White peony roots (Bai Shao) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) King solomon's seal roots (Huang Jing) White mustard seeds (Bai Jie Zi) Bupleurum roots (Chai Hu) Coco-grass rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang

Chinese: 宣郁通经汤

Pinyin: Xuān Yù Tōng Jīng Tāng

Other names: Dispersing Stagnation and Unblock Meridians Decoction, Diffuse Constraint and Unblock the Channels Decoction

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Menstrual cramps

  1. Pacifies the Liver
  2. Removes Stagnation
  3. Drains Fire
  4. Unblocks the Meridians

Source date: 1826 AD

Source book: Fu Qing-Zhu's Women's Disorders

Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1826 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) pacifies the Liver and 2) removes 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 Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as menstrual cramps for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the ten ingredients in Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang helps treat.

The ten ingredients in Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang

Bai Shao is a king ingredient in Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Bai Shao enters the Liver and Spleen. It nourishes the Blood, pacifies the Liver and relieves spasmodic abdominal pain. It is also able to unblock the Blood vessels and promote water metabolism.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

2. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Dang Gui is acrid, sweet, and warm.  It nourishes and invigorates the Blood and it supports the White peony root in harmonizing the Liver.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

3. 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 Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it clears Liver Heat.

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

4. Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

In general Zhi Zi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory."

In the context of Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it clears Liver Heat.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

5. King Solomon's Seal Roots (Huang Jing)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Huang Jing's main actions are as follows: "Supply Qi and nourish Ying. Tonifies the Spleen. Moistens Dryness. Tonifies the Kidneys and supplements Essence."

In the context of Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it clears Liver Heat.

Learn more about King Solomon's Seal Roots (Huang Jing)

6. White Mustard Seeds (Bai Jie Zi)

Part used: The seeds, dried

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

In general Bai Jie Zi's main actions are as follows: "Warms the lungs. Eliminates Phlegm and regulated Qi. Dissipates nodules and unblocks the Meridians to relieve pain."

In the context of Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it regulates Qi in the diaphragm and thus helps to pacify Liver Qi.

Learn more about White Mustard Seeds (Bai Jie Zi)

7. Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiver

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Chai Hu's main actions are as follows: "Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang."

In the context of Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it pacifies the Liver, moves Qi and eliminates Stagnation.

Learn more about Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

8. Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiverSanjiao

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Xiang Fu's main actions are as follows: "Unblocks Stagnant Liver Qi and relieves pain. Regulates the Liver and Spleen. Assists the regulation of menses and relieves pain."

In the context of Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it pacifies the Liver, moves Qi and eliminates Stagnation.

Learn more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

9. Turmeric Tubers (Yu Jin)

Part used: Dried root tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartLiverLung

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Yu Jin's main actions are as follows: "Moves Blood, breaks Stasis and reduces associated pain. Regulates the Liver and relieves patterns of Stagnant Qi with pain. Clears the Heart and Cools the Blood. Relieves Stagnation and clears Heat in the Liver and Gallbladder. Relieves jaundice."

In the context of Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it pacifies the Liver, relieve pain, moves Qi and eliminates Stagnation.

Learn more about Turmeric Tubers (Yu Jin)

10. 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 Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, it is used because it harmonizes all ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang is used to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

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 Yu Tong Jing Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire it is worth mentioning that it is often associated with the condition "menstrual cramps". Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang treats menstrual cramps". Rather, Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang is used to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire, which is sometimes the root cause behind menstrual cramps.

Now let's look at Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang.

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

Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire. This pattern leads to symptoms such as feeling of distension, irritability, feeling of heat and menstrual cramps. Patients with Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red points on the sides tongue.

This pattern develops from Liver Qi Stagnation, which creates excessive amount of Heat and then turn into Liver Heat. It manifests with a feeling of heat, a red face and desire to drink.

From a mental emotional perspective, patients tend to be irritable, anxious, moody and prone to outbursts of... read more about Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

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