Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Yam (Shan Yao) Cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi) Water plantain (Ze Xie) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Dong quai (Dang Gui)

Gui Shao Di Huang Tang

Chinese: 归芍地黄汤

Pinyin: Guī Sháo Dì Huáng Tāng

Other names: Angelica-Paeonia-Rehmannia Decoction

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that nourish Yin and tonify

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Menstrual crampsMenopausal syndromeAbsence of menstruation

  1. Nourishes Blood
  2. Nourishes Yin

Source date: 1706 AD

Source book: Symptom, Cause, Pulse, and Treatment

Gui Shao Di Huang Tang is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1706 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes Blood and 2) nourishes Yin.

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 Gui Shao Di Huang Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Blood and Kidney Yin Deficiency or Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as menstrual cramps, absence of menstruation or menopausal syndrome for instance.

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

The eight ingredients in Gui Shao Di Huang Tang

Shu Di huang is a king ingredient in Gui Shao Di Huang Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Shu Di huang's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys."

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Liver and Kidney Yin.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

2. Yam (Shan Yao)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Shan Yao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing."

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Liver and Kidney Yin.

Learn more about Yam (Shan Yao)

3. Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

Part used: Dried ripe sarcocarp

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

In general Shan Zhu Yu's main actions are as follows: "Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding."

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Liver and Kidney Yin.

Learn more about Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

4. Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Part used: Root barks

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Mu Dan Pi's main actions are as follows: "Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis."

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Liver and Kidney Yin.

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

5. Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Part used: Dried tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Ze Xie's main actions are as follows: "Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat"

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Liver and Kidney Yin.

Learn more about Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

6. 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 Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Liver and Kidney Yin.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

7. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Bai Shao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain."

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

8. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Dang Gui's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation."

In the context of Gui Shao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Conditions and patterns for which Gui Shao Di Huang 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 Gui Shao Di Huang 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:

Menstrual cramps Absence of menstruation Menopausal syndrome

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Gui Shao Di Huang Tang treats menstrual cramps" for instance. Rather, Gui Shao Di Huang Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind menstrual cramps.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Gui Shao Di Huang Tang.

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

Liver Blood and Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Symptoms: Fatigue Tinnitus Sore back Dizziness Scanty periods Blurred vision Delayed period Dull menstrual cramps Pain relieved with massage

Gui Shao Di Huang Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Blood and Kidney Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as sore back, scanty periods, dizziness and pain relieved with massage. Patients with Liver Blood and Kidney Yin Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Learn more about Liver Blood and Kidney Yin Deficiency

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Gui Shao Di Huang Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Learn more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

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