Sichuan chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi) Corydalis tubers (Yan Hu Suo)

Jin Ling Zi San

Chinese: 金铃子散

Pinyin: Jīn Líng Zǐ Sàn

Other names: Melia Toosendan Powder

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that promote Qi movement

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

  1. Moves Liver Blood and Liver Qi
  2. Drains Liver Heat or Fire
  3. Stops pain

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy. Contraindicated for treating pain from... Contraindicated during pregnancy. Contraindicated for treating pain from Liver Qi Stagnation in the context of Cold conditions. see more

Source date: 992 AD

Source book: Formulas from Benevolent Sages Compiled during the Taiping Era

Jin Ling Zi San is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Sichuan Chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 992 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement. Its main actions are: 1) moves Liver Blood and Liver Qi and 2) drains Liver Heat or Fire.

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 Jin Ling Zi San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Qi and Blood Stagnation or Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as prolonged periods, peptic ulcers or chronic gastritis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the two ingredients in Jin Ling Zi San, we review the patterns and conditions that Jin Ling Zi San helps treat.

The two ingredients in Jin Ling Zi San

Chuan Lian Zi is a king ingredient in Jin Ling Zi San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Sichuan Chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiverSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Chuan Lian Zi clears Heat from the chest, hypochondrium, and groin area by draining it through the urine. When the Heat has been removed, and the Fire Stagnation resolved, the Liver can once again carry out its regulating function.

Learn more about Sichuan Chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi)

2. Corydalis Tubers (Yan Hu Suo)

Part used: Dried tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiverLung

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Yan Hu Suo's main actions are as follows: "Moves the Blood, breaks Blood Stagnation and reduces associated pain. Regulates Stagnant Qi and reduces associated pain."

In the context of Jin Ling Zi San, it is used because it invigorates the Blood by moving Qi and eases pain.

Learn more about Corydalis Tubers (Yan Hu Suo)

Conditions and patterns for which Jin Ling Zi San 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 Jin Ling Zi San 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:

Prolonged periods Peptic ulcers Chronic gastritis Hepatitis Cholecystitis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Jin Ling Zi San treats prolonged periods" for instance. Rather, Jin Ling Zi San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind prolonged periods.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Jin Ling Zi San.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Symptoms: Hernial pain Irritability Bitter taste in the mouth Intermittent epigastric pain Painful periods that get worse with hot food or drinks

Jin Ling Zi San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as intermittent epigastric pain, hernial pain, painful periods that get worse with hot food or drinks and irritability. Patients with Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Learn more about Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat

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