Ginseng (Ren Shen) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Cinnamon bark (Rou Gui) White peony roots (Bai Shao)

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Chinese: 人参当归汤

Pinyin: Rén Shēn Dāng Guī Tāng

Other names: Ginseng Angelica Decoction

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that nourish Yin and tonify

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Postpartum depression

  1. Tonifies Qi and Blood
  2. Nourishes Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Source book: Golden Mirror of Medicine

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) and Dong Quai (Dang Gui) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1742 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) tonifies Qi and Blood and 2) nourishes Yin.

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 Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Heart Yin Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as postpartum depression for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the six ingredients in Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang helps treat.

The six ingredients in Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Ren Shen is a king ingredient in Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Ren Shen's main actions are as follows: "Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit)."

In the context of Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, it is used because it tonifies the original Qi.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Dang Gui is a king ingredient in Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. 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 Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood. Blood is a Yin element.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Rou Gui is a deputy ingredient in Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui)

Part used: Dried stem bark

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold

Rou Gui promotes Qi and Blood creation. Despite its Hot nature which would normally worsen Yin Deficiency (since Yin is Cold in nature), a small quantity in the formula acts as a 'spark' to promote the generation of Blood and Yin.

Learn more about Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui)

4. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Bai Shao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain."

In the context of Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

5. Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Shu Di huang's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys."

In the context of Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

6. Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong)

Part used: Dried root tuber

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

In general Mai Dong's main actions are as follows: "Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart."

In the context of Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, it is used because it nourishes Yin.

Learn more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong)

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is used to treat Heart Yin Deficiency

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 Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Heart Yin Deficiency" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Heart Yin Deficiency it is worth mentioning that it is often associated with the condition "postpartum depression". Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang treats postpartum depression". Rather, Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is used to treat Heart Yin Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind postpartum depression.

Now let's look at Heart Yin Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang.

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

Heart Yin Deficiency

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heart Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as palpitations, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep and easily scared. Patients with Heart Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu), fine (Xi) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

This pattern developed from Heart Blood Deficiency. Both patterns share similar symptoms such as insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, easily scared, poor memory and anxiety, but with also has additional Empty Heat symptoms such as malar flush, mental restlessness and night sweats. Middle-aged or... read more about Heart Yin Deficiency

Formulas similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Sheng Yu Tang is 67% similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang is 57% similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Si Wu Tang is 50% similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Tong Ru Dan is 50% similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Tao Hong Si Wu Tang is 50% similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Shi Quan Da Bu Tang is 50% similar to Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang