Saposhnikovia roots (Fang Feng) Japanese catnip (Jing Jie) Wild mint (Bo He) Platycodon roots (Jie Geng) Forsythia fruits (Lian Qiao) Greater burdock fruits (Niu Bang Zi) Baikal skullcap roots (Huang Qin) Goldthread rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Chinese: 清心利膈汤

Pinyin: Qīng Xīn Lì Gé Tāng

Other names: Clear the Heart and Enable the Diaphragm Decoction

Number of ingredients: 13 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: TonsillitisEpiglottitisPeritonsillar abscess

  1. Clears Toxic-Heat
  2. Unblocks the stool
  3. Benefits the throat

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy or for breastfeeding mother. Use with caution... Contraindicated during pregnancy or for breastfeeding mother. Use with caution for young kids, the elderly, the debilitated or those with loose stools. Not for long term use. see more

Source date: 1602 AD

Source book: Indispensable Tools for Pattern Treatment

Qing Xin Li Ge Tang is a 13-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng), Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) and Wild Mint (Bo He) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1602 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores. Its main actions are: 1) clears Toxic-Heat and 2) unblocks the stool.

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 Xin Li Ge Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as tonsillitis, peritonsillar abscess or epiglottitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the thirteen ingredients in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Qing Xin Li Ge Tang helps treat.

The thirteen ingredients in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang

Fang Feng is a king ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: BladderLiverSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Fang Feng's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Relieves Wind-Damp-Cold painful obstruction. Disperses Wind."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it is acrid and cool. It disperses clumped Heat and clear pathogenic Heat.

Learn more about Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Jing Jie is a king ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie)

Part used: Aerial portion and flowers, or the spikes only (in which case it is called Jing Jie Sui)

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Jing Jie's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold or Heat depending on the other herbs used. Releases the Exterior for measles. Stops bleeding. Abates swellings."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it is acrid and cool. It disperses clumped Heat and clear pathogenic Heat.

Learn more about Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie)

Bo He is a king ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

3. 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

In general Bo He's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind-Heat. Clears Wind-Heat from the head, eyes and throat. Allows the release of toxins from the skin. Moves Stagnant Liver Qi"

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it is acrid and cool. It disperses clumped Heat and clear pathogenic Heat.

Learn more about Wild Mint (Bo He)

Jie Geng is a deputy ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Platycodon Roots (Jie Geng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

In general Jie Geng's main actions are as follows: "Opens the Lungs and smoothes the flow of Lung Qi. Expels Phlegm and pus from the Lungs and throat, can be used for either Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat according to the other herbs in the formula. Directs the actions of other herbs to the Upper Warmer."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it work with Wild mint to resolve Toxicity and disperse clumps, and to clear the throat.

Learn more about Platycodon Roots (Jie Geng)

Lian Qiao is a deputy ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. 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

In general Lian Qiao's main actions are as follows: "Expels Heat and toxicity from the Blood. Dispels External Wind-Heat. Reduces lumps, swollen lymph nodes and sores of a Heated nature."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it is acrid and cool. It disperses clumped Heat and clear pathogenic Heat.

Learn more about Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao)

Niu Bang Zi is a deputy ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. Greater Burdock Fruits (Niu Bang Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: LungStomach

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Niu Bang Zi's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Heat. Allows the release of toxicity from the surface and clears Heat. Reduces swelling and clears pathogenic Heat. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieves sore throat."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it work with Wild mint to resolve Toxicity and disperse clumps, and to clear the throat.

Learn more about Greater Burdock Fruits (Niu Bang Zi)

Huang Qin is an assistant ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. 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

In general Huang Qin's main actions are as follows: "Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it clear Toxic-Heat of the Lungs.

Learn more about Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin)

Huang Lian is an assistant ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLarge intestineLiverSpleenStomach

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 Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it clear Toxic-Heat of the Stomach.

Learn more about Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Zhi Zi is an assistant ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. 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 Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it clear Toxic-Heat of the Heart.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Xuan Shen is an assistant ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Ningpo Figwort Roots (Xuan Shen)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Large intestineLiverStomach

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Xuan Shen's main actions are as follows: "Expels true or Internal Heat and cools the Blood. Tonifies the Yin. Reduces inflammations and drains Fire toxicity. Reduces hard nodules, especially associated with the lymph."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it work with Wild mint to resolve Toxicity and disperse clumps, and to clear the throat.

Learn more about Ningpo Figwort Roots (Xuan Shen)

Da Huang is an assistant ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

Da Huang drains Fire by unblocking the stool. In this way, pathogenic Heat is dredged from the Exterior and cleared from the Interior, the clumped Heat is dispersed and drained, and the throat is cleared.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Mang Xiao is an assistant ingredient in Qing Xin Li Ge Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

12. 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

Mang Xiao drains Fire by unblocking the stool. In this way, pathogenic Heat is dredged from the Exterior and cleared from the Interior, the clumped Heat is dispersed and drained, and the throat is cleared.

Learn more about Mirabilites (Mang Xiao)

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

13. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Gan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs."

In the context of Qing Xin Li Ge Tang, it is used because it work with Wild mint to resolve Toxicity and disperse clumps, and to clear the throat.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Qing Xin Li Ge Tang is used to treat Phlegm-Heat in 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 Qing Xin Li Ge Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Tonsillitis Peritonsillar abscess Epiglottitis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Qing Xin Li Ge Tang treats tonsillitis" for instance. Rather, Qing Xin Li Ge Tang is used to treat Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs, which is sometimes the root cause behind tonsillitis.

Now let's look at Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Qing Xin Li Ge Tang.

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

Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs

Qing Xin Li Ge Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. This pattern leads to symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and stifling sensation in the chest. Patients with Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as Red swollen tongue with a sticky yellow coating.

This pattern is similar to Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs, but with additional Heat features, such as feeling of heat, thirst and profuse sticky yellow or green sputum. The typical manifestations of Phlegm are the coughing, short of breath, Phlegm in the throat and chest oppression. The Phlegm can also... read more about Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs

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