Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Fennel seeds (Xiao Hui Xiang) Dried ginger (Gan Jiang) Cinnamon bark (Rou Gui) Corydalis tubers (Yan Hu Suo) Myrrh (Mo Yao) Flying squirrel faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) Dong quai (Dang Gui)

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Chinese: 少腹逐瘀汤

Pinyin: Shǎo Fù Zhú Yū Tāng

Other names: Drive Out Stasis from the Lower Abdomen Decoction

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Mother formula: Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Menstrual crampsLate menstruationScanty menstruation and one other condition

  1. Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood
  2. Stops pain
  3. Invigorates Blood
  4. Dispels Blood stagnation

Source date: 1830 AD

Source book: Correction of Errors Among Physicians

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1830 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood and 2) stops pain.

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 Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Stagnation, Cold in the Uterus or Qi and Blood Stagnation. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as scanty menstruation, menstrual cramps or late menstruation for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the ten ingredients in Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang helps treat.

The ten ingredients in Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Chuan Xiong is a king ingredient in Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chuan Xiong's main actions are as follows: "Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates the Blood and dispels Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

2. Fennel Seeds (Xiao Hui Xiang)

Part used: Dried ripe fruits

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachKidneyLiver

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

In general Xiao Hui Xiang's main actions are as follows: "Expels Cold and relieves pain. Regulates Qi of the Stomach."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it warms the Uterus and expels Cold.

Learn more about Fennel Seeds (Xiao Hui Xiang)

3. Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartKidneyLung

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

In general Gan Jiang's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and expels Cold. Restores collapse of Yang and expels Interior Cold. Warms the Lungs and assists expectoration of Cold Phlegm. Stops chronic bleeding caused by Cold."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it warms the Uterus and expels Cold.

Learn more about Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

4. 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

In general Rou Gui's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and Kidneys and tonifies the Yang. Expels Cold, Warms the meridians, promotes circulation of Qi and Blood and relieves pain. Used with tonics to assist in the generation of Qi and Blood."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it warms the Uterus and expels Cold.

Learn more about Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui)

5. Corydalis Tubers (Yan Hu Suo)

Part used: Dried tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiverLung

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Yan Hu Suo's main actions are as follows: "Moves the Blood, breaks Blood Stagnation and reduces associated pain. Regulates Stagnant Qi and reduces associated pain."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood, eliminates Stagnation and stops pain.

Learn more about Corydalis Tubers (Yan Hu Suo)

6. Myrrh (Mo Yao)

Part used: Dried resin of the tree

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Mo Yao's main actions are as follows: "Moves Blood and relieves Stagnation and pain caused by Blood Stagnation. Assists in wound healing."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood and stops pain.

Learn more about Myrrh (Mo Yao)

7. Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi)

Part used: Dried faeces

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Wu Ling Zhi's main actions are as follows: "Disperses congealed Blood in the lower abdomen and uterus and relieves pain. Promotes childhood nutrition with Cold Stagnation and focal abdominal swelling."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood, eliminates Stagnation and stops pain.

Learn more about Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi)

8. 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 Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates the Blood and dispels Blood Stagnation. It also nourishes the Blood and moistens.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

9. Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chi Shao's main actions are as follows: "Moves Blood, relieves pain and reduces swelling. Cools the Blood and the Liver."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates the Blood and dispels Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

10. Cattail Pollen (Pu Huang)

Part used: Dried pollen

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that stop bleeding

In general Pu Huang's main actions are as follows: "Stops bleeding by Cooling pathogenic Heat. Moves Blood and relieves Blood Stagnation."

In the context of Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood and stops pain.

Learn more about Cattail Pollen (Pu Huang)

Conditions and patterns for which Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang may be prescribed

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 Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat four different patterns which we describe below.

But before we delve into these patterns here is an overview of the Western conditions they're commonly associated with:

Scanty menstruation Menstrual cramps Late menstruation Absence of menstruation

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang treats scanty menstruation" for instance. Rather, Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind scanty menstruation.

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang.

Blood (Xue) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Blood in Chinese Medicine

Blood Stagnation

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as stabbing pain, abdominal masses, purple nails and painful period. Patients with Blood Stagnation typically exhibit choppy (Se), wiry (Xian) or firm (Lao) pulses as well as a reddish-purple tongue.

Blood Stagnation - also often referred to as "Blood Stasis" - is where the Blood flow is heavily restricted in all or parts of the body. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the... read more about Blood Stagnation

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

Cold in the Uterus

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Cold in the Uterus. This pattern leads to symptoms such as infertility, scanty periods, painful period and late period. Patients with Cold in the Uterus typically exhibit deep (Chen) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

'Cold in the Uterus' is one the most common TCM pattern for women. It can be responsible for many gynecological diseases such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, infertility, etc. Coldness can also lead to other TCM patterns such as Blood and Qi Stagnation

There are two types of Cold... read more about Cold in the Uterus

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