Dong quai (Dang Gui) Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) Aloe vera (Lu Hui) Natural indigo (Qing Dai) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Goldthread rhizomes (Huang Lian) Phellodendron bark (Huang Bo) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin)

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan

Chinese: 当归龙荟丸

Pinyin: Dāng Guī Lóng Huì Wán

Other names: Angelica-Gentiana-Aloe Pill, Tangkuei Gentian and Aloe Pill, Dragon Brain Pill

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat from the Organs

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: VertigoTinnitusEpilepsy and three other conditions

Main actions: Drains Liver and Gallbladder Fire Excess

Contraindications: Contraindicated in cases of Spleen Deficiency.

Source date: 1172 AD

Source book: Formulas from the Discussion Illuminating the Yellow Emperor's Basic Questions

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan is a 11-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dong Quai (Dang Gui) and Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1172 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from the Organs. Its main action is that it drains Liver and Gallbladder Fire Excess.

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 Long Hui Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Fire Blazing. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as vertigo, tinnitus or hearing loss for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eleven ingredients in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Dang Gui Long Hui Wan helps treat.

The eleven ingredients in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan

Dang Gui is a king ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. 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

Dang Gui softens the Liver by tonifying its Blood. This is important because only a Liver whose Blood is strong and mobile can ensure the smooth flow of Qi (one of the Liver's key functions).

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Long Dan Cao is a king ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLarge intestineLiverLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Long Dan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind."

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it is bitter and very cold and therefore has a strong capacity to drain Fire.

Learn more about Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao)

Lu Hui is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Aloe Vera (Lu Hui)

Part used: Concentrated dry product of leaf juice

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Large intestineLiver

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Lu Hui's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat. Cools the Liver and clears Heat in the Liver. Eases constipation and kills parasites."

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it drains Fire from the Liver.

Learn more about Aloe Vera (Lu Hui)

Qing Dai is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Natural Indigo (Qing Dai)

Part used: Dried powder or mass prepared from the leaf and/or the stem

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Salty

Meridian affinity: StomachLiverLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

In general Qing Dai's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat, resolves Fire toxicity and cools the Blood. Disperses Stagnation and reduces swelling. Drains Liver Fire, dispels Summer-Heat and extinguishes Wind to stop tremors."

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it drains Fire from the Liver.

Learn more about Natural Indigo (Qing Dai)

Zhi Zi is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

In general Zhi Zi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory."

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it drains Fire from the Triple Burner.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Huang Lian is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachHeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Lian's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites"

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it drains Fire from the Heart.

Learn more about Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Huang Bo is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Part used: Dried bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderKidneyLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Bo's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Clears Kidney Yin Deficient Heat. Applied externally or toxic Fire, especially associated with Dampness."

Learn more about Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Huang Qin is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui 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: GallbladderSpleenHeartLarge intestineLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Qin's main actions are as follows: "Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome."

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it drains Fire from the Lungs.

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Da Huang is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Da Huang's main actions are as follows: "Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis."

In the context of Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, it is used because it drains Fire from the Yang Brightness and eliminates clumping.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Mu Xiang is an assistant ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Costus Roots (Mu Xiang)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Mu Xiang ensures that the bitter nature of the formula does not lead to a breakdown of the Qi dynamic; it adds regulation of the Qi to the draining of Fire.

Learn more about Costus Roots (Mu Xiang)

She Xiang is an envoy ingredient in Dang Gui Long Hui Wan. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

11. Musk (She Xiang)

Part used: Musk gland of the deer

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that open the Orifices

She Xiang ensures that the bitter nature of the formula does not lead to a breakdown of the Qi dynamic; it adds regulation of the Qi to the draining of Fire.

Learn more about Musk (She Xiang)

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan is used to treat Liver Fire Blazing

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 Long Hui Wan is mostly used to treat the pattern "Liver Fire Blazing" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Liver Fire Blazing here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Vertigo Tinnitus Hearing loss Pharyngitis Psychosis Epilepsy

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Dang Gui Long Hui Wan treats vertigo" for instance. Rather, Dang Gui Long Hui Wan is used to treat Liver Fire Blazing, which is sometimes the root cause behind vertigo.

Now let's look at Liver Fire Blazing, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Dang Gui Long Hui Wan.

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

Liver Fire Blazing

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Fire Blazing. This pattern leads to symptoms such as irritability, outbursts of anger, tinnitus and deafness. Patients with Liver Fire Blazing typically exhibit rapid (Shu), wiry (Xian) or full (Shi) pulses.

Many of these symptoms are located in the upper-parts of the body because the nature of Fire is to flare upwards. As such we have the red face and eyes, the temporal headache, dizziness, etc. The headache is typically very intense, throbbing in character and located on the temples or felt in the... read more about Liver Fire Blazing

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