Dragon bones (Long Gu) Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Liquorice (Gan Cao) Oyster shells (Mu Li Ke) Rhubarb (Da Huang) Dried ginger (Gan Jiang) Talc (Hua Shi) Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi)

Chinese: 风引汤

Pinyin: Fēng Yǐn Tāng

Other names: Wind-Drawing Decoction

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that dredge and disperse External Wind

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: StrokeEpilepsySchizophrenia and two other conditions

  1. Extinguishes and pacifies Wind with heavy medicinals
  2. Calms the Mind
  3. Clears Heat

Contraindications: This is a draining formula and must not be prescribed for cases of Liver Yang... This is a draining formula and must not be prescribed for cases of Liver Yang associated with Blood or Yin Deficiency. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Feng Yin Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dragon Bones (Long Gu), Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi), Liquorice (Gan Cao) and Oyster Shells (Mu Li ke) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dredge and disperse External Wind. Its main actions are: 1) extinguishes and pacifies Wind with heavy medicinals and 2) calms the Mind.

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 Feng Yin Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat, Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire or Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as epilepsy, stroke or schizophrenia for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the twelve ingredients in Feng Yin Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Feng Yin Tang helps treat.

The twelve ingredients in Feng Yin Tang

Long Gu is a king ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Dragon Bones (Long Gu)

Part used: The fossilized bone or vertebrae

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

In general Long Gu's main actions are as follows: "Calms the spirit. Anchors ascendant Liver Yang. Stops leakage of Bodily Fluids."

In the context of Feng Yin Tang, it is used because it is heavy in nature and is used to pacify the Wind. It also calm the Mind.

Learn more about Dragon Bones (Long Gu)

Gui Zhi is a king ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Part used: Dried young branches

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Gui Zhi dispels Heat from the muscle layer and, together with Liquorice, protects the Yang of the Heart, assisting in the ascent of the clear Yang, while also directing
turbid Yin downward.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Gan Cao is a king ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

3. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

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 Feng Yin Tang, it is used because it cools and resolves toxicity, but also harmonizes the many actions of this complex formula.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Mu Li ke is a king ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

4. Oyster Shells (Mu Li ke)

In general Mu Li ke's main actions are as follows: "Calms and anchors the spirit. Moistens Dryness. Softens and removes lumps. Nourish the Yin and subdues the overflowing of the Yang,"

In the context of Feng Yin Tang, it is used because it is heavy in nature and is used to pacify the Wind. It also calm the Mind.

Learn more about Oyster Shells (Mu Li ke)

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

5. 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 is bitter and cooling. It moves Qi downwards. It expels Heat through the bowels.  It helps the three cooling mineral substances (Gypsum, Calcitum and Talc) to clear Fire and drain Heat to eliminate the underlying cause of this pattern.  Together, these four herbs counteract the upward-moving momentum of Fire
and thereby effectively treat the root.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Gan Jiang is a deputy ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLungStomach

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

Gan Jiang is acrid, warming, and sweet. It protects the Middle Burner from the excessive coldness of the cooling ingredients.

Learn more about Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

Hua Shi is a deputy ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

7. Talc (Hua Shi)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderStomach

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Hua Shi is a cooling mineral substance that clear the Fire and heat. Together, these four ((Gypsum, Calcitum, Talc and Rhubarb ) jerbs counteract the upward-moving movement of Fire. 

Learn more about Talc (Hua Shi)

Chi Shi Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

8. Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi)

Part used: The mineral

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSourSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Chi Shi Zhi is heavy in nature and is used to pacify the Wind. It also counterbalances the draining nature of Rhubarb and the heaviness of the mineral and animal herbs.

Learn more about Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi)

Bai Shi Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

9. Kaolinite (Bai Shi Zhi)

Part used: The mineral

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: Large intestine

Category: Herbs that stop bleeding

Bai Shi Zhi is heavy in nature and is used to pacify the Wind. It also counterbalances the draining nature of Rhubarb and the heaviness of the mineral and animal herbs.

Learn more about Kaolinite (Bai Shi Zhi)

Shi Gao is a deputy ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

10. Gypsum (Shi Gao)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: LungStomach

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

Shi Gao is a cooling mineral substance that clear the Fire and heat. Together, these four ((Gypsum, Calcitum, Talc and Rhubarb ) jerbs counteract the upward-moving movement of Fire. 

Learn more about Gypsum (Shi Gao)

Han Shui Shi is an assistant ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. Calcitum (Han Shui Shi)

Part used: The powered mineral

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): PungentSalty

Meridian affinity: HeartKidney

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

In general Han Shui Shi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and drains Fire. Expels Summer-Heat. Cools Hot sores and burns. Reduces edema. "

In the context of Feng Yin Tang, it is used because it is a cooling mineral substance that clear the Fire and heat.

Learn more about Calcitum (Han Shui Shi)

Zi Shi Ying is an assistant ingredient in Feng Yin Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

12. Fluorite (Zi Shi Ying)

Part used: The mineral

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

In general Zi Shi Ying's main actions are as follows: "Calms the Mind. Warms the Lungs. Warms the Uterus. "

In the context of Feng Yin Tang, it is used because it is heavy in nature and is used to pacify the Wind. It also calm the Mind.

Learn more about Fluorite (Zi Shi Ying)

Conditions and patterns for which Feng Yin 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 Feng Yin 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:

Epilepsy Stroke Schizophrenia Hysterical psychosis Childhood febrile convulsions

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

Now let's look at the three patterns commonly treated with Feng Yin Tang.

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Stiff

Symptoms: Coma Tics Tingling Numbness Dizziness Paralysis Convulsions Opisthotonos Tremor of limbs High temperature Rigidity of neck

Feng Yin Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as high temperature, convulsions, rigidity of neck and tremor of limbs. Patients with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu), wiry (Xian) or full (Shi) pulses as well as Deep red stiff tongue with dry yellow coating .

The most typical manifestation of Internal Wind is tremor, tic, numbness and tingling, dizziness, convulsions and paralysis. 

Other symptoms are depends on the causes of this Internal Wind. When it is derived from extreme Heat, there are additional manifestation of high temperature. 

The invasion... read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire

Feng Yin Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire. This pattern leads to symptoms such as tremor, irritability, outbursts of anger and tinnitus. Patients with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

Liver Fire may generate Wind when it persists for some years. This phenomenon can be compared to a forest fire that generates strong winds.

Internal Wind is characterized by either movement or lack of movement, such as spasms, tics, tremors, numbness, dizziness, convulsions or paralysis. Which is... read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

Feng Yin Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising. This pattern leads to symptoms such as tremor, facial tic, severe dizziness and tinnitus. Patients with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu), wiry (Xian), fine (Xi) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as Red, pale normal color with no coating.

Liver Yang Rising can create Interior Wind if the condition is left unchecked for a long time. This pattern is normally seen among the elderly.

Liver Yang Rising has different symptoms based on what caused it in the first place. If caused by Liver Yin Deficiency the symptoms includes tremors,... read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

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