Common reed rhizomes (Lu Gen)  Job's tears (Yi Yi Ren) Wax gourd seeds (Dong Gua Zi) Peach kernels (Tao Ren)

Wei Jing Tang

Chinese: 苇茎汤

Pinyin: Wěi Jīng Tāng

Other names: Reed Decoction

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: PneumoniaPertussisBronchitis and three other conditions

  1. Clears heat from the Lungs
  2. Transforms Phlegm
  3. Drives out Blood-Stagnation
  4. Discharges pus

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy

Source date: 627 AD

Source book: Records of Proven Formulas Past and Present

Wei Jing Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Common Reed Rhizomes (Lu Gen) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 627 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores. Its main actions are: 1) clears heat from the Lungs and 2) transforms Phlegm.

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 Wei Jing Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Qi and Blood Stagnation or Wind-Heat entering the Lungs. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as absence of menstruation, bronchitis or bronchiectasis for instance.

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

The four ingredients in Wei Jing Tang

Lu Gen is a king ingredient in Wei Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Common Reed Rhizomes (Lu Gen)

Part used: Fresh or dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

Lu Gen clears Heat from the Lungs.  In Encountering the Sources of the Classic of Materia Medica, the 17th-century physician Zhang Lu wrote that it "specializes in facilitating passage through the orifices and thus is good at treating Lung abscess."

Learn more about Common Reed Rhizomes (Lu Gen)

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

2. Job's Tears (Yi Yi Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe kernel

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Yi Yi Ren clears Heat from the Lungs and disperses pus from the upper parts of the body. It also leaches out Dampness and helps restore proper function to the Intestines, thereby providing an outlet for Dampness and Heat through the urine.

Learn more about Job's Tears (Yi Yi Ren)

Dong Gua Zi is a deputy ingredient in Wei Jing Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Wax Gourd Seeds (Dong Gua Zi)

Part used: The seeds, dried

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestineLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Dong Gua Zi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat, expels Phlegm, expels pus and moistens the Lungs. Clears Heat and drains Dampness."

In the context of Wei Jing Tang, it is used because it clears and transforms Phlegm-Heat, resolves Dampness and eliminates pus.

Learn more about Wax Gourd Seeds (Dong Gua Zi)

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

4. Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Tao Ren invigorates the Blood and eliminates Blood Stagnation, which reduces the clumping and thereby breaks up the abscess.

Learn more about Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

Conditions and patterns for which Wei Jing 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 Wei Jing 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:

Absence of menstruation Bronchitis Bronchiectasis Pneumonia Pertussis Asthmatic bronchitis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Wei Jing Tang treats absence of menstruation" for instance. Rather, Wei Jing Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind absence of menstruation.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Wei Jing Tang.

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

Wind-Heat entering the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Symptoms: Slight fever Mild chest pain Dry and scaly skin Cough with foul-smelling sputum

Wei Jing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Wind-Heat entering the Lungs. This pattern leads to symptoms such as cough with foul-smelling sputum, slight fever, mild chest pain and dry and scaly skin. Patients with Wind-Heat entering the Lungs typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Learn more about Wind-Heat entering the Lungs

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