Rhubarb (Da Huang) Mirabilites (Mang Xiao) Immature Bitter Oranges (Zhi Shi) Houpu Magnolia bark (Hou Pu) Ginseng (Ren Shen) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Platycodon roots (Jie Geng) Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Chinese: 黄龙汤

Pinyin: Huáng Lóng Tāng

Other names: Yellow Dragon Decoction

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that simultaneously attack and tonify

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

  1. Clear Heat from the Interior
  2. Supports the Original Qi

Source date: 1445 AD

Source book: Six Texts on Cold Damage

Huang Long Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Rhubarb (Da Huang) and Mirabilites (Mang Xiao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1445 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that simultaneously attack and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) clear Heat from the Interior and 2) Supports the Original Qi.

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.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as typhoid, paratyphoid or meningitis for instance.

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

The ten ingredients in Huang Long Tang

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

1. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Da Huang's main actions are as follows: "Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Bright Yang stage according to the Six Stages Theory. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis."

In the context of Huang Long Tang, it is used because it helps to drain Heat and unblock the bowels along with Mirabilite.

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Mang Xiao is a king ingredient in Huang Long Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Mirabilites (Mang Xiao)

Part used: The rock crushed as a powder

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSalty

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestine

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Mang Xiao's main actions are as follows: "Purges Stagnation in the Intestines caused by Heat and Dryness, Cools Heat and abates swelling"

In the context of Huang Long Tang, it is used because it helps to drain Heat and unblock the bowels along with Rhubarb.

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

3. Immature Bitter Oranges (Zhi Shi)

Part used: Dried unripe fruit

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungentSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Zhi Shi's main actions are as follows: "Regulates the flow of Qi in the Middle Burner and reduces Food Stagnation. Moves Qi downward and helps constipation. Reduces Stagnant Phlegm and lessens distention and pain. For prolapse of organs when used with the appropriate herbs."

In the context of Huang Long Tang, it is used because it reduces fullness and distention.

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

4. Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu)

Part used: Dried stem bark, root bark or branch bark

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

In general Hou Pu's main actions are as follows: "Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung."

In the context of Huang Long Tang, it is used because it spreads Qi and helps the key ingredients to moving Qi so as to expel stools.

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

5. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Ren Shen's main actions are as follows: "Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit)."

In the context of Huang Long Tang, it is used because it protect the Normal Qi by tonifying the Original Qi.

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

6. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLiverSpleen

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 Huang Long Tang, it is used because it protect the General Qi and tonifies the Blood.

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Jie Geng is an assistant ingredient in Huang Long Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Platycodon Roots (Jie Geng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Jie Geng removes Lung and Large Intestine Qi Stagnation. It also has an uplifting action that helps to counteract the downward-draining action of the key ingredients. This allows the Stagnation to be eliminated without causing a collapse of the Middle Qi.

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Sheng Jiang is an assistant ingredient in Huang Long Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang adjusts and regulates the nutritive and protective Qi. It regulates the disparate actions of the other ingredients, and ultimately hasten recovery.

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Da Zao is an assistant ingredient in Huang Long Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Da Zao adjusts and regulates the nutritive and protective Qi. It regulates the disparate actions of the other ingredients, and ultimately hasten recovery.

Learn more about Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Huang Long Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

10. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao assists the other tonifying ingredients in supporting the normal Qi and strengthening the Stomach and Spleen. It also plays a role to harmonize the actions of the other ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

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