Cloves (Ding Xiang) Persimmon calyxes (Shi Di) Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Chinese: 丁香柿蒂汤

Pinyin: Dīng Xiāng Shì Dì Tāng

Other names: Clove and Persimmon Calyx Decoction

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula category: Formulas for a rebellious Qi

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Morning sicknessNeurological hiccupPostoperative spasms of the diaphragm

  1. Augments the Qi
  2. Warms the Middle Burner
  3. Directs Rebellious Qi downward
  4. Stops hiccup

Source date: 1706 AD

Source book: Symptom, Cause, Pulse, and Treatment

Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cloves (Ding Xiang) and Persimmon Calyxes (Shi Di) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1706 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas for a rebellious Qi. Its main actions are: 1) augments the Qi and 2) warms the Middle Burner.

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 Xiang Shi Di Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach or Stomach Qi rebelling upwards. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as morning sickness, neurological hiccup or postoperative spasms of the diaphragm for instance.

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

The four ingredients in Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Ding Xiang is a king ingredient in Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Cloves (Ding Xiang)

Part used: Dried flower bud

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold

In general Ding Xiang's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Middle Warmer and directs the Qi downward. Warms the Kidneys and boosts Yang ."

In the context of Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang, it is used because it warms the Stomach, dispels Cold, and directs the flow of Qi downward, stopping hiccup and belching.

Learn more about Cloves (Ding Xiang)

Shi Di is a king ingredient in Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Persimmon Calyxes (Shi Di)

Part used: Dried persistent calyx

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Shi Di's main actions are as follows: "Directs the flow of Qi downward"

In the context of Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang, it is used because it is a major herb for stopping hiccup and belching.

Learn more about Persimmon Calyxes (Shi Di)

Sheng Jiang is a deputy ingredient in Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang is extremely effective at warming the Stomach and directing Rebellious Qi downward. As such it is perfect against vomiting and nausea.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

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

4. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Ren Shen's main actions are as follows: "Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit)."

In the context of Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang, it is used because it strongly augments the Qi.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Conditions and patterns for which Ding Xiang Shi Di 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 Xiang Shi Di Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat two 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:

Morning sickness Neurological hiccup Postoperative spasms of the diaphragm

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang treats morning sickness" for instance. Rather, Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind morning sickness.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang.

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

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach. This pattern leads to symptoms such as irritability, epigastric pain, epigastric distension and hypochondrial pain. Patients with Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach typically exhibit weak (Ruo) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

Liver Qi is said to be rebellious when its horizontal movement is accentuated. This interferes with the descending of Stomach Qi, making it ascend instead. Hence the symptoms of belching, nausea and vomiting.

Rebellious Liver Qi also impairs the Stomach's function of rotting and ripening of food,... read more about Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

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

Stomach Qi rebelling upwards

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Symptoms: Nausea Belching Vomiting Hiccuping Difficulty swallowing

Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Stomach Qi rebelling upwards. This pattern leads to symptoms such as nausea, difficulty swallowing, belching and vomiting. Patients with Stomach Qi rebelling upwards typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

When the Qi of the Stomach is obstructed or interfered with it "rebels", meaning it ascends rather than descends.

It results in symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, belching and hiccups.

This frequently appears with other patterns, such as Stomach Fire, Stomach Qi Stagnation or Cold invading the... read more about Stomach Qi rebelling upwards

Formulas similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang is 33% similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Xiao Chai Hu Tang is 29% similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is 29% similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Si Jun Zi Tang is 25% similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Xiao Ban Xia Tang is 25% similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Bao Yuan Tang is 25% similar to Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang