Pinyin: Wǔ Lín Sàn
Other names: Powder for Five Types of Painful Urinary Dribbling
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness
Conditions for which it may be prescribed: CystitisGonorrheaUrethritis and two other conditions
Contraindications: To be used for Excess acute conditions. Avoid using it to treat chronic... To be used for Excess acute conditions. Avoid using it to treat chronic conditions or patterns characterized by Deficiency and Cold. see more
Source date: 1107 AD
Source book: Formulary of the Pharmacy Service for Benefiting the People in the Taiping Era
The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Wu Lin San is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness. Its main actions are: 1) clears heat and 2) cools the 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 Wu Lin San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Damp-Cold in the Bladder. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as urethritis, cystitis or urinary stones for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Wu Lin San, we review the patterns and conditions that Wu Lin San helps treat.
Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Wu Lin San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried ripe fruit
Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao
Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat
Zhi Zi clears Heat from the Qi aspect via the Triple Burner and cools and moves the Blood. It is ideally suited for a pattern characterized by Damp-Heat leading to reckless movement of the Blood.
Chi Fu Ling is a deputy ingredient in Wu Lin San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: The outer red part of the dried sclerotium
Meridian affinity: Kidney
Category: Herbs that drain Dampness
Chi Fu Ling drains Damp-Heat from the Heart, Small Intestine, and Bladder by promoting urination and unblocking the lower body orifices.
Chi Shao is a deputy ingredient in Wu Lin San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried root
Meridian affinity: Liver
Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood
Chi Shao enters into the Blood aspect to dispel Stagnated Heat, enhancing the efficacy of the key herb Zhi Zi in that respect. It also moves the Blood, stops abdominal pain and promotes urination.
Dang Gui is an assistant ingredient in Wu Lin San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
Part used: Dried root
Meridian affinity: HeartLiverSpleen
Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency
Dang Gui moves the Blood to dispel Stasis and stops the abdominal pain. It also nourishes the Blood to compensate for any blood loss.
Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Wu Lin San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
In general Gan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs."
In the context of Wu Lin San, it is used because it drains Fire, resolves toxicity, and harmonizes the actions of the other ingredients.
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 Wu Lin San is mostly used to treat the pattern "Damp-Cold in the Bladder" which we describe below.
But before we delve into Damp-Cold in the Bladder here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:
Urethritis Cystitis Urinary stones Gonorrhea Appendicitis
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Wu Lin San treats urethritis" for instance. Rather, Wu Lin San is used to treat Damp-Cold in the Bladder, which is sometimes the root cause behind urethritis.
Now let's look at Damp-Cold in the Bladder, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Wu Lin San.
The Bladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Bladder in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi)
Symptoms: Pale urine Turbid urine Frequent and urgent urination Feeling of heaviness in urethra Urination stopping in the middle of flow Feeling of heaviness in the hypogastrium
Wu Lin San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Cold in the Bladder. This pattern leads to symptoms such as frequent and urgent urination, urination stopping in the middle of flow, feeling of heaviness in the hypogastrium and feeling of heaviness in urethra. Patients with Damp-Cold in the Bladder typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or slow (Chi) pulses.
This pattern is distinguished by the presence of Cold and Dampness in the Bladder.
The Coldness and Dampness obstruct the passages of Fluids in the Lower Burner and interfere with the Bladder functions.
The urgent and difficult urination as well as the feeling of heaviness are typical of Dampness.... read more about Damp-Cold in the Bladder
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