Stephania roots (Fang Ji) Pricklyash Seeds (Jiao Mu) Lepidium seeds (Ting Li Zi) Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Chinese: 己椒苈簧囊

Pinyin: Jǐ Liāo Lì Huáng Náng

Other names: Stephanie, Zanthoxylum, Tingli Seed, and Rhubarb Pill

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that drive out excess water

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: HydroceleCirrhosis with ascites

  1. Drives out water
  2. Reduces distention
  3. Scours out thin mucus
  4. Moves the Qi

Contraindications: This formula should not be used if the accumulation of Body Fluids is... This formula should not be used if the accumulation of Body Fluids is accompanied with Spleen Deficiency. It, like all purging formulas, should only be used for a brief period of time. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Stephania Roots (Fang Ji) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that drive out excess water. Its main actions are: 1) drives out water and 2) reduces distention.

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 cirrhosis with ascites or hydrocele for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the four ingredients in Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan helps treat.

The four ingredients in Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan

Fang Ji is a king ingredient in Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Stephania Roots (Fang Ji)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Fang Ji's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination. Allays pain and dispels Wind-Damp painful obstruction (Bi Pain)."

In the context of Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan, it is used because it is bitter, cooling, and acrid, and it expels pathogenic Dampness through urine.

Learn more about Stephania Roots (Fang Ji)

Jiao Mu is an assistant ingredient in Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

2. Pricklyash Seeds (Jiao Mu)

Part used: Seeds

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderSpleen

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Jiao Mu's main actions are as follows: "Promotes and regulates urination so as to reduce. Clears Phlegm and relieves dyspnea. "

In the context of Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan, it is used because it acts with Stephania root to promote urination and remove Qi Stagnation.

Learn more about Pricklyash Seeds (Jiao Mu)

Ting Li Zi is an assistant ingredient in Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Lepidium Seeds (Ting Li Zi)

Part used: Seeds

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderLung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Ting Li Zi is bitter, acrid, and cold. It clears Dampness and Qi Stagnation from the Intestines along with Rhubarb.  Lepidium seeds also focus on the Lungs, which are the upper source of water. If the Lung Qi flows smoothly, the waterways will be unimpeded. Lepidium seeds drains Lung Qi by forcefully breaking up Stagnation and promoting urination. The Lungs and the Large Intestine are the paring Zang Fu Organs. When the Lung Qi descends properly, it clears bowel passage and facility bowel movement.

Learn more about Lepidium Seeds (Ting Li Zi)

Da Huang is an assistant ingredient in Ji Jiao Li Huang Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

Da Huang is bitter and cooling. It directs the Qi downward and removes Qi Stagnation from the Stomach and Intestines.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

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