Sweet wormwood herbs (Qing Hao) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin) Bamboo shavings (Zhu Ru) Crow-dipper rhizomes (Ban Xia) Bitter oranges (Zhi Ke) Tangerine peel (Chen Pi) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Talc (Hua Shi)

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Chinese: 蒿芩清胆汤

Pinyin: Hāo Qín Qīng Dǎn Tāng

Other names: Sweet Wormwood and Scutellaria Decoction to Clear the Gallbladder

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that harmonize lesser Yang-warp disorders

Mother formula: Er Chen Tang

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: MalariaTyphoidPneumonia and nine other conditions

  1. Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder
  2. Relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes
  3. Resolves Phlegm
  4. Harmonizes the Stomach

Contraindications: Contraindicated for Phlegm Damp cases due to Yang Deficiency.

Source date: Qing Dynasty

Source book: Revised Popular Guide to the Discussion of Cold Damage

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Sweet Wormwood Herbs (Qing Hao) and Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin) as principal ingredients.

Invented in Qing Dynasty, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize lesser Yang-warp disorders. Its main actions are: 1) clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder and 2) relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes.

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 Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Phlegm or Heat in Gall Bladder. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as cholecystitis, icteric hepatitis or pyelonephritis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the ten ingredients in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang helps treat.

The ten ingredients in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Qing Hao is a king ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Sweet Wormwood Herbs (Qing Hao)

Qing Hao , together with Baikal skullcap root (Huang Qin), the other key herb in the formula, drain Damp Heat from the Liver and Gallbladder

Learn more about Sweet Wormwood Herbs (Qing Hao)

Huang Qin is a king ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenHeartLarge intestineLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

Huang Qin , together with Sweet wormwood herb, the other key herb in the formula, drain Damp Heat from the Liver and Gallbladder

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Zhu Ru is a deputy ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Bamboo Shavings (Zhu Ru)

Part used: Dried middle shavings

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: GallbladderStomachLung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

In general Zhu Ru's main actions are as follows: "Clears Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. Clears Heat in the Stomach and stops vomiting. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding."

In the context of Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang, it is used because it drains Heat from the Gallbladder and Stomach and stops the vomiting.

Learn more about Bamboo Shavings (Zhu Ru)

Ban Xia is a deputy ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Part used: Dried rhizome and tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Ban Xia , together with Bitter orange and Tangerine peel (Chen Pi), other deputies of this formula, drains Gallbladder and Stomach Heat, directs rebellious Qi downward, harmonizes the Stomach, and transforms Phlegm.

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Zhi Ke is a deputy ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Bitter Oranges (Zhi Ke)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungentSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Zhi Ke , together with Crow-dipper rhizome (Ban Xia) and Tangerine peel (Chen Pi), other deputies of this formula, drains Gallbladder and Stomach Heat, directs rebellious Qi downward, harmonizes the Stomach, and transforms Phlegm.

Learn more about Bitter Oranges (Zhi Ke)

Chen Pi is a deputy ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp of the ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Chen Pi , together with Crow-dipper rhizome (Ban Xia) and Bitter orange, other deputies of this formula, drains Gallbladder and Stomach Heat, directs rebellious Qi downward, harmonizes the Stomach, and transforms Phlegm.

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Fu Ling is an assistant ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Fu Ling , together with Liquorice (Gan Cao), Talc (Hua Shi) and Natural Indigo (Qing Dai), the other assistants in this formula, drain Damp Heat through the urine to break Stagnation in the Triple Burner.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Hua Shi is an assistant ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Talc (Hua Shi)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderStomach

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Hua Shi , together with Liquorice (Gan Cao), Poria-cocos mushroom (Fu Ling) and Natural Indigo (Qing Dai), the other assistants in this formula, drain Damp Heat through the urine to break Stagnation in the Triple Burner.

Learn more about Talc (Hua Shi)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao , together with Talc (Hua Shi), Poria-cocos mushroom (Fu Ling) and Natural Indigo (Qing Dai), the other assistants in this formula, drain Damp Heat through the urine to break Stagnation in the Triple Burner.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

10. Natural Indigo (Qing Dai)

Part used: Dried powder or mass prepared from the leaf and/or the stem

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Salty

Meridian affinity: StomachLiverLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

In general Qing Dai's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat, resolves Fire toxicity and cools the Blood. Disperses Stagnation and reduces swelling. Drains Liver Fire, dispels Summer-Heat and extinguishes Wind to stop tremors."

Learn more about Natural Indigo (Qing Dai)

Conditions and patterns for which Hao Qin Qing Dan 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 Hao Qin Qing Dan 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:

Cholecystitis Icteric hepatitis Pyelonephritis Malaria Typhoid Pelvic inflammatory disease Pneumonia Leptospirosis Reflux gastritis Aural vertigo Hypertension Coronary artery disease

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang treats cholecystitis" for instance. Rather, Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind cholecystitis.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang.

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm. This pattern leads to symptoms such as chest pressure, nausea, dizziness and feeling of heaviness. Patients with Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick coating.

Phlegm has a great importance in Chinese Medicine as it is both a condition in and of itself as well as a cause for other diseases.

The main cause for the formation of Phlegm is Spleen Deficiency since the Spleen rules the transformation and transportation of Body Fluids. If this function is... read more about Phlegm

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

Heat in Gall Bladder

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heat in Gall Bladder. This pattern leads to symptoms such as mild chills alternating with pronounced fever, bitter taste in the mouth, stifling sensation in the chest and spitting up bitter or sour fluids. Patients with Heat in Gall Bladder typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with thick coating, yellow coating.

Learn more about Heat in Gall Bladder

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