Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Evodia fruits (Wu Zhu Yu) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi) Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) Codonopsis roots (Dang Shen)

Wen Jing Tang

Chinese: 温经汤

Pinyin: Wēn Jīng Tāng

Other names: Flow-Warming Decoction

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: SciaticaLeiomyomaVaginitis and fifteen other conditions

  1. Warms the Uterus and vessels
  2. Nourishes Blood
  3. Dispels Cold
  4. Dispels Blood Stagnation

Contraindications: Contraindicated for people who have abdominal masses due to Blood Stagnation... Contraindicated for people who have abdominal masses due to Blood Stagnation from excess. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Wen Jing Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) and Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) warms the Uterus and vessels and 2) nourishes Blood.

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 Wen Jing Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Cold in the Uterus, Qi and Blood Stagnation or Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as menstrual cramps, late menstruation or menopausal syndrome for instance.

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

The twelve ingredients in Wen Jing Tang

Gui Zhi is a king ingredient in Wen Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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

In general Gui Zhi's main actions are as follows: "Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood."

In the context of Wen Jing Tang, it is used because it enters the Food Qi (nutritive Qi) to improve circulation in the Blood vessels and disperse Cold.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Wu Zhu Yu is a king ingredient in Wen Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu)

Part used: Dried nearly ripe fruit

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachKidneyLiver

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

Wu Zhu Yu is acrid, bitter, and heating. It enters the Liver and Kidney Channels to disperse Cold and stop pain. 

Learn more about Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu)

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

3. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Dang Gui nourishes and invigorates Blood, which is necessary because the obstruction of the Uterus by Cold prevents new Blood from taking its proper place there. It also regulates the menstruation, tonifies the Yin and regulates the Liver.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

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

4. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chuan Xiong's main actions are as follows: "Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches."

In the context of Wen Jing Tang, it is used because it invigorates and nourishes the Blood, unblocks Blood Stagnation and regulates the menses.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

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

5. 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 nourishes and invigorates Blood, which is necessary because the obstruction of the Uterus by Cold prevents new Blood from taking its proper place there. It also regulates the menstruation, tonifies the Yin and regulates the Liver.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Mu Dan Pi is an assistant ingredient in Wen Jing Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Part used: Root barks

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Mu Dan Pi dispels Blood Stagnation and facilitates the menses, clear any Empty Heat which might arise from Blood Deficiency

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

7. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang tonifies Qi and harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach to strengthen the source of production and transformation so that Yang can produce Yin and the Blood may not be Deficient.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

8. Codonopsis Roots (Dang Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Dang Shen tonifies Qi and harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach to strengthen the source of production and transformation so that Yang can produce Yin and the Blood may not be Deficient.

Learn more about Codonopsis Roots (Dang Shen)

9. Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong)

Part used: Dried root tuber

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Mai Dong nourishes the Blood, tonifies the Yin, and regulates the LiverIn this formula, together with Donkey-hide gelatin, they focus on nourishing the Yin, moistening Dryness, and clearing Heat from Deficiency.

Learn more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong)

10. Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Part used: Dried rhizome and tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Ban Xia tonifies Qi and harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach to strengthen the source of production and transformation so that Yang can produce Yin and the Blood may not be Deficient. It also harmonizes the Uterus via the Stomach channel to which it is connected through the Penetrating Meridian.

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

11. 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 Qi and harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach to strengthen the source of production and transformation so that Yang can produce Yin and the Blood may not be Deficient. It also harmonizes the actions of the various herbs in the formula.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

12. Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao)

Part used: Solid glue prepared from the dried or fresh skin of donkeys

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiverLung

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

E Jiao nourishes the Blood, tonifies the Yin, and regulates the LiverIn this formula, together with Dwarf lilyturf root, they focus on nourishing the Yin, moistening Dryness, and clearing Heat from Deficiency.

Learn more about Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao)

Conditions and patterns for which Wen 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 Wen Jing Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat four 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:

Menstrual cramps Late menstruation Menopausal syndrome Dysfunctional uterine bleeding Uterine hypoplasia Endometrial hyperplasia Endometriosis Leiomyoma Polycystic ovaries Infertility Habitual miscarriage Threatened abortion Perimenopausal syndrome Vaginitis Erectile dysfunction Oligospermia Benign prostatic hypertrophy Sciatica

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

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Wen Jing Tang.

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

Cold in the Uterus

Wen Jing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Cold in the Uterus. This pattern leads to symptoms such as infertility, scanty periods, painful period and late period. Patients with Cold in the Uterus typically exhibit deep (Chen) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

'Cold in the Uterus' is one the most common TCM pattern for women. It can be responsible for many gynecological diseases such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, infertility, etc. Coldness can also lead to other TCM patterns such as Blood and Qi Stagnation

There are two types of Cold... read more about Cold in the Uterus

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

Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels

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

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple, Pale

Symptoms: Infertility Late period Painful period Cold in the lower abdomen Dark clots in menstrual blood Abdominal pain after childbirth

Wen Jing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels. This pattern leads to symptoms such as painful period, cold in the lower abdomen, infertility and late period. Patients with Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels typically exhibit deep (Chen), slow (Chi) or tight (Jin) pulses as well as a bluish-purple, pale tongue.

Learn more about Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels

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

Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus

Wen Jing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus. This pattern leads to symptoms such as late period, painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and brown vaginal discharge. Patients with Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), slow (Chi) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Learn more about Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus

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