Inula flowers (Xuan Fu Hua) Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi) Crow-dipper rhizomes (Ban Xia) Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Chinese: 旋覆代赭汤

Pinyin: Xuán Fù Dài Zhě Tāng

Other names: Inula and Hematite Decoction

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula category: Formulas for a rebellious Qi

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: HiccupsGastroptosisGastrectasis and eight other conditions

  1. Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi
  2. Expectorant, treats hiccups

Contraindications: Contraindicated for morning sickness

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Inula Flowers (Xuan Fu Hua) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas for a rebellious Qi. Its main actions are: 1) regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi and 2) expectorant, treats hiccups.

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 Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Rebellious Qi, Phlegm-Fluids In the Stomach and Small intestine or Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as hiccups, chronic gastritis or gastroptosis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the seven ingredients in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang helps treat.

The seven ingredients in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Xuan Fu Hua is a king ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Inula Flowers (Xuan Fu Hua)

Part used: Dried capitulum

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverLung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

In general Xuan Fu Hua's main actions are as follows: "Moves Stagnant Phlegm in the Lungs. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi of the Lungs and Stomach."

In the context of Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, it is used because it is able to drive Rebellious Qi downward as well as dissolve Phlegm.

Learn more about Inula Flowers (Xuan Fu Hua)

Dai Zhe Shi is a deputy ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi)

Part used: The mineral

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

Dai Zhe Shi has a sinking nature and strongly suppresses Rebellious Qi. Strengthening the downward-directing rather than the Phlegm-transforming action of Inula flower (Xuan Fu Hua) is a reflection of the fact that the primary focus of this formula is on subduing Rebellious Qi in order to control the symptoms of belching, hiccup, and vomiting.

Learn more about Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi)

Ban Xia is an assistant ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

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 works together with Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang), another assistant herb here, to warm and harmonize the Stomach and direct Qi downward, thereby dispelling the Phlegm and dispersing the focal distention.

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Sheng Jiang is an assistant ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Sheng Jiang's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning."

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Ren Shen is an assistant ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen works together with Liquorice (Gan Cao) and Jujube dates (Da Zao) to tonify the Deficient Qi and strengthen
the Spleen and Stomach. By supporting the middle Qi, they assist in its recovery and help protect it against further harm from the dispersing properties of the other ingredients in the formula.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe 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."

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Da Zao is an assistant ingredient in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Da Zao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach Qi. Tonifies the Blood. Calms the Shen (spirit). Moderates the actions of other herbs in formula."

Learn more about Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Conditions and patterns for which Xuan Fu Dai Zhe 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 Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat four 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:

Hiccups Chronic gastritis Gastroptosis Gastrectasis Peptic ulcers Chronic hepatitis Incomplete pyloric obstruction Esophageal spasms Esophageal cancer Gastric cancer Meniere's disease

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang treats hiccups" for instance. Rather, Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind hiccups.

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang.

Qi is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Qi in Chinese Medicine

Rebellious Qi

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Red sides

Symptoms: Nausea Asthma Belching Diarrhea Vomiting Insomnia Coughing Hiccuping Headaches Restlnessness

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Rebellious Qi. This pattern leads to symptoms such as belching, nausea, hiccuping and diarrhea. Patients with Rebellious Qi typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a normal (light red), red sides tongue.

An Excess condition, rebellious Qi is another form of Qi Stagnation. In this case, Qi flows in the wrong direction; meaning a direction different from the normal physiological one for a given Organ or Channel. For instance, if the normal downward flow of Stomach Qi is disrupted and it goes upward... read more about Rebellious Qi

The Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm-Fluids In the Stomach and Small intestine

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Symptoms: Weight loss Loose stools Vomiting of watery fluids Splashing sound in the stomach Feeling of fullness in the chest Abdominal distention and fullness Dry tongue and mouth with desire to drink

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm-Fluids In the Stomach and Small intestine. This pattern leads to symptoms such as abdominal distention and fullness, vomiting of watery fluids, dry tongue and mouth with desire to drink and splashing sound in the stomach. Patients with Phlegm-Fluids In the Stomach and Small intestine typically exhibit deep (Chen), slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating.

Phlegm-Fluids is a type of Substantial Phlegm characterized by white, very watery and thin sputum. It can sometimes actually be heard splashing in the body. 

Phlegm-Fluids in Stomach and Intestines simply refers to a pattern whereby Phlegm-Fluids accumulates in those Organs. It often does so... read more about Phlegm-Fluids In the Stomach and Small intestine

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach. This pattern leads to symptoms such as irritability, epigastric pain, epigastric distension and hypochondrial pain. Patients with Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach typically exhibit weak (Ruo) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

Liver Qi is said to be rebellious when its horizontal movement is accentuated. This interferes with the descending of Stomach Qi, making it ascend instead. Hence the symptoms of belching, nausea and vomiting.

Rebellious Liver Qi also impairs the Stomach's function of rotting and ripening of food,... read more about Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

The Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine

Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Symptoms: Hiccuping Regurgitation Nausea or vomiting Unremitting belching Hard epigastric focal distention

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm. This pattern leads to symptoms such as unremitting belching, hiccuping, regurgitation and nausea or vomiting. Patients with Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Learn more about Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm

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