Mulberry leaves (Sang Ye) Gypsum (Shi Gao) Dwarf lilyturf roots (Mai Dong) Donkey-hide gelatin (E Jiao)  Black sesame seeds (Hei Zhi M?) Apricot seeds (Xing Ren) Loquat leaves  (Pi Pa Ye) Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang

Chinese: 清燥救肺汤

Pinyin: Qīng Zào Jiù Fèi Tāng

Other names: Clear Dryness and Rescue the Lungs Decoction,Eriobotrya and Ophiopogon Combination

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that disperse Dryness and moisten

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: AsthmaInfluenzaPneumonia and six other conditions

  1. Clears dryness
  2. Moistens the Lungs

Contraindications: Use with caution for patients with Spleen and Stomach Deficiency due to the... Use with caution for patients with Spleen and Stomach Deficiency due to the formula's rich cloying herbs. see more

Source date: 1658 AD

Source book: Precepts for Physicians

Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Mulberry Leaves (Sang Ye) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1658 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that disperse Dryness and moisten. Its main actions are: 1) clears dryness and 2) moistens the Lungs.

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 Zao Jiu Fei Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as influenza, acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the nine ingredients in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang helps treat.

The nine ingredients in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang

Sang Ye is a king ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Mulberry Leaves (Sang Ye)

Part used: Dried leaves

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sang Ye clears and disperses Dryness from the Lungs. It is said that the Mulberry leaves capture the Metal Qi of Autumn as they stay in the mulberry tree until after a frost. 

Learn more about Mulberry Leaves (Sang Ye)

Shi Gao is a deputy ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Gypsum (Shi Gao)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

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

Shi Gao clears Heat from the Lung and Stomach Channels so as to relieve thirst. It is used to counterbalance the spreading action of the key herb.

Learn more about Gypsum (Shi Gao)

Mai Dong is a deputy ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong)

Part used: Dried root tuber

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Mai Dong is sweet and cooling. It supports Body Fluids generating so as to nourish the Yin. It also assists the key herb in protecting the Yin and the Lungs from Heat Dryness invasion.

Learn more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong)

E Jiao is an assistant ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao)

Part used: Solid glue prepared from the dried or fresh skin of donkeys

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiverLung

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

E Jiao moistens the Lungs and nourish the Lung Yin. It harmonizes the Heat-clearing and Lung Qi-disseminating actions of the other ingredients with a moistening action.

Learn more about Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao)

Hei Zhi M? is an assistant ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Black Sesame Seeds (Hei Zhi M?)

Part used: Dried seeds

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Laxative herbs that drain downward

Hei Zhi M? moistens the Lungs and nourish the Lung Yin. It harmonizes the Heat-clearing and Lung Qi-disseminating actions of the other ingredients with a moistening action.

Learn more about Black Sesame Seeds (Hei Zhi M?)

Xing Ren is an assistant ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: Large intestineLung

Category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

In general Xing Ren's main actions are as follows: "Stops cough and wheezing caused by either Heat or Cold. Lubricates the Intestines and relieves constipation."

In the context of Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang, it is used because it moistens the Lungs and also directs the Lung Qi to go downwards.

Learn more about Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Pi Pa Ye is an assistant ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Loquat Leaves (Pi Pa Ye)

Part used: Dried leaves

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

In general Pi Pa Ye's main actions are as follows: "Expels hot phlegm in the Lungs and redirects rebellious Lung Qi. Cools stomach Heat and redirects rebellious Stomach Qi. Relieves cough and vomiting."

In the context of Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang, it is used because it moistens the Lungs and also directs the Lung Qi to go downwards.

Learn more about Loquat Leaves (Pi Pa Ye)

Ren Shen is an assistant ingredient in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen tonifies Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner. It supports the 'mother' (Spleen) in order to benefit the 'child' (Lungs).  Glehnia roots or Crown prince ginseng are often used to replace Ginseng as they are less expensive, but also they nourish the Lung Yin directly and tonifies Qi in the Middle Burner. 


Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

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

9. 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 actions of the other herbs in the formula. It also tonifies Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner. It supports the 'mother' (Spleen) in order to benefit the 'child' (Lungs).

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang is used to treat Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire

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 Zao Jiu Fei Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire" which we describe below.

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

Influenza Acute bronchitis Chronic bronchitis Asthma Bronchiectasis Pulmonary tuberculosis Pneumonia Pertussis Lung cancer

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang treats influenza" for instance. Rather, Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang is used to treat Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire, which is sometimes the root cause behind influenza.

Now let's look at Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang.

'Heat' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Heat pattern in Chinese Medicine

Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Floating (Fu)

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Sweating Dry Skin Dry nose Dry cough Dry mouth Dry throat Sore throat Aversion to cold

Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, thirst, sweating and sore throat. Patients with Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or floating (Fu) pulses.

Within the Four-Levels theory, Dry-Heat is the first level of invasion of External Pathogens, when it still resides in the body's Exterior.

It is the combination of two pathogens: Heat and Dryness. Both Evils can hurt Body Fluids and as a result injures Yin.  As vicious circle, it makes the... read more about Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire

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