Virgate wormwood (Yin Chen) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Chinese: 茵陈蒿汤

Pinyin: Yīn Chén Hāo Tāng

Other names: Artemisia Capillaris Decoction, Virgate Wormwood Decoction

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: AcneEczemaCirrhosis and ten other conditions

  1. Clears heat
  2. Resolves dampness
  3. Reduces jaundice

Contraindications: Contraindicated for Yin-type jaundice or jaundice in which dampness... Contraindicated for Yin-type jaundice or jaundice in which dampness predominates. Rhubarb (Da Huang) should be used with extreme caution during pregnancy. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Yin Chen Hao Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness. Its main actions are: 1) clears heat and 2) resolves dampness.

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 Yin Chen Hao Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder or Damp-Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as viral hepatitis, cirrhosis or hepatic atrophy for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the three ingredients in Yin Chen Hao Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Yin Chen Hao Tang helps treat.

The three ingredients in Yin Chen Hao Tang

Yin Chen is a king ingredient in Yin Chen Hao Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen)

Part used: Dried aerial parts

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachLiver

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Yin Chen's main actions are as follows: "Drains Damp and clears Heat, especially from the Liver and Gallbladder. Eliminates Heat and relieves the Exterior. Relieve Jaundice."

In the context of Yin Chen Hao Tang, it is used because it treats all types of jaundices, but especially jaundice due to Damp-Heat.

Learn more about Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen)

Zhi Zi is a deputy ingredient in Yin Chen Hao Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. 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 Yin Chen Hao Tang, it is used because it clears Heat from the Triple Burner, and more specifically, drains Damp-Heat through the urine.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

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

3. Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLiverPericardium

Category: Purgative herbs that drain downward

In general Da Huang's main actions are as follows: "Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis."

In the context of Yin Chen Hao Tang, it is used because it purges Heat, eliminates stagnated Heat and directs downward.

Learn more about Rhubarb (Da Huang)

Conditions and patterns for which Yin Chen Hao 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 Yin Chen Hao 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:

Viral hepatitis Cirrhosis Hepatic atrophy Biliary ascariasis Neonatal jaundice Eczema Psoriasis Allergic dermatitis Acne Pelvic inflammatory disease Abnormal uterine bleeding Vaginitis Dysmenorrhea

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Yin Chen Hao Tang treats viral hepatitis" for instance. Rather, Yin Chen Hao Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind viral hepatitis.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Yin Chen Hao Tang.

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

Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder

Yin Chen Hao Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder. This pattern leads to symptoms such as hypochondrial pain, hypochondrial distention, nausea or vomiting and inability to digest fats. Patients with Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder typically exhibit rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

Dampness in the Gallbladder is typically paired with an underlying Spleen Qi Deficiency which makes the Spleen unable to transform Fluids.

As such the whole Middle Burner is typically affected, hence the symptoms of nausea and vomiting: the obstruction caused by Dampness prevent Stomach Qi from... read more about Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder

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

Damp-Heat

Yin Chen Hao Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Damp-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as bitter taste in the mouth, scanty dark urination, aversion to cold and fever. Patients with Damp-Heat typically exhibit soggy (Ru) pulses.

Within the Four-Levels theory, Damp-Heat is the first level of invasion of External Pathogens, when it still resides in the body's Exterior.

The general symptoms of Damp-Heat are the heaviness of the body and head as well as low temperature fever rising in the afternoon. The patients are not hot on... read more about Damp-Heat

Formulas similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang

Da Huang Fu Zi Tang is 33% similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang

Xie Xin Tang is 33% similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang

Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang is 33% similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang

Da Cheng Qi Tang is 25% similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang

Huang Lian Jie Du Tang is 25% similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang

Ba Zheng San is 22% similar to Yin Chen Hao Tang