Chinese plums (Wu Mei) Sichuan pepper (Hua Jiao) Wild ginger (Xi Xin) Goldthread rhizomes (Huang Lian) Phellodendron bark (Huang Bo) Dried ginger (Gan Jiang) Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Wu Mei Wan

Chinese: 乌梅丸

Pinyin: Wū Méi Wán

Other names: Mume Pill

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that expel parasites

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: HookwormGlaucomaKeratitis and twelve other conditions

  1. Warms the Organs
  2. Drains Heat
  3. Calms roundworms
  4. Drains the Liver
  5. Calms the Stomach

Contraindications: This formula is contraindicated for explosive diarrhea or Damp-Heat dysenteric... This formula is contraindicated for explosive diarrhea or Damp-Heat dysenteric disorders. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Wu Mei Wan is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Chinese Plums (Wu Mei) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that expel parasites. Its main actions are: 1) warms the Organs and 2) drains Heat.

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 Mei Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Terminal Yin stage. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as ascariasis, biliary ascariasis or hookworm for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the nine ingredients in Wu Mei Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Wu Mei Wan helps treat.

The nine ingredients in Wu Mei Wan

Wu Mei is a king ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Chinese Plums (Wu Mei)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLarge intestineLiverLung

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Wu Mei is a very sour substance that is quite effective in calming roundworms. It also guides the entire formula into the Terminal Yin.

Learn more about Chinese Plums (Wu Mei)

Hua Jiao is a deputy ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Sichuan Pepper (Hua Jiao)

Part used: Dried pericarp of ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachKidney

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

In general Hua Jiao's main actions are as follows: "Warms the body core, relieves pain, kills parasites and relieves itching"

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it expels parasites and warms the Organs.

Learn more about Sichuan Pepper (Hua Jiao)

Xi Xin is a deputy ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Xi Xin's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and warms the Yang. Expels Cold and relieves pain. Warms the Lungs and reduces Phlegm. Moves the Qi and disperses Phlegm to open the nasal passages."

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it expels parasites and warms the Organs.

Learn more about Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

Huang Lian is a deputy ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachHeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Lian's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites"

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it makes the worms move downward.

Learn more about Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Huang Bo is a deputy ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Part used: Dried bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderKidneyLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Bo's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Clears Kidney Yin Deficient Heat. Applied externally or toxic Fire, especially associated with Dampness."

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it makes the worms move downward.

Learn more about Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Gan Jiang is an assistant ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartKidneyLung

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

In general Gan Jiang's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and expels Cold. Restores collapse of Yang and expels Interior Cold. Warms the Lungs and assists expectoration of Cold Phlegm. Stops chronic bleeding caused by Cold."

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it warms the Interior and is very useful in dispersing internal Cold.

Learn more about Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)

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

7. 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 Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it warms the Interior and is very useful in dispersing internal Cold.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

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

8. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Ren Shen's main actions are as follows: "Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit)."

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it tonifies the Qi and nourishes the Blood to prevent further injury to the Normal Qi.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Dang Gui is an assistant ingredient in Wu Mei Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Dang Gui's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation."

In the context of Wu Mei Wan, it is used because it tonifies the Qi and nourishes the Blood to prevent further injury to the Normal Qi.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Wu Mei Wan is used to treat Terminal Yin stage

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 Mei Wan is mostly used to treat the pattern "Terminal Yin stage" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Terminal Yin stage here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Ascariasis Biliary ascariasis Hookworm Chronic bacillary dysentery Ulcerative colitis Irritable bowel syndrome Cholelithiasis Cholecystitis Peptic ulcers Keratitis Corneal ulcers Glaucoma Apthous ulcers Purulent otitis Meniere's disease

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Wu Mei Wan treats ascariasis" for instance. Rather, Wu Mei Wan is used to treat Terminal Yin stage, which is sometimes the root cause behind ascariasis.

Now let's look at Terminal Yin stage, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Wu Mei Wan.

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

Terminal Yin stage

Wu Mei Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Terminal Yin stage. This pattern leads to symptoms such as persistent thirst, feeling of energy rising to the chest, pain and heat sensation in heart region and hungry but no desire to eat. Patients with Terminal Yin stage typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses.

This is the third Yin stage and consequently the last stage of the Six Stages theory

At this stage the disharmony is associated with the Pericardium and Liver.

The symptoms are a mix of Heat above (thirst, feeling of energy rising, pain and heat sensation of heart region) and Cold below (no... read more about Terminal Yin stage

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