Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Yam (Shan Yao) Ginseng (Ren Shen) Black atractylodes rhizomes (Cang Zhu) Plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Tangerine peel (Chen Pi) Bupleurum roots (Chai Hu)

Wan Dai Tang

Chinese: 完带汤

Pinyin: Wán Dài Tāng

Other names: End Discharge Decoction

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: ColitisTinnitusRhinitis and eleven other conditions

  1. Tonifies the Middle Burner
  2. Removes Dampness
  3. Stops vaginal discharge
  4. Strengthens the Spleen

Contraindications: Contraindicated for patients with sticky, dark yellow, bloody and foul smelling... Contraindicated for patients with sticky, dark yellow, bloody and foul smelling vaginal discharge as well as yellow tongue coating and a wiry pulse. Contraindicated for patients with Liver Heat or Liver Damp Heat. see more

Source date: 1826 AD

Source book: Fu Qing Zhu's Gynecology

Wan Dai Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu) and Yam (Shan Yao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1826 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge. Its main actions are: 1) tonifies the Middle Burner and 2) removes Dampness.

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 Wan Dai Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Spleen Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as abnormal vaginal discharge, preeclampsia or otitis media for instance.

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

The ten ingredients in Wan Dai Tang

Bai Zhu is a king ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. 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, tonifies Qi, removes Dampness, and builds up the Essence. Bai Zhu and Shan Yao (Yam) work collaboratively. They enters the extraordinary Vessels and support the Girdle Vessel in securing the Channels.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Shan Yao is a king ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Yam (Shan Yao)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Shan Yao strengthens the Spleen, tonifies Qi, removes Dampness, and builds up the Essence. It works collaboratively with Bai Zhu to support the Girdle Vessel in securing the Channels.

Learn more about Yam (Shan Yao)

Ren Shen is a deputy ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Ren Shen's main actions are as follows: "Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit)."

In the context of Wan Dai Tang, it is used because it strongly tonifies Qi and strengthens the Spleen.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Cang Zhu is a deputy ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. 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 Wan Dai Tang, it is used because it is very effective in removing Dampness.

Learn more about Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu)

Che Qian Zi is a deputy ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Plantain Seeds (Che Qian Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiverLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Che Qian Zi's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and clears Heat. Stops diarrhea by expelling water through urination. Brightens the eyes, used in combination either for Deficiency or Heat. Reduces inflammation of infections. Arrests cough and expectorates Phlegm."

In the context of Wan Dai Tang, it is used because it releases Dampness through the urine. It should be wine fried.

Learn more about Plantain Seeds (Che Qian Zi)

Bai Shao is a deputy ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. 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 softens the Liver and regulates the Spleen. It allows the Liver Qi to spread in a manner that it strengthens rather than constrains Spleen function.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

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

7. 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

In general Chen Pi's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs."

In the context of Wan Dai Tang, it is used because it moves and regulates the Spleen Qi to ensure that the tonifying function will not cause Stagnation.

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Chai Hu is an assistant ingredient in Wan Dai Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiver

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Chai Hu works with other herbs in tonifying Qi and facilitates rising clear Yang. It also assists Spleen function and balances the downward-moving nature of these herbs that releases Dampness.

Learn more about Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

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

9. Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie)

Part used: Aerial portion and flowers, or the spikes only (in which case it is called Jing Jie Sui)

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Jing Jie's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold or Heat depending on the other herbs used. Releases the Exterior for measles. Stops bleeding. Abates swellings."

In the context of Wan Dai Tang, it is used because it smooths Qi and Blood interaction and thereby harmonize the Liver and the Spleen.

Learn more about Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie)

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

10. 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 assists the chief herbs in tonifying the Middle Burner and harmonizes the actions of the other ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Wan Dai Tang is used to treat Spleen Deficiency

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 Wan Dai Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Spleen Deficiency" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Spleen Deficiency here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Abnormal vaginal discharge Preeclampsia Otitis media Tinnitus Impotence Subdural hematoma Rhinitis Chronic gastritis Hepatitis Colitis Chronic bacillary dysentery Chronic pyelonephritis Nephritis Proteinuria

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Wan Dai Tang treats abnormal vaginal discharge" for instance. Rather, Wan Dai Tang is used to treat Spleen Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind abnormal vaginal discharge.

Now let's look at Spleen Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Wan Dai Tang.

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

Spleen Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Symptoms: Edema Tiredness Dull face Sore back Depression Cold limbs Amenorrhea Weak Limbs Loose stools Poor appetite White vaginal discharge Sticky vaginal discharge

Wan Dai Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Spleen Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as sticky vaginal discharge, tiredness, depression and cold limbs. Patients with Spleen Deficiency typically exhibit weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thick white coating.

Learn more about Spleen Deficiency

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