Notopterygium roots (Qiang Huo) Pubescent angelica roots (Du Huo) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Bupleurum roots (Chai Hu) Wild mint (Bo He) Platycodon roots (Jie Geng) Hogfennel roots (Qian Hu) Bitter oranges (Zhi Ke)

Ren Shen Bai Du San

Chinese: 人参败毒散

Pinyin: Rén Shēn Bài Dú Sàn

Other names: Ginseng Powder to Overcome Pathogenic Influences

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula category: External formulas for External disorders

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

  1. Releases the Exterior
  2. Dispels Wind and Dampness
  3. Augments Qi

Contraindications: Contraindicated for Heat or Damp Heat cases due to the warming and drying... Contraindicated for Heat or Damp Heat cases due to the warming and drying actions of the many ingredients. see more

Source date: 1119 AD

Source book: Craft of Medicines and Patterns for Children

Ren Shen Bai Du San is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo) and Pubescent Angelica Roots (Du Huo) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1119 AD, it belongs to the category of external formulas for External disorders. Its main actions are: 1) releases the Exterior and 2) dispels Wind and 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.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as common cold, influenza or mumps for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the twelve ingredients in Ren Shen Bai Du San, we review the patterns and conditions that Ren Shen Bai Du San helps treat.

The twelve ingredients in Ren Shen Bai Du San

Qiang Huo is a king ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo)

Part used: Dried rhizome and root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Qiang Huo dispels Wind Cold from the Exterior, dispels Dampness and alleviates
pain. It treat the symptoms of fever and chills without sweating, headache, and common pain and soreness.

Learn more about Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo)

Du Huo is a king ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Pubescent Angelica Roots (Du Huo)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

Du Huo dispels Wind Cold from the Exterior, dispels Dampness and alleviates
pain. It treat the symptoms of fever and chills without sweating, headache, and common pain and soreness.

Learn more about Pubescent Angelica Roots (Du Huo)

Chuan Xiong is a deputy ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Chuan Xiong assists the two key herbs in releasing the Exterior, invigorates the Blood and dispels Wind. It strengthens the the formula's pain relieving action, particularly in the head and neck.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Chai Hu is a deputy ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiver

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Chai Hu releases the Exterior, reduces the fever, and expels the pathogenic influences. Together with Wild mint, they are especially useful in releasing pathogenic influences from the muscle layer.

Learn more about Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

Bo He is a deputy ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. 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

Bo He releases the Exterior, reduces the fever, and expels the pathogenic influences. Together with Bupleurum root, they are especially useful in releasing pathogenic influences from the muscle layer.

Learn more about Wild Mint (Bo He)

Jie Geng is an assistant ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. 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

Jie Geng invigorates Qi in the chest by directing it upwards, so as to ease chest discomfort. When combining with Qi descending herb Bitter orange, it is very power in invigorating Lung Qi, expelling Phlegm and stopping coughing, as they interact with Phlegm removing herb Hogfennel root.

Learn more about Platycodon Roots (Jie Geng)

Qian Hu is an assistant ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Hogfennel Roots (Qian Hu)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Qian Hu works together with Platycodon root and Bitter Orange in invigorating Lung Qi, expelling Phlegm, and stopping the coughing. It also works with Poria-cocos mushroom in transforming Phlegm and strengthening the Spleen. 

Learn more about Hogfennel Roots (Qian Hu)

Zhi Ke is an assistant ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Bitter Oranges (Zhi Ke)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungentSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Zhi Ke invigorates Qi in the chest by directing it upwards, so as to ease chest discomfort. When combining with Qi descending herb Bitter orange, it is very power in invigorating Lung Qi, expelling Phlegm and stopping coughing, as they interact with Phlegm removing herb Hogfennel root.

Learn more about Bitter Oranges (Zhi Ke)

Fu Ling is an assistant ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Fu Ling transforms Phlegm and strengthens the Spleen, when combing with Hogfennel root. It also releases Dampness and promotes urination. It is able to tonify without causing Stagnation or retention of pathogenic influences.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Sheng Jiang is an assistant ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Sheng Jiang's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning."

In the context of Ren Shen Bai Du San, it is used because it helps releasing the Exterior.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Ren Shen is an assistant ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen strengthens the normal Qi so as to expel the pathogenic influences, helps creating Body Fluids to generate sweating, and strengthens the body's resistance to recurrent invasion, which prevents a relapse.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Ren Shen Bai Du San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

12. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

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 Ren Shen Bai Du San, it is used because it harmonizes the actions of the other ingredients and assisting Ginseng in tonifying general Qi.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

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