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
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 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
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
Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency
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
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:
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)
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.
The urgent and difficult urination as well as the feeling of heaviness are typical of Dampness.... read more about Damp-Cold in the Bladder