Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Mulberry bark (Sang Bai Pi) Ginger peel (Sheng Jiang Pi) Areca peel (Da Fu Pi)

Wu Pi Yin

Chinese: 五皮饮

Pinyin: Wǔ Pí Yǐn

Other names: Five Peel Decoction

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that promote urination and leach out Dampness

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: UrticariaPre-eclampsiaMenopausal edema and three other conditions

  1. Reduces edema, diuretic
  2. Regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi

Contraindications: Contraindicated for patients without symptoms of edema

Source date: 1107 AD

Source book: Formulary of the Pharmacy Service for Benefiting the People in the Taiping Era

Wu Pi Yin is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling), Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi) and Ginger Peel (Sheng Jiang Pi) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote urination and leach out Dampness. Its main actions are: 1) reduces edema, diuretic and 2) regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi.

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 Pi Yin is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Yin Excess or Oedema. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as pre-eclampsia, protein-deficiency edema or ascites from cirrhosis for instance.

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

The five ingredients in Wu Pi Yin

Fu Ling is a king ingredient in Wu Pi Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Fu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit."

In the context of Wu Pi Yin, it is used because it leaches out Dampness, promotes urination, and strengthens the transportive function of the Spleen.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Sang Bai Pi is a king ingredient in Wu Pi Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi)

Part used: Dried root bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Sang Bai Pi's main actions are as follows: "Clears heat from the lung, relieves asthma and induce urination to disperse swelling"

In the context of Wu Pi Yin, it is used because it promotes urination by directing the Lung Qi downward and opening up the water pathways.

Learn more about Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi)

Sheng Jiang Pi is a king ingredient in Wu Pi Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

3. Ginger Peel (Sheng Jiang Pi)

Part used: The dried outer peel of the rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Sheng Jiang Pi's main actions are as follows: "Promotes urination and reduces edema at its early onset. Disperses the Exterior."

In the context of Wu Pi Yin, it is used because it transforms Dampness and disperses Edema.

Learn more about Ginger Peel (Sheng Jiang Pi)

Da Fu Pi is an assistant ingredient in Wu Pi Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Areca Peel (Da Fu Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Da Fu Pi works together with Citrus peel (Chen Pi) to eliminate Qi Stagnation since it is said that "if the smooth flow of Qi is reestablished, the Fluids will follow".

Learn more about Areca Peel (Da Fu Pi)

Chen Pi is an assistant ingredient in Wu Pi Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp of the ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Chen Pi's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs."

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Conditions and patterns for which Wu Pi Yin 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 Wu Pi Yin is used by TCM practitioners to treat two 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:

Pre-eclampsia Protein-deficiency edema Ascites from cirrhosis Congestive heart failure Urticaria Menopausal edema

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Wu Pi Yin treats pre-eclampsia" for instance. Rather, Wu Pi Yin is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind pre-eclampsia.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Wu Pi Yin.

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

Yin Excess

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Symptoms: Edema Dampness Loose stools Vaginal discharge Frequent urination Feeling of heaviness Abdominal distention and fullness

Wu Pi Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Yin Excess. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dampness, loose stools, frequent urination and abdominal distention and fullness. Patients with Yin Excess typically exhibit slippery (Hua), tight (Jin), wiry (Xian) or full (Shi) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thick white coating.

Excess Yin is a Full Yin state pattern. Its symptoms are like those of the Cold and Damp Heat Pernicious Influences. When Yin becomes in Excess, this leads to Body Fluids accumulating in the body. They may built up throughout the body, giving a general appearance of swelling and heaviness, or they... read more about Yin Excess

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine

Oedema

Wu Pi Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Oedema. This pattern leads to symptoms such as oedema of ankles, oedema of legs, oedema of hands and oedema of face. Patients with Oedema typically exhibit slowed-down (Huan) or hidden (Fu) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Oedema (also spelled "Edema") a retention of Body Fluids that results in swellings, depending where the retention occurs: it can be in the limbs, the legs, the face, etc. The swellings are usually so that if one presses on it with a finger, the resulting dip takes a long time to disappear.

Oedema... read more about Oedema

Formulas similar to Wu Pi Yin

Er Chen Tang is 40% similar to Wu Pi Yin

Liu Jun Zi Tang is 33% similar to Wu Pi Yin

Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is 29% similar to Wu Pi Yin

Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang is 25% similar to Wu Pi Yin

Wen Dan Tang is 25% similar to Wu Pi Yin

Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan is 25% similar to Wu Pi Yin