The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Liu Yi San is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Talc (Hua Shi) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 1172 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dispel Summer-Heat and facilitate resolution of Dampness. Its main actions are: 1) clears Summer-Heat and 2) drains Dampness.
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 Liu Yi San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Summer-Heat or Damp-Heat in the Bladder. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as stomach flu, gastroenteritis or heatstroke for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the two ingredients in Liu Yi San, we review the patterns and conditions that Liu Yi San helps treat.
Hua Shi is a king ingredient in Liu Yi San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: The mineral itself
Category: Herbs that drain Dampness
Hua Shi clears Summer-Heat and facilitates the resolution of Dampness. Its nature is heavy, and it therefore directs downward. It is also slippery and able to facilitate passage through the openings, be they the pores of the skin or the urinary orifices.
Gan Cao is a deputy ingredient in Liu Yi San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Gan Cao harmonizes the middle and has a mild ability to clear Heat and resolve toxicity. Its combination with Talc (Hua Shi) not only promotes urination, but also generates Fluids, thereby enabling the formula to perform its tasks without injuring the Qi or body Fluids.
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 Liu Yi 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:
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Liu Yi San treats stomach flu" for instance. Rather, Liu Yi San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind stomach flu.
Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Liu Yi San.
'Heat' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Heat pattern in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Soggy (Ru)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Liu Yi San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Summer-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, sweating and headaches. Patients with Summer-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as Red in the front or sides with a white sticky coating.
Summer Heat is one of the four patterns of the Defensive Qi level, the first level of invasion in the Four Level theory.
It corresponds to the invasion of "External Evil" Summer-Heat. As the name indicates, it predominantly tends to occur during the summer.
As a pattern situated at the Defensive Qi... read more about Summer-Heat
The Bladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Bladder in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Symptoms: Fever Dark Urine Turbid urine Blood in urine Feeling of heat Burning urination Urinary dribbling Painful urinary dribbling Frequent and urgent urination Hypogastric fullness and pain Thirst with no desire to drink Stony painful urinary dribbling Urination stopping in the middle of flow Urine the color of rice water (grey and cloudy)
Liu Yi San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Heat in the Bladder. This pattern leads to symptoms such as frequent and urgent urination, burning urination, urination stopping in the middle of flow and dark urine. Patients with Damp-Heat in the Bladder typically exhibit rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as Thick sticky yellow coating on the root with red spots..
The Heat causes burning and other Heat sensations.
In extreme cases, Dampness can materialize into... read more about Damp-Heat in the Bladder