Leeches (Shui Zhi) Tabanus horseflies (Meng Chong) Peach kernels (Tao Ren) Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Chinese: 抵当汤

Pinyin: Dǐ Dāng Tāng

Other names: Appropriate Decoction

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: ManiaEpilepsyLeiomyoma and eighteen other conditions

Main actions: Breaks up and dispels Blood Stagnation

Contraindications: This formula is indicated only for Excess-type Blood Stagnation patterns in the... This formula is indicated only for Excess-type Blood Stagnation patterns in the Lower Burner. It should not be prescribed in case of Deficiency or during pregnancy. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Di Dang Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Leeches (Shui Zhi) and Tabanus Horseflies (Meng Chong) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main action is that it breaks up and dispels Blood Stagnation .

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 Di Dang Tang 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 acute pelvic inflammatory, leiomyoma or endometriosis for instance.

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

The four ingredients in Di Dang Tang

Shui Zhi is a king ingredient in Di Dang Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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 is salty, bitter, neutral, and slightly toxic. It enters the Liver Channel and expels Blood Stagnation.  It has the special characteristic of entering only the Blood aspect, allowing it to expel Stagnant Blood without damaging the Qi.

Learn more about Leeches (Shui Zhi)

Meng Chong is a king ingredient in Di Dang Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. 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 is slightly bitter and slightly cooling. Like the other key herb Leech, it also enters the Liver Channel and is even stronger than Leech in breaking up Blood Stagnation. These two herbs have a synergy that makes this formula one of the strongest in expelling Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Tabanus Horseflies (Meng Chong)

Tao Ren is a deputy ingredient in Di Dang Tang. 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 herbs in expelling Blood Stagnation.  It also opens the bowels, following the momentum of
the pathology (eg: the downward movement of Heat and its clumping in the Lower Burner) to create a route for the Heat to leave the body.

Learn more about Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Da Huang is a deputy ingredient in Di Dang Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. 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 assists the key herbs in expelling Blood Stagnation.  It also opens the bowels, following the momentum of
the pathology (eg: the downward movement of Heat and its clumping in the Lower Burner) to create a route for the Heat to leave the body.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Di Dang Tang 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 Di Dang Tang 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:

Acute pelvic inflammatory Leiomyoma Endometriosis Dysmenorrhea Amenorrhea Retained placenta Postpartum thrombophlebitis Benign prostatic hypertrophy Acute prostatitis Testicular tuberculosis Acute urinary retention Angina pectoris Cerebrovascular disease Cor pulmonale Schizophrenia Mania Epilepsy Icteric hepatitis Chronic colitis Habitual constipation Schistosomiasis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Di Dang Tang treats acute pelvic inflammatory" for instance. Rather, Di Dang Tang is used to treat Blood Stagnation, which is sometimes the root cause behind acute pelvic inflammatory.

Now let's look at Blood Stagnation, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Di Dang Tang.

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

Blood Stagnation

Di Dang Tang 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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