Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Red peony roots (Chi Shao) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Chinese: 桂枝茯苓丸

Pinyin: Guì Zhī Fú Líng Wán

Other names: Cinnamon and Poria Decoction, Cinnamon Twig and Poria Pill, Cinnamon Twig and Poria Combination

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: InfertilityCystic acneAmenorrhoea and twelve other conditions

  1. Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation
  2. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids

Contraindications: Use with extreme caution during pregnancy or postpartum and only when there is... Use with extreme caution during pregnancy or postpartum and only when there is a confirmed diagnosis of Blood Stagnation. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) and Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation and 2) softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

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 Zhi Fu Ling Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Stagnation, Qi and Blood Stagnation or Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as menopausal syndrome, infertility or dysmenorrhea for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan helps treat.

The five ingredients in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Gui Zhi is a king ingredient in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Part used: Dried young branches

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Gui Zhi's main actions are as follows: "Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood."

In the context of Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, it is used because it unblocks the Blood vessels and reduces Blood Stagnation by promoting circulation.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Fu Ling is a king ingredient in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Fu Ling helps promote the downward circulation of Blood in cases of Blood Stagnation. It also nourishes the Qi of the Heart and Spleen, quiets the Heart, and calms the Mind (Shen), all of which helps calm the fetus in case this formula is taken by a pregnant woman. Poria-cocos mushrooms also have a strong diuretic action and hence help eliminate any Phlegm / Dampness that would complicate the Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Chi Shao is a deputy ingredient in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Chi Shao promotes the circulation of Blood to alleviate stagnation. It's also a diuretic, helping drain Dampness which facilitates the action of the key herbs in regulating the Blood.

Learn more about Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

Mu Dan Pi is an assistant ingredient in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

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

Mu Dan Pi works, together with Peach Kernels (the other assistant in this formula), to cool and invigorate the Blood (thereby breaking Stagnation), reduce abdominal masses and disperse accumulations.

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Tao Ren works, together with Mudan peony bark (the other assistant in this formula), to cool and invigorate the Blood (thereby breaking Stagnation), reduce abdominal masses and disperse accumulations.

Learn more about Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Conditions and patterns for which Gui Zhi Fu Ling 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 Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is used by TCM practitioners to treat four 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:

Menopausal syndrome Infertility Dysmenorrhea Postpartum bleeding Retained placenta Cervical erosion Polycystic ovaries Pelvic inflammatory disease Endometriosis Ectopic plancenta Prostatic hypertrophy Intestinal polyps Cystic acne Amenorrhoea Restless fetus

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan treats menopausal syndrome" for instance. Rather, Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind menopausal syndrome.

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan.

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

Blood Stagnation

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as stabbing pain, abdominal masses, purple nails and painful period. Patients with Blood Stagnation typically exhibit choppy (Se), wiry (Xian) or firm (Lao) pulses as well as a reddish-purple tongue.

Blood Stagnation - also often referred to as "Blood Stasis" - is where the Blood flow is heavily restricted in all or parts of the body. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the... read more about Blood Stagnation

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

Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels. This pattern leads to symptoms such as irregular menstruation, brown vaginal discharge, dark clots in menstrual blood and painful period. Patients with Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels typically exhibit choppy (Se) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Learn more about Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

Formulas similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is 40% similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang is 40% similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is 40% similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Wu Ling San is 40% similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang is 40% similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan is 38% similar to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan