Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Tangerine peel (Chen Pi) Saposhnikovia roots (Fang Feng)

Chinese: 痛泻要方

Pinyin: Tòng Xiè Yào Fāng

Other names: Important Formula for Painful Diarrhea

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: ColitisIngestion in children

  1. Tonifies the Spleen
  2. Softens the Liver
  3. Expels dampness
  4. Stops diarrhea

Contraindications: This formula is not recommended in situations of food poisoning diarrhea. While... This formula is not recommended in situations of food poisoning diarrhea. While this can be accompanied by stomach pain, it normally goes away once the bowels have been emptied and the food stagnation has dispersed. Other distinguishing signs include the presence of undigested food in the stools and especially foul stools. Borborygmus, if present, is typically followed by the release of foul-smelling gas. see more

Source date: 1481 AD

Source book: Essential Teachings of [Zhu] Dan-Xi

Tong Xie Yao Fang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu) and White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen. Its main actions are: 1) tonifies the Spleen and 2) softens the Liver.

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.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as colitis or ingestion in children for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the four ingredients in Tong Xie Yao Fang, we review the patterns and conditions that Tong Xie Yao Fang helps treat.

The four ingredients in Tong Xie Yao Fang

Bai Zhu is a king ingredient in Tong Xie Yao Fang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Bai Zhu strengthens the Spleen and dries Dampness. In case a Deficient Spleen interacts with an overcontrolling Liver, this herb is used to nurture the Spleen (Earth), which will have the effect of controlling the Liver(Wood). The combination of Atractylodes rhizome and White peony root works very well in controlling Wood and nurture the Earth. This stops the pain and diarrhea linked with this condition.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Bai Shao is a king ingredient in Tong Xie Yao Fang. 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: LiverSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Bai Shao softens the overactive Liver and alleviates pain. The combination of Atractylodes rhizome and White peony root works very well in controlling Wood and nurture the Earth. This stops the pain and diarrhea linked with this condition.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Chen Pi is a deputy ingredient in Tong Xie Yao Fang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp of the ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleen

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Chen Pi is aromatic. It helps in harmonizing the functions of the Middle Burner and transforms Dampness. It also helps Atractylodes rhizome strengthening the Spleen and eliminating Dampness.

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Fang Feng is an assistant ingredient in Tong Xie Yao Fang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: BladderLiverSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Fang Feng It enters the Liver and Spleen channels and helps relieve the overcontrol of the Spleen by the Liver, while focusing the actions of all the herbs on these two Organs. It serves as both the assistant and the envoy.

Learn more about Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

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