Water buffalo horns (Shui Niu Jiao) Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) Red peony roots (Chi Shao) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Chinese: 犀角地黄汤

Pinyin: Xī Jiǎo Dì Huáng Tāng

Other names: Rhinoceros and Rehmannia Decoction

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear nutritive-level Heat

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: LupusBoilsUremia and six other conditions

  1. Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system
  2. Removes Blood Stagnation

Contraindications: Contraindicated in cases of bleeding due to Yang Deficiency or Spleen and... Contraindicated in cases of bleeding due to Yang Deficiency or Spleen and Stomach Deficiency see more

Source date: 650 AD

Source book: Important Formulas Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 650 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear nutritive-level Heat. Its main actions are: 1) treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system and 2) removes Blood Stagnation.

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 Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Heat in the Blood or Excess-Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as lupus, acute leukemia or uremia for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the four ingredients in Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang helps treat.

The four ingredients in Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Shui Niu Jiao is a king ingredient in Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao)

Part used: The horn, as a powder or as thin scrapes

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSalty

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Shui Niu Jiao clears Heart Fire and resolves Heat/Fire toxicity. It is Cold but does not hinder the movement of Blood (Cold can often "congeal" Blood). This makes it a particularly suitable ingredient to treat Heat at the Blood level.

Learn more about Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao)

Di Huang is a deputy ingredient in Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Di Huang cools the Blood, stops bleeding, nourishes the Yin Fluids, and clears Heat. Nourishing the Yin Fluids is particularly important because they suffer greatly from severe Heat and Blood loss.

Learn more about Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Chi Shao is an assistant ingredient in Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Chi Shao cools and moves the Blood. It is important to prevent the Blood Stagnation that may be caused by Heat in the Blood or as a side effect of the other Cold ingredients in this formula.

Learn more about Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

4. Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Part used: Root barks

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Mu Dan Pi's main actions are as follows: "Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis."

In the context of Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, it is used because it drains Heat to cool the Blood and stops bleeding by dispersing stagnant Blood.

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Conditions and patterns for which Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang 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 Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang 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:

Lupus Acute leukemia Uremia Hepatic coma Septicemia Boils Hepatitis Allergic purpura Acute hemorrhages

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang treats lupus" for instance. Rather, Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind lupus.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang.

Blood (Xue) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Blood in Chinese Medicine

Heat in the Blood

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heat in the Blood. This pattern leads to symptoms such as frequent bleeding episodes, fever, feeling of heat and red skin eruptions. Patients with Heat in the Blood typically exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as a red tongue.

The most common cause of Heat in the Blood is a Heat Pernicious Influence that has invaded the body and agitates the Blood. This results in accelerated blood flow which manifests itself in a rapid pulse, expanded and damaged Blood vessels and often heavy bleeding. The Blood will be fresh red or... read more about Heat in the Blood

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

Excess-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Tight (Jin), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Flushed face Irritability Constipation Red skin rashes Arthritic symptoms Scanty and dark urine Blotches dotted over the skin

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Excess-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, flushed face, red skin rashes and blotches dotted over the skin. Patients with Excess-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu), tight (Jin) or full (Shi) pulses as well as a reddish-purple tongue with yellow coating.

Learn more about Excess-Heat

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