Prepared aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) Rhubarb (Da Huang) Dried ginger (Gan Jiang) Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Chinese: 温脾汤

Pinyin: Wēn Pí Tāng

Other names: Warm the Speen Decoction

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that warm and purge

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Ulcerative colitisIntestinal adhesionsChronic renal disease and two other conditions

  1. Warms and tonifies the Spleen Yang
  2. Clears Cold Evil

Contraindications: This formula is used to treat Interior Cold accumulations. It is not... This formula is used to treat Interior Cold accumulations. It is not recommended in situations of constipation caused by Internal Heat, as it might cause clumping and harm to Body Fluids. see more

Source date: 650 AD

Source book: Important Formulas Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces

Wen Pi Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) and Rhubarb (Da Huang) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 650 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and purge. Its main actions are: 1) warms and tonifies the Spleen Yang and 2) clears Cold Evil.

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 ulcerative colitis, chronic bacillary dysentery or intestinal adhesions for instance.

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

The five ingredients in Wen Pi Tang

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

1. Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi)

Part used: Processed daughter root

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneySpleen

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

Zhi Fu Zi is acrid and strongly warming. It disperses the congealed Cold, by stimulating the Yang of the Spleen.

Learn more about Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi)

Da Huang is a king ingredient in Wen Pi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Da Huang's main actions are as follows: "Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Bright Yang stage according to the Six Stages Theory. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis."

In the context of Wen Pi Tang, it is used because it flushes the Intestines and Stomach in order to eliminate Stagnation.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

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

3. Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLungStomach

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

Gan Jiang serves as the deputy by concentrating the formula's activity on the Spleen Yang. It is acrid and warming and it penetrates the Spleen and Stomach Channels.  Together with Prepared aconite, they supports the Spleen
Yang so as to eliminate the Cold Evil.

Learn more about Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

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

4. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen strengthens the Qi. It follows the principle that, in order to assist and warm the Spleen Yang, Qi must be augmented.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

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

5. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao strengthens the Qi. It follows the principle that, in order to assist and warm the Spleen Yang, Qi must be augmented.  It also functions as an envoy to harmonize the contradictory functions of the different herbs in the formula, accommodating heating with cooling and tonifying with draining.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Formulas similar to Wen Pi Tang

Li Zhong Wan is 60% similar to Wen Pi Tang

Si Ni Tang is 60% similar to Wen Pi Tang

Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang is 43% similar to Wen Pi Tang

Huang Lian Tang is 43% similar to Wen Pi Tang

Si Jun Zi Tang is 40% similar to Wen Pi Tang

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is 40% similar to Wen Pi Tang