Forsythia fruits (Lian Qiao) Rhubarb (Da Huang) Mirabilites (Mang Xiao) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Wild mint (Bo He) Lophatherum herbs (Dan Zhu Ye) Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Chinese: 凉膈散

Pinyin: Liáng Gé Sǎn

Other names: Cool the Diaphragm Powder

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat and resolve toxicity

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: EpilepsyStomatitisPharyngitis and seven other conditions

  1. Drains Fire
  2. Unblocks the bowels by clearing the Upper Burner
  3. Draining the Middle Burner

Contraindications: The use of this formula can readily injure the Spleen and Stomach Qi. The... The use of this formula can readily injure the Spleen and Stomach Qi. The dosage of Rhubarb and Mirabilite should therefore be reduced or omitted altogether once the constipation has been alleviated, or with the appearance of mild abdominal pain, pus in the stool, and fatigue. This formula is appropriate only for conditions of Heat Excess in the Upper and Middle burners and is contraindicated during pregnancy and for patients who are very weak. see more

Source date: 1107 AD

Source book: Formulary of the Pharmacy Service for Benefiting the People in the Taiping Era

Liang Ge San is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and resolve toxicity. Its main actions are: 1) drains Fire and 2) unblocks the bowels by clearing the Upper Burner.

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 pharyngitis, stomatitis or biliary tract infections for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eight ingredients in Liang Ge San, we review the patterns and conditions that Liang Ge San helps treat.

The eight ingredients in Liang Ge San

Lian Qiao is a king ingredient in Liang Ge San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao)

Part used: Dried fruit

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

Lian Qiao clears Heat and resolving Toxicity. It enters the Heart channel to disperse pathogenic Heat, eliminates all types of Heat from the Upper Burner, and is a specific herb for treating sores.

Learn more about Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao)

Da Huang is a deputy ingredient in Liang Ge San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. 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 Liang Ge San, it is used because it opens the bowel to flush Heat from the Middle Burner.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Mang Xiao is a deputy ingredient in Liang Ge San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. 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 Liang Ge San, it is used because it opens the bowel to flush Heat from the Middle Burner.

Learn more about Mirabilites (Mang Xiao)

Huang Qin is a deputy ingredient in Liang Ge San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLarge intestineLungSmall intestineSpleen

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

Huang Qin drains stagnant Heat from the Lungs and clears constrained Heat from the Diaphragm. It focus on the Upper and Middle Burners.

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Zhi Zi is a deputy ingredient in Liang Ge San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. 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

In general Zhi Zi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory."

In the context of Liang Ge San, it is used because it clears Heat from all three Burners through the urine and guides Fire out from below.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Bo He is an assistant ingredient in Liang Ge San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Wild Mint (Bo He)

Part used: Dried aerial parts

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Bo He is light in nature. It serves as assistant that calms irritability and alleviates the attendant head and throat symptoms by moving the Protective Qi and venting Heat from the Exterior.

Learn more about Wild Mint (Bo He)

Dan Zhu Ye is an assistant ingredient in Liang Ge San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Lophatherum Herbs (Dan Zhu Ye)

Part used: Dried stem and leaf

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartSmall intestineStomach

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

Dan Zhu Ye is light in nature. It serves as assistant that calms irritability and alleviates the attendant head and throat symptoms by moving the Protective Qi and venting Heat from the Exterior.

Learn more about Lophatherum Herbs (Dan Zhu Ye)

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

8. 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 along with small amount of honey, acts as envoys that moderate and harmonize the fierce action of Rhubarb and Mirabilit. It also protects the Stomach and preventing the abdominal pain that sometimes accompanies the use of purgative herbs.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

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