Talc (Hua Shi) Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Liu Yi San

Chinese: 六一散

Pinyin: Liù Yī Sàn

Other names: Six-to-One Powder

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that dispel Summer-Heat and facilitate resolution of Dampness

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: CystitisHeatstrokeUrethritis and three other conditions

  1. Clears Summer-Heat
  2. Drains Dampness
  3. Supplements Qi

Contraindications: Contraindicated for the elderly or those with Yin Deficiency. It is also not... Contraindicated for the elderly or those with Yin Deficiency. It is also not for those without signs of Dampness. see more

Source date: 1172 AD

Source book: Formulas from the Discussion Illuminating the Yellow Emperor's Basic Questions

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.

The two ingredients in Liu Yi San

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.

1. Talc (Hua Shi)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderStomach

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.

Learn more about Talc (Hua Shi)

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.

2. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

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.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Liu Yi 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 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:

Stomach flu Gastroenteritis Heatstroke Cystitis Urethritis Urinary stones

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

Summer Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Soggy (Ru)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Sweating Diarrhea Vomiting Irritability Urinary difficulty

Liu Yi San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Summer Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, sweating, thirst and irritability. Patients with Summer Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as a tongue with yellow coating.

Learn more about Summer Heat

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

Damp-Heat in the Bladder

Liu Yi San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Heat in the Bladder. This pattern leads to symptoms such as painful urinary dribbling, stony painful urinary dribbling, urine the color of rice water (grey and cloudy) and urinary dribbling. Patients with Damp-Heat in the Bladder typically exhibit a tongue with yellow coating

Learn more about Damp-Heat in the Bladder

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