Chinese: 当归地黄饮

Pinyin: Dāng Guī Dì Huáng Yǐn

Other names: Angelica sinensis-Rehmannia Decoction, Tangkuei and Rehmannia Decoction

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that tonify Blood

Mother formula: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Menopausal syndromeScanty menstruationAbsence of menstruation

  1. Nourishes Blood
  2. Tonifies Kidney and Liver Yin
  3. Regulates the menstrual cycle

Source date: 1640 AD

Source book: Collected Treatises of [Zhang] Jing Yue

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dong Quai (Dang Gui) and Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1640 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes Blood and 2) tonifies Kidney and Liver Yin.

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 Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Kidney Yin Deficiency, Kidney-Deficiency or Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as menopausal syndrome, scanty menstruation or absence of menstruation for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the seven ingredients in Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, we review the patterns and conditions that Dang Gui Di Huang Yin helps treat.

The seven ingredients in Dang Gui Di Huang Yin

Dang Gui is a king ingredient in Dang Gui Di Huang Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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 Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, it is used because it nourishes Blood and strengthens the Uterus.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Shu Di huang is a king ingredient in Dang Gui Di Huang Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. 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

In general Shu Di huang's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys."

In the context of Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, it is used because it strongly enriches the Kidney Yin and Essence.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

3. 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 the Liver and restrains the leakage of Essence. It performs the latter function by inhibiting the improper dispersion and drainage through the Liver, thereby enabling the Essence to build up in the Kidneys. For this to occur, a substance with the strong, Essence building properties of the key herb (Shu Di Huang) is also required.

Learn more about Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

4. Yam (Shan Yao)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Shan Yao stabilizes the Essence by tonifying the Spleen. Indeed, to reinforce Essence and improve its function, the Spleen (the source of postnatal Essence) must function properly.

Learn more about Yam (Shan Yao)

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 Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, it is used because it tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Learn more about Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong)

6. Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Niu Xi's main actions are as follows: "Moves Blood and relieves pain in the raw state. Tonic to the Liver and Kidneys and strengthens the bones and sinews. Reduces Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Regulates the flow of reckless Blood caused by either ascendant Liver Yang or Yin Deficient Fire."

In the context of Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, it is used because it nourishes the Kidneys and strengthens the back and knees.

Learn more about Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

7. 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 Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, it is used because it harmonizes all ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Dang Gui Di Huang Yin 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 Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is used by TCM practitioners to treat three 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:

Menopausal syndrome Scanty menstruation Absence of menstruation

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Dang Gui Di Huang Yin treats menopausal syndrome" for instance. Rather, Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind menopausal syndrome.

Now let's look at the three patterns commonly treated with Dang Gui Di Huang Yin.

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness and night sweats. Patients with Kidney Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can also lead to an insufficient amount of Marrow to fill the Brain, causing poor memory and dizziness. Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys is... read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney-Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Symptoms: Tinnitus Back pain Knee pain Dizziness Sore back Scanty periods Frequent urination Pale menstrual blood

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney-Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as scanty periods, pale menstrual blood, back pain and knee pain. Patients with Kidney-Deficiency typically exhibit deep (Chen) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Learn more about Kidney-Deficiency

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as no menstruation by 18, lower back pain, fatigue and knee pain. Patients with Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency typically exhibit deep (Chen) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Learn more about Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency

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