Tortoise plastrons (Gui Ban) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin) Phellodendron bark (Huang Bo)

Chinese: 固经丸

Pinyin: Gù Jīng Wán

Other names: Stabilize the Menses Pill

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Dysfunctional uterine bleedingChronic pelvic inflammatory disease

  1. Nourishes Yin
  2. Clears Heat
  3. Stops bleeding
  4. Stabilizes the menses

Contraindications: Contraindicated for patients with Heat due to Blood Stagnation.

Source date: 1481 AD

Source book: Essential Teachings of [Zhu] Dan-X

Gu Jing Wan is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Tortoise Plastrons (Gui Ban) and White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes Yin and 2) clears Heat.

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 Gu Jing Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Heat in Uterus Blood or Heat in the Blood. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as dysfunctional uterine bleeding or chronic pelvic inflammatory disease for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the six ingredients in Gu Jing Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Gu Jing Wan helps treat.

The six ingredients in Gu Jing Wan

Gui Ban is a king ingredient in Gu Jing Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Tortoise Plastrons (Gui Ban)

Part used: Carapace and plastron

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): SaltySweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Gui Ban is salty, sweet, and cooling. It tonifies the Yin Essence and descends the Fire

The combination of key and deputy herbs controls the Fire (yang) by directing it downward, as well as by fortifying the water (Yin) itself.

Learn more about Tortoise Plastrons (Gui Ban)

Bai Shao is a king ingredient in Gu Jing Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: LiverSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Bai Shao is sour, bitter, and cooling. It preserves the Yin and nourishes the Blood. The combination of key and deputy herbs controls the Fire (yang) by directing it downward, as well as by fortifying the water (Yin) itself.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

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

3. Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLarge intestineLungSmall intestineSpleen

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

Huang Qin is bitter and cooling. It drains Heat from the Upper Burner and Blood to stop the bleeding.  The combination of key and deputy herbs controls the Fire (yang) by directing it downward, as well as by fortifying the water (Yin) itself.

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Huang Bo is a deputy ingredient in Gu Jing Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Part used: Dried bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderKidneyLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

Huang Bo drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner. The combination of key and deputy herbs controls the Fire (yang) by directing it downward, as well as by fortifying the water (Yin) itself.

Learn more about Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Chun Pi is an assistant ingredient in Gu Jing Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Ailanthus Barks (Chun Pi)

Part used: The dried bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Chun Pi bitter and astringent. It holds the Blood and prevents an abandoned disorder from developing, which is otherwise likely with long-term blood loss.
It is considered to be of less importance than the other ingredients because, if the Heat is cleared and the Yin is enriched, the Blood will resume its normal movement in the channels and the bleeding will stop by itself. The use of an astringent, binding substance only serves to hasten this effect.

Learn more about Ailanthus Barks (Chun Pi)

Xiang Fu is an assistant ingredient in Gu Jing Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungentSweet

Meridian affinity: LiverSanjiaoSpleen

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Xiang Fu is acrid. It regulates the Qi and relieves Liver Qi Stagnation. The small dosage ensures that its warming
nature does not add to the Fire.

Learn more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Conditions and patterns for which Gu Jing Wan 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 Gu Jing Wan 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:

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Gu Jing Wan treats dysfunctional uterine bleeding" for instance. Rather, Gu Jing Wan is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Gu Jing Wan.

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

Heat in Uterus Blood

Gu Jing Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heat in Uterus Blood. This pattern leads to symptoms such as heavy periods, flooding suddenly before schedule, flooding and leaking and dark colored blood. Patients with Heat in Uterus Blood typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

Long term emotional stress such as anger, frustration and resentment, or a sudden emotional upset can lead to Liver Qi Stagnation. If untreated for a while, it can then develops to Liver Fire or Heat, which agitates the Blood, As a result an excessive amount of Blood leaks out of vessels. If the read more about Heat in Uterus Blood

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

Heat in the Blood

Gu Jing Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heat in the Blood. This pattern leads to symptoms such as feeling of heat, red skin eruptions, thirst and frequent bleeding episodes. Patients with Heat in the Blood typically exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as Red tongue.

The most common cause of Heat in the Blood is a Heat Pernicious Influence that has invaded the body and agitates the Blood. This results in accelerated blood flow which manifests itself in a rapid pulse, expanded and damaged Blood vessels and often heavy bleeding. The Blood will be fresh red or... read more about Heat in the Blood

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