Natural indigo (Qing Dai) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Snake gourd seeds (Gua Lou Ren) Costazia skeletons (Fu Hai Shi)

Chinese: 咳血方

Pinyin: Ké Xiě Fāng

Other names: Coughing of Blood Formula, Ke Xue Fang

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that stop bleeding

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: BronchiectasisPulmonary tuberculosis

  1. Clears Fire
  2. Transforms Phlegm
  3. Preserves the Lungs
  4. Stops coughing and bleeding

Contraindications: This formula should not be given to patients with Spleen Deficiency or Lung and... This formula should not be given to patients with Spleen Deficiency or Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency. see more

Source date: 1481 AD

Source book: Essential Teachings of [Zhu] Dan-Xi

Ke Xie Fang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Natural Indigo (Qing Dai) and Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that stop bleeding. Its main actions are: 1) clears Fire and 2) transforms Phlegm.

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 Ke Xie Fang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Fire insulting the Lungs. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as pulmonary tuberculosis or bronchiectasis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Ke Xie Fang, we review the patterns and conditions that Ke Xie Fang helps treat.

The five ingredients in Ke Xie Fang

Qing Dai is a king ingredient in Ke Xie Fang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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

Qing Dai is salty and cold. It clears the Liver, drain Fire, and cool the Blood.  It also disperses the Fire from Stagnation and thereby prevents Liver Fire from scorching the Heart and Lungs.

Learn more about Natural Indigo (Qing Dai)

Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Ke Xie Fang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

Zhi Zi is bitter and cold. It clears the Liver, drain Fire, and cool the Blood.  To stop bleeding of this type, it is advisable to direct the Qi downward, since the Blood will follow the Qi.  Cape jasmine fruit also descends Qi, thereby clearing Heat from the Heart and relieving the irritability.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Gua Lou Ren is a deputy ingredient in Ke Xie Fang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Snake Gourd Seeds (Gua Lou Ren)

Part used: The seeds, dried

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestineLung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Gua Lou Ren is sweet and cold. It cools and transforms the hot Phlegm and reduce the Fire. Compare with the other deputy Costazia skeleton, it focuses more on moistening the Lungs and stopping coughing.

Learn more about Snake Gourd Seeds (Gua Lou Ren)

Fu Hai Shi is a deputy ingredient in Ke Xie Fang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Costazia Skeletons (Fu Hai Shi)

Part used: The skeleton

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Salty

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Fu Hai Shi is sweet and cold. It cools and transforms the hot Phlegm and reduce the Fire. Compare with the other deputy Snake gourd seeds, it focus more on softening what is hard.

Learn more about Costazia Skeletons (Fu Hai Shi)

He Zi is an assistant ingredient in Ke Xie Fang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Terminalia Fruits (He Zi)

Part used: Dry ripe fruits

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestineLung

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

He Zi is bitter, sour, astringent, and neutral.  It cools the Lungs while containing
any leakage of Lung Qi and stopping the coughing.

Learn more about Terminalia Fruits (He Zi)

Ke Xie Fang is used to treat Liver Fire insulting the Lungs

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 Ke Xie Fang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Liver Fire insulting the Lungs" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Liver Fire insulting the Lungs here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Pulmonary tuberculosis Bronchiectasis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ke Xie Fang treats pulmonary tuberculosis" for instance. Rather, Ke Xie Fang is used to treat Liver Fire insulting the Lungs, which is sometimes the root cause behind pulmonary tuberculosis.

Now let's look at Liver Fire insulting the Lungs, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Ke Xie Fang.

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

Liver Fire insulting the Lungs

Ke Xie Fang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Fire insulting the Lungs. This pattern leads to symptoms such as breathlessness, asthma, distention and pain in the chest and hypochondria and cough with yellow or blood-tinged sputum. Patients with Liver Fire insulting the Lungs typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses.

The Liver ensures the smooth flow of Qi, which includes the normal descending of Lung Qi.

Liver-Qi Stagnation, which is necessary for this pattern to develop, causes the feeling of distension of the chest and hypochondrium. If it persists over a long period of time, it can turn into Liver... read more about Liver Fire insulting the Lungs

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