Goldthread rhizomes (Huang Lian) Bugbane rhizomes (Sheng Ma) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi) Dong quai (Dang Gui)

Qing Wei San

Chinese: 清胃散

Pinyin: Qīng Wèi Sàn

Other names: Clear the Stomach Powder

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat from the Organs

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: GlossitisStomatitisPeriodontitis and one other condition

  1. Drains Stomach Fire
  2. Cools the Blood
  3. Nourishes the Yin

Contraindications: Contraindicated in cases with toothache due to Wind-Cold, or tooth and gum... Contraindicated in cases with toothache due to Wind-Cold, or tooth and gum problems due to Kidney Deficiency. see more

Source date: 1336 AD

Source book: Secrets from the Orchid Chamber

Qing Wei San is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1336 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from the Organs. Its main actions are: 1) drains Stomach Fire and 2) cools the Blood.

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 Qing Wei San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as stomatitis, periodontitis or glossitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Qing Wei San, we review the patterns and conditions that Qing Wei San helps treat.

The five ingredients in Qing Wei San

Huang Lian is a king ingredient in Qing Wei San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachHeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Lian's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites"

In the context of Qing Wei San, it is used because it attacks the Stomach Fire and drains the accumulation of Heat.

Learn more about Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Sheng Ma is a deputy ingredient in Qing Wei San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Bugbane Rhizomes (Sheng Ma)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Ma raises and disperses the Heat and resolves toxicity. Discussion of Medicinal Properties, a Chinese medicine classic, lists it as a specific herb for toothache, ulcers, and festering sores in the mouth. Its synergy with Goldthread rhizome (Huang Lian) , the key herb in this formula, ensures that draining of Fire does not harm the Qi dynamic, and that the ascent of Yang does not further fan the rising Fire.

Learn more about Bugbane Rhizomes (Sheng Ma)

Mu Dan Pi is an assistant ingredient in Qing Wei San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Part used: Root barks

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Mu Dan Pi works together with Unprepared Rehmannia (Sheng Di Huang), another assistant herb here, to cool the Blood and nourish the Yin

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Dang Gui is an assistant ingredient in Qing Wei San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Dang Gui's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation."

In the context of Qing Wei San, it is used because it reduces swelling and alleviates pain by harmonizing the Blood.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

5. Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Di Huang's main actions are as follows: "Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes."

Learn more about Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Qing Wei San is used to treat Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat

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 Qing Wei San is mostly used to treat the pattern "Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Stomatitis Periodontitis Glossitis Trigeminal neuralgia

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Qing Wei San treats stomatitis" for instance. Rather, Qing Wei San is used to treat Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, which is sometimes the root cause behind stomatitis.

Now let's look at Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Qing Wei San.

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

Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat

Qing Wei San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as toothache, headaches, breast distention and breast lumps. Patients with Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Learn more about Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat

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