Dong quai (Dang Gui) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Crow-dipper rhizomes (Ban Xia) Tangerine peel (Chen Pi)

Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang

Chinese: 芎归二陈汤

Pinyin: Xiōng Guī Er Chén Tāng

Other names: Ligusticum and Dang Gui Two Aged Decoction

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Late menstruationScanty menstruation

  1. Resolves Damp-Phlegm
  2. Nourishes Blood

Source date: 1575 AD

Source book: Introduction to Medicine

Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dong Quai (Dang Gui) and Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1575 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm. Its main actions are: 1) resolves Damp-Phlegm and 2) nourishes 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 Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Phlegm. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as late menstruation or scanty menstruation for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the seven ingredients in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang helps treat.

The seven ingredients in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang

Dang Gui is a king ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. 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 Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang, it is used because it nourishes and invigorates the Blood.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Chuan Xiong is a king ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chuan Xiong's main actions are as follows: "Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches."

In the context of Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang, it is used because it nourishes and invigorates the Blood.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Ban Xia is a deputy ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Part used: Dried rhizome and tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Ban Xia dries Dampness, expels phlegm, and causes rebellious Stomach Qi to descend. This latest action makes it also useful in controlling nausea and vomiting. Its main purpose is to open the Qi dynamic. As noted by Zhang Shan-Lei the best aspects of Ban Xia can be summed up in four characters: opening (开 kai), disseminating(宣 xuan), slippery (滑 hua), and downward-directing (降 jiang). The reason that it can eliminate turbidity and Phlegm is simply its actions in opening, draining, and slipping downward. The transformation of Phlegm by Ban Xia facilitates the smooth flow of Qi. Once this occurs, the transporting and transforming functions of the Spleen and Stomach will be restored. Then the Middle Burner will no longer produce Phlegm.

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Chen Pi is a deputy ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. 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

Chen Pi revives the Spleen and facilitates the flow of Qi in the Middle Burner. Its acrid flavor disperses Stagnated Qi while its bitter warmth disperses Cold and dries Dampness. By removing the obstruction to the flow of Qi, the functions of the Spleen and Stomach are assisted. By dispelling Cold Dampness, Phlegm is eliminated. The restored movement of Qi induced by Chen Pi promotes the spontaneous resolution of phlegm.

Learn more about Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Fu Ling is a deputy ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Fu Ling supports the actions of the chief ingredients by leaching out Dampness from the Middle Burner and strengthening the Spleen. It also resolves the palpitations and dizziness caused by the upward-rising Phlegm and Dampness. In this manner, it treats the root of the disorder.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

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 Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang, it is used because it tonifies the Spleen.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Sheng Jiang is an envoy ingredient in Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

7. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang is added as an envoy to reinforce the actions of the chief herbs in Qi movement and eliminate the Phlegm. It also harmonizes the Stomach and controls the nausea.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is used to treat Phlegm

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 Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Phlegm" which we describe below.

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

Late menstruation Scanty menstruation

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang treats late menstruation" for instance. Rather, Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is used to treat Phlegm, which is sometimes the root cause behind late menstruation.

Now let's look at Phlegm, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang.

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

Phlegm

Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm. This pattern leads to symptoms such as chest pressure, nausea, dizziness and feeling of heaviness. Patients with Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick coating.

Phlegm has a great importance in Chinese Medicine as it is both a condition in and of itself as well as a cause for other diseases.

The main cause for the formation of Phlegm is Spleen Deficiency since the Spleen rules the transformation and transportation of Body Fluids. If this function is... read more about Phlegm

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