Water plantain (Ze Xie) Black atractylodes rhizomes (Cang Zhu) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Polyporus (Zhu Ling) Houpu Magnolia bark (Hou Pu) Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Tangerine peel (Chen Pi)

Wei Ling Tang

Chinese: 胃苓汤

Pinyin: Wèi líng tāng

Other names: Calm the Stomach and Poria Decoction

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that expel Dampness

Mother formula: Wu Ling San

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: EdemaHerpesAscites and twenty seven other conditions

  1. Promotes urination
  2. Warms the Yang
  3. Strengthens the Spleen
  4. Drains Dampness
  5. Promotes the movement of Qi
  6. Harmonizes the Stomach

Contraindications: It is not indicated for thirst due to Heat Excess or from Yin Deficiency. This... It is not indicated for thirst due to Heat Excess or from Yin Deficiency. This formula contains warm, drying herbs that readily injure the Yin and Blood, and should therefore only be used with significant modification for patients with Yin or Blood Deficiency. Caution must also be exercised when using the formula during pregnancy. In patients with Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency, the dosage and duration of use of this formula must be carefully limited. see more

Source date: 1481 AD

Source book: Essential Teachings of {Zhu} Dan-Xi

Wei Ling Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Water Plantain (Ze Xie) and Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that expel Dampness. Its main actions are: 1) promotes urination and 2) warms the Yang.

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 Ling Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Damp-Cold. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as edema, gastritis or ascites for instance.

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

The nine ingredients in Wei Ling Tang

Ze Xie is a king ingredient in Wei Ling Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Part used: Dried tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Ze Xie leaches out Dampness and promotes urination. Its cold nature helps to eliminate the Stagnant Heat caused by water buildup.

Learn more about Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Cang Zhu is a king ingredient in Wei Ling Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu)

Part used: The dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

Cang Zhu is perhaps the best Chinese herb for dispelling Dampness and strengthening the transportive function of the Spleen.

Learn more about Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu)

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

3. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Fu Ling is particularly effective in leaching out Dampness by promoting urination. It also strengthens the Spleen by supporting Yang.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

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

4. Polyporus (Zhu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Zhu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Drains Dampness and encourages urination"

In the context of Wei Ling Tang, it is used because it eliminates Dampness and promotes urination.

Learn more about Polyporus (Zhu Ling)

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

5. Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu)

Part used: Dried stem bark, root bark or branch bark

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

In general Hou Pu's main actions are as follows: "Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung."

In the context of Wei Ling Tang, it is used because it moves the Qi, disperses fullness, and directs the Qi downward. It also helps transform Dampness.

Learn more about Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu)

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

6. 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 serves as both an assistant and envoy in this formula. When the retention of Dampness obstructs the circulation of Fluids, the Kidneys and Bladder may be unable to transform them. Cinnamon twigs are used to warm the Fire at the gate of vitality, which is like adding firewood under the cauldron. Not only does this assist the Bladder in transforming and discharging urine, it also helps the Spleen Qi to raise the clear, thus facilitating the movement and 'steaming' of the Fluids by the Kidneys. In this respect, it serves as an envoy to the Kidneys and Bladder. As an assistant, it also helps to dispel pathogenic influences from the Exterior and thereby release the exterior aspects of the greater Yang-warp disorder.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

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

7. 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 Qi, thereby helping it transform and transport Fluids (one of its key roles) and thus helping resolve Dampness.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

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

8. 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

Chen Pi regulates the Qi and harmonizes the Stomach. It assists the deputy in directing Rebellious Qi downward and eliminating distention.

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

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

9. 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 tonifies the Spleen and enhances their Spleen-strengthening properties of the formula's other ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Wei Ling Tang is used to treat Damp-Cold

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 Ling Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Damp-Cold" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Damp-Cold here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Edema Gastritis Ascites Gastric neurosis Acute enteritis Diarrhea Meniere's disease Dysentery Vaginal discharge Stomach cancer Jaundice Chronic hepatitis Acute glomerulonephritis Arthralgia Lymphedema Gastroenteritis Nephritis Urinary retention Scrotal hydrocele Colitis Crohn's disease Oliguria Hypoglycemia Stomach flu Glomerulonephritis Anorexia Gastrectasis Indigestion Herpes Cirrhosis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Wei Ling Tang treats edema" for instance. Rather, Wei Ling Tang is used to treat Damp-Cold, which is sometimes the root cause behind edema.

Now let's look at Damp-Cold, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Wei Ling Tang.

'Cold' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Cold pattern in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Cold

Wei Ling Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Cold. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, face pimple, facial plaque and eczema. Patients with Damp-Cold typically exhibit deep (Chen), slippery (Hua), slow (Chi) or soggy (Ru) pulses.

Spleen Qi or Yang Deficiency is often the precursor of general Dampness in the body. It is because the Spleen is responsible for water or any Body Fluids transportation and transformation and its disfunction can lead to the formation of Dampness, which can eventually become Phlegm

If there is... read more about Damp-Cold

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