Dong quai (Dang Gui) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) Peach kernels (Tao Ren) Black atractylodes rhizomes (Cang Zhu) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Achyranthes roots (Niu Xi)

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Chinese: 舒经活血汤

Pinyin: Shū Jīng Huó Xiě Tāng

Other names: Relax the Channels and Invigorate the Blood Decoction, Clematis and Stephania Combination

Number of ingredients: 16 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: GoutEdemaLumbago and thirteen other conditions

  1. Expels Wind Damp from the Channels
  2. Invigorates Blood
  3. Unblocks the channels

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Source date: 1587 AD

Source book: Restoration of Health from the Myriad Diseases

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang is a 16-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dong Quai (Dang Gui) and White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1587 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) expels Wind Damp from the Channels and 2) invigorates Blood.

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 Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as arthralgia, bell's palsy or neuralgias for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the sixteen ingredients in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang helps treat.

The sixteen ingredients in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Dang Gui is a king ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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 Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it invigorates the Blood and harmonize the Nutritive Qi.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Bai Shao is a king ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Bai Shao helps reduce the muscle spasms caused by Blood Deficiency and it is particularly well-suited to treat abdominal pain.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Chuan Xiong is a deputy ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. 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

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 Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it invigorates the Blood and harmonize the Nutritive Qi.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Di Huang is a deputy ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Di Huang's main actions are as follows: "Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it expels Heat by cooling Blood and tonifies Yin by generating Body Fluids.

Learn more about Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Tao Ren's main actions are as follows: "Moves Blood and breaks up Stasis. Moistens the Intestines. Relieves coughing."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood, removes Blood stagnation, and unblocks the Channels.

Learn more about Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Cang Zhu is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu)

Part used: The dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

In general Cang Zhu's main actions are as follows: "Dries Damp and tonifies the Spleen. Relieves the Exterior for invasion of Wind-Cold-Damp. Relieves Wind-Damp painful obstruction. Dries Damp for either Damp-Cold or Damp-Heat when combined with the correct herbs. Clears the eyes and improves sight."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it releases Wind Cold Damp from the Exterior and relieves Wind Damp obstruction pain.

Learn more about Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu)

Fu Ling is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Fu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it encourages urination and drains Dampness.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Niu Xi is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Niu Xi invigorates the Blood circulation through the vessels so as to relieve symptoms such as headache, dizziness, blurred vision and pain.

Learn more about Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Wei Ling Xian is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Clematis Roots (Wei Ling Xian)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSalty

Meridian affinity: Bladder

Category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

In general Wei Ling Xian's main actions are as follows: "Relieves Wind-Damp, circulates Qi and alleviates pain. clears meridians and eases pain. Softens and releases fish bones lodged in the throat."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it relieves pain by invigorating Qi, unblocking the Channels and removing Wind Damp.

Learn more about Clematis Roots (Wei Ling Xian)

Fang Ji is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Stephania Roots (Fang Ji)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Fang Ji's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination. Allays pain and dispels Wind-Damp painful obstruction (Bi Pain)."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it removes pain that is caused by Dampness invading the channels and joints.

Learn more about Stephania Roots (Fang Ji)

Qiang Huo is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. 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

In general Qiang Huo's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold and Dampness. Relieves Wind-Damp-Cold painful obstruction. Directs Qi to the Greater Yang (Tai Yang) channel and the Governing Vessel."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it releases Cold and Damp from the Exterior and relieves obstruction pain.

Learn more about Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo)

Fang Feng is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

12. Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: BladderSpleenLiver

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 Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it disperses Cold or Wind from the Exterior and relieves obstruction pain. .

Learn more about Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Long Dan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

13. Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLarge intestineLiverLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Long Dan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind."

In the context of Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it expels Damp Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Channels. .

Learn more about Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao)

Bai Zhi is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

14. Angelica Roots (Bai Zhi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Bai Zhi disperses Wind Cold from the Yang Brightness Channels. It also relieves pain and swelling due to Cold invading the Channels and Joints

Learn more about Angelica Roots (Bai Zhi)

Chen Pi is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

15. Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp of the ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Chen Pi dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. It also reduces the chance of Stagnation due to tonifying herbs. 

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

16. 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 Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, it is used because it harmonizes the actions of all other herbs.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang is used to treat Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles

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 Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Arthralgia Bell's palsy Neuralgias Neuralgia Lumbago Sciatica Hypertension Edema Paresthesia Peripheral neuropathy Arthritis Gout Purpura Hemiplegia Beriberi Monoplegia

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang treats arthralgia" for instance. Rather, Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang is used to treat Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles, which is sometimes the root cause behind arthralgia.

Now let's look at Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang.

Dampness is one of the pathogenic factors in Chinese Medicine. Learn more about Dampness in Chinese Medicine

Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles. This pattern leads to symptoms such as joint pain, joint stiff, swollen joints and numbness in the skin. Patients with Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles typically exhibit slow (Chi) or soggy (Ru) pulses.

It is a type of the Painful Obstruction Syndrome (Bi Syndrome 痹证). The Chinese name is called Shi Bi or Zhe Bi (湿痹 / 着痹). 

The most typical manifestation of the pattern are the swollen, pain and numbness of the joints or muscles. These conditions get worse during raining weather or when the... read more about Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles

Formulas similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang is 50% similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Da Fang Feng Tang is 44% similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Tuo Li Xiao Du San is 38% similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Juan Bi Tang is 31% similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang is 31% similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Ba Zhen Yi Mu Tang is 31% similar to Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang