Peach kernels (Tao Ren) Rhubarb (Da Huang) Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Mirabilites (Mang Xiao)

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Chinese: 桃核承气汤

Pinyin: Táo Hé Chéng Qì Tāng

Other names: Peach Pit Decoction to Order the Qi, Persica and Rhubarb Combination

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: EczemaCystitisMigraine and twenty nine other conditions

  1. Dispels Heat and
  2. Eliminates Blood Stagnation

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) and Rhubarb (Da Huang) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) dispels Heat and and 2) eliminates Blood Stagnation.

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 Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Stagnation or Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as leiomyoma, retained placenta or prolonged lochia for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Tao He Cheng Qi Tang helps treat.

The five ingredients in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Tao Ren is a king ingredient in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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 Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, it is used because it breaks up and eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Da Huang is a king ingredient in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Da Huang's main actions are as follows: "Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis."

In the context of Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, it is used because it clears pathogenic Heat and purges accumulations.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Gui Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Part used: Dried young branches

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Gui Zhi warms the sinews, unblocks the vessels, and dispels retained Blood from the Lower Burner. In doing so it helps the Peach kernels eliminate Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Mang Xiao is an assistant ingredient in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Mirabilites (Mang Xiao)

Part used: The rock crushed as a powder

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSalty

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestine

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

Mang Xiao softens areas of hardness and dispels Stagnation, thereby helping Rhubarb move stools, drain Heat and eliminate Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Mirabilites (Mang Xiao)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

5. 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 protects the Stomach and the Middle Burner by moderating the detrimental effects of the other ingredients in this formula.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Tao He Cheng Qi 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 Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat two 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:

Leiomyoma Retained placenta Prolonged lochia Perimenopausal syndrome Cystitis Prostatitis Gonorrhea urethritis Ulcerative colitis Traumatic headache Cerebral contusion Migraine Trigeminal neuralgia Schizophrenia Histerical psychosis Epilepsy Conjunctivitis Hordeolum Blepharitis Pterygium Gingivitis Cerebrovascular disease Atherosclerosis Hypertension Myocardial infarction Varicose veins Urticaria Seborrheic dermatitis Erysipelas Scarlet fever Allergic purpura Eczema Pelvic inflammatory disease

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Tao He Cheng Qi Tang treats leiomyoma" for instance. Rather, Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind leiomyoma.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang.

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

Blood Stagnation

Tao He Cheng Qi 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 Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner. This pattern leads to symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, night fever, delirious speech and irritability. Patients with Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner typically exhibit choppy (Se) or full (Shi) pulses.

Learn more about Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner

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