Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi) Dried ginger (Gan Jiang) Rice sprouts (Jing Mi)

Chinese: 桃花汤

Pinyin: Táo Huā Tāng

Other names: Peach Blossom Decoction

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that bind up Intestines and secure abandoned conditions

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: HemorrhoidsPeptic ulcersCrohn's disease and three other conditions

  1. Warms the Middle
  2. Dispels Cold
  3. Binds up the bowels and stops dysenteric disorders

Contraindications: This formula is astringent and warming in nature and therefore contraindicated... This formula is astringent and warming in nature and therefore contraindicated for dysenteric disorders due to Damp-Heat. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Tao Hua Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that bind up Intestines and secure abandoned conditions. Its main actions are: 1) warms the Middle and 2) dispels Cold.

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 Hua Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Large Intestine Cold or Cold invading the Large Intestine. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as ulcerative colitis, crohn's disease or peptic ulcers for instance.

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

The three ingredients in Tao Hua Tang

Chi Shi Zhi is a king ingredient in Tao Hua Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi)

Part used: The mineral

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSourSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Chi Shi Zhi warming and astringent. It binds up the Intestines and stabilizes the disorder. Due to its warming nature, it is
especially useful for treating blood and pus in the stool due to Cold from Yang Deficiency. Half of the formula is taken as a powder so that the substance itself reaches the Intestines and this will increase its absorptive action.

Learn more about Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi)

Gan Jiang is a deputy ingredient in Tao Hua Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLungStomach

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

Gan Jiang calms the Middle Burner and expels Cold. It also assists the original Yang and strengthens the
Spleen's transportive and transformative functions so that it is able to contain Essence.  Experts also emphasizes that its warmth nature can dispels Cold from the Blood and its acridity nature can clear Stagnation. Therefore this herb is effective in solving the root and branch causes of pus, such as these blood and pus in the stools.

Learn more about Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

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

3. Rice Sprouts (Jing Mi)

Part used: Seed kernels

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Jing Mi nourishes the Stomach and harmonizes the Middle Burner. It helps the other ingredients improve the function of the Stomach and Intestines.

Learn more about Rice Sprouts (Jing Mi)

Conditions and patterns for which Tao Hua 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 Hua 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:

Ulcerative colitis Crohn's disease Peptic ulcers Chronic dysentery Hemorrhoids Dysfunctional uterine bleeding

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

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Tao Hua Tang.

The Large Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Large Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Large Intestine Cold

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Symptoms: Borborygmi Cold limbs Loose stools Abdominal pain Clear urination

Tao Hua Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Large Intestine Cold. This pattern leads to symptoms such as loose stools, abdominal pain, borborygmi and clear urination. Patients with Large Intestine Cold typically exhibit deep (Chen) or weak (Ruo) pulses.

This is an Empty Cold pattern which is caused by prolong Deficiency of Spleen Yang. The Yang fails to warm the Large Intestine, hence the symptoms of dull abdominal pain and cold limbs. The function of absorbing Body Fluids is also impaired and thus the patients develop loose stools like duck... read more about Large Intestine Cold

The Large Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Large Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Cold invading the Large Intestine

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Tight (Jin)

Symptoms: Diarrhea Abdominal pain Feeling of cold Cold sensation in abdomen

Tao Hua Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Cold invading the Large Intestine. This pattern leads to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, feeling of cold and cold sensation in abdomen. Patients with Cold invading the Large Intestine typically exhibit deep (Chen) or tight (Jin) pulses.

Like the Stomach and the Uterus, the large Intestine is one of the three Organs that the external Cold can invade directly. It is a Full Cold pattern and the Cold Evil penetrates the Defensive Qi and resides in the Large Intestine. The Cold then impairs the Qi circulation of the Lower Burner, hence... read more about Cold invading the Large Intestine

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