Ginkgo nuts (Bai Guo) Ephedra (Ma Huang) Mulberry bark (Sang Bai Pi) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin) Perilla seeds (Zi Su Zi) Coltsfoot flowers (Kuan Dong Hua) Apricot seeds (Xing Ren) Crow-dipper rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Ding Chuan Tang

Chinese: 定喘汤

Pinyin: Dìng Chuǎn Tāng

Other names: Arrest Wheezing Decoction, Ephedra and Ginkgo Combination,

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula category: Formulas for a rebellious Qi

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: AsthmaBronchiolitisChronic bronchitis

  1. Clears Lung Heat
  2. Expectorant for asthma

Contraindications: Contraindicated for Externally contracted Wind-Cold cases when there is no... Contraindicated for Externally contracted Wind-Cold cases when there is no sweating and no Internal Phlegm Heat. Contraindicated for chronic asthma with Qi Deficiency and a frail pulse. see more

Source date: 1550 AD

Source book: Multitude of Marvelous Formulas for Sustaining Life

Ding Chuan Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginkgo Nuts (Bai Guo) and Ephedra (Ma Huang) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1550 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas for a rebellious Qi. Its main actions are: 1) clears Lung Heat and 2) expectorant for asthma.

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 Ding Chuan Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Phlegm in the Lungs, Phlegm-Heat or Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as chronic bronchitis, asthma or bronchiolitis for instance.

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

The nine ingredients in Ding Chuan Tang

Bai Guo is a king ingredient in Ding Chuan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Ginkgo Nuts (Bai Guo)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Bai Guo transforms Phlegm, contains the leakage of Lung Qi, stops wheezing, and prevents Ephedra (Ma Huang) - the other key herb - from causing excessive dispersion and depletion.

Learn more about Ginkgo Nuts (Bai Guo)

Ma Huang is a king ingredient in Ding Chuan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Ephedra (Ma Huang)

Part used: Dried herbaceous stems

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Ma Huang's main actions are as follows: "Releases the surface through sweating. Promotes the circulation of Lung Qi and stop wheezing. Promotes urination."

In the context of Ding Chuan Tang, it is used because it unblocks and redirects the Lung Qi, stops wheezing, and releases the Exterior.

Learn more about Ephedra (Ma Huang)

Sang Bai Pi is a deputy ingredient in Ding Chuan Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi)

Part used: Dried root bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Sang Bai Pi's main actions are as follows: "Clears heat from the lung, relieves asthma and induce urination to disperse swelling"

Learn more about Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi)

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

4. 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

Huang Qin clears Heat and transforms Phlegm. Together with Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi), they act to eliminate Phlegm Heat from the Lungs, arrest the wheezing and stop the coughing.

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

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

5. Perilla Seeds (Zi Su Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Zi Su Zi works together with Crow-dipper rhizome (Ban Xia) and Coltsfoot flower (Kuan Dong Hua) to support the key and deputy herbs in directing the Rebellious Qi downward, arresting the wheezing, and expelling Phlegm

Learn more about Perilla Seeds (Zi Su Zi)

Kuan Dong Hua is an assistant ingredient in Ding Chuan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Coltsfoot Flowers (Kuan Dong Hua)

Part used: Dried flower bud

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

In general Kuan Dong Hua's main actions are as follows: "Redirects Rebellious Lung Qi and stops coughing. Some coltsfoot plants contain toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause liver problems."

Learn more about Coltsfoot Flowers (Kuan Dong Hua)

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

7. 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

In general Xing Ren's main actions are as follows: "Stops cough and wheezing caused by either Heat or Cold. Lubricates the Intestines and relieves constipation."

In the context of Ding Chuan Tang, it is used because it reinforces the actions of Ephedra (Ma Huang) in expanding the Lungs and arresting the wheezing.

Learn more about Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Ban Xia is an assistant ingredient in Ding Chuan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. 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

In general Ban Xia's main actions are as follows: "Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention."

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Ding Chuan Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

9. 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 Ding Chuan Tang, it is used because it harmonizes the actions of the other ingredients in the formula.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Ding Chuan Tang 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 Ding Chuan Tang 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:

Chronic bronchitis Asthma Bronchiolitis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ding Chuan Tang treats chronic bronchitis" for instance. Rather, Ding Chuan Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind chronic bronchitis.

Now let's look at the three patterns commonly treated with Ding Chuan Tang.

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

Phlegm in the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Symptoms: Asthma Sputum in the lungs and throat

Ding Chuan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm in the Lungs. This pattern leads to symptoms such as asthma and sputum in the lungs and throat. Patients with Phlegm in the Lungs typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick coating.

Phlegm in the Lungs is synonymous with Substantial Phlegm. It is Phlegm that is located in the Lungs and that can be seen. The main symptoms, on top of general Phlegm symptoms, are the heavy sputum that develops in the Lungs and throat as well as, in some cases, asthma or difficulty to breath.

read more about Phlegm in the Lungs

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Swollen

Symptoms: Nausea Red face Dry mouth Restlnessness Chest fullness Focal distention Feeling of oppression of the chest Coughing of copious thick yellow sputum Coughing and wheezing with copious thick and yellow sputum

Ding Chuan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as red face, restlnessness, feeling of oppression of the chest and dry mouth. Patients with Phlegm-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Phlegm-Heat is a pattern that typically occurs when Dampness or Body Fluids combine with pathogenic Heat. In this case the Heat either invades from the Exterior or is generated by emotional disorders, long-term illness, poor diet or other internal disharmonies.

The Heart is associated with Fire,... read more about Phlegm-Heat

The Interior in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Interior in Chinese Medicine

Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Symptoms: Labored breathing Coughing and wheezing with copious thick and yellow sputum

Ding Chuan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as labored breathing and coughing and wheezing with copious thick and yellow sputum. Patients with Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with yellow coating.

Learn more about Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat

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