Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing) Red Tangerine Peel (Ju Hong) Crow-dipper rhizomes (Ban Xia) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Ginseng (Ren Shen) Bamboo shavings (Zhu Ru) Sweetflag rhizomes (Shi Chang Pu)

Di Tan Tang

Chinese: 涤痰汤

Pinyin: Dí Tán Tāng

Other names: Scouring Phlegm Decoction

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that dispel Phlegm

  1. Removes Phlegm
  2. Opens the sensory orifices
  3. Tonifies Qi

Contraindications: Contraindicated for pregnant women or weak patients.

Source date: 1470 AD

Source book: Fine Formulas of Wonderful Efficacy

Di Tan Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing) and Red Tangerine Peel (Ju Hong) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1470 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dispel Phlegm. Its main actions are: 1) removes Phlegm and 2) opens the sensory orifices.

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

The nine ingredients in Di Tan Tang

Tian Nan Xing is a king ingredient in Di Tan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity:

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Tian Nan Xing expels Phlegm due to Dampness and thereby removes the root of any related patterns. It can also disperse Wind so as to treat Phlegm blocking the vessels and channels.

Learn more about Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing)

Ju Hong is a king ingredient in Di Tan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Red Tangerine Peel (Ju Hong)

Part used: Dried exocarp

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Ju Hong's main actions are as follows: "Dissipates Cold, dries Dampness, eliminates Phlegm and promotes the flow of Qi"

In the context of Di Tan Tang, it is used because it regulates Qi and dries Dampness.

Learn more about Red Tangerine Peel (Ju Hong)

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

3. Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Part used: Dried rhizome and tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Ban Xia acrid and warming. It is good at drying Dampness and transforming Phlegm. It also directs the rebellious Qi downward and warms the Stomach.

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Zhi Zi is an assistant ingredient in Di Tan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. 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 Di Tan Tang, it is used because it breaks up Stagnation and transforms Phlegm.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Fu Ling is an assistant ingredient in Di Tan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Fu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit."

In the context of Di Tan Tang, it is used because it strengthens the Spleen by draining Dampness.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Ren Shen is an assistant ingredient in Di Tan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen tonifies the Qi so as to strengthen the Spleen to prevent any Phlegm accumulation or recurring. It is because the Spleen is often the origin of any Phlegm related pathologies.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Zhu Ru is an assistant ingredient in Di Tan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Bamboo Shavings (Zhu Ru)

Part used: Dried middle shavings

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: GallbladderStomachLung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Zhu Ru transforms Phlegm. It is also slightly cooling in nature so that it can balance the warming properties of most of the other ingredients of the formula.

Learn more about Bamboo Shavings (Zhu Ru)

Shi Chang Pu is an assistant ingredient in Di Tan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Sweetflag Rhizomes (Shi Chang Pu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that open the Orifices

Shi Chang Pu not only transforms Phlegm due to Dampness, but also aromatically opens up the orifices, directing the formula into the Heart Channel.

Learn more about Sweetflag Rhizomes (Shi Chang Pu)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Di Tan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao harmonizes the actions of the other ingredients and the functions of the Middle Burner. It also counteracts the toxicity of the key and deputy ingredients as well as promoting Qi dispersion throughout the Triple Burner.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Di Tan Tang may be prescribed

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

Phlegm Misting the Heart

Di Tan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm Misting the Heart. This pattern leads to symptoms such as staring at walls, muttering to oneself, abnormal and foolish behavior and dull eyes. Patients with Phlegm Misting the Heart typically exhibit slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick coating.

This pattern is also called 'Cold Phlegm or Mucus Obstructing the Heart Orifices'. It is similar to the pattern of 'Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart' (also called 'Hot Phlegm or Mucus Obstructing the Heart orifices'), but it is a Cold Pattern here. 

Children can have this pattern and it is often... read more about Phlegm Misting the Heart

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

Heart Vessel obstructed

Di Tan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heart Vessel obstructed. This pattern leads to symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, depression and restlnessness. Patients with Heart Vessel obstructed typically exhibit choppy (Se), knotted (Jie), slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

This is a complicated pattern as it is the combination of four other patterns and their features at the same time: Phlegm, Heart Blood Stagnation, Heart Qi Stagnation,  and Cold.  

If Phlegm is the dominant one out of the above four patterns, the pulse is rather Slippery instead of Wiry, Choppy or... read more about Heart Vessel obstructed

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