Honeysuckle flowers (Jin Yin Hua) Forsythia fruits (Lian Qiao) Platycodon roots (Jie Geng) Greater burdock fruits (Niu Bang Zi) Wild mint (Bo He) Fermented soybeans (Dan Dou Chi) Japanese catnip (Jing Jie) Lophatherum herbs (Dan Zhu Ye)

Yin Qiao San

Chinese: 银翘散

Pinyin: Yín Qiào Sàn

Other names: Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder, Lonicera and Forsythia combination, Forsythia Lonicera Powder

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula category: External formulas for External disorders

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

  1. Disperses Wind Heat
  2. Clears Heat
  3. Resolves Toxicity

Contraindications: It is not very effective in treating Damp Heat.

Source date: 1798 AD

Source book: Systematic Differentiation of Warm Pathogen Diseases

Yin Qiao San is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) and Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1798 AD, it belongs to the category of external formulas for External disorders. Its main actions are: 1) disperses Wind Heat and 2) clears Heat.

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 Qiao San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Wind-Heat invading the Lungs, Wind-Heat or Toxic-Heat. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as common cold, influenza or bronchitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the ten ingredients in Yin Qiao San, we review the patterns and conditions that Yin Qiao San helps treat.

The ten ingredients in Yin Qiao San

Jin Yin Hua is a king ingredient in Yin Qiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua)

Part used: Dried flower bud

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLung

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

Jin Yin Hua acrid, cool, and fragrant. It releases the Exterior, clear Heat from
the Lungs and resolve Toxicity.

Learn more about Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua)

Lian Qiao is a king ingredient in Yin Qiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao)

Part used: Dried fruit

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

Lian Qiao acrid, cool, and fragrant. It releases the Exterior, clear Heat from
the Lungs and resolve Toxicity.

Learn more about Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao)

Jie Geng is a deputy ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Platycodon Roots (Jie Geng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: Lung

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Jie Geng spreads the Lung Qi and improves the throat. Also, Liquorice and Platycoden together are very strong in treating sore throat.

Learn more about Platycodon Roots (Jie Geng)

Niu Bang Zi is a deputy ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Greater Burdock Fruits (Niu Bang Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Niu Bang Zi's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Heat. Allows the release of toxicity from the surface and clears Heat. Reduces swelling and clears pathogenic Heat. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieves sore throat."

In the context of Yin Qiao San, it is used because it spreads the Lung Qi and improves the throat.

Learn more about Greater Burdock Fruits (Niu Bang Zi)

Bo He is a deputy ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Wild Mint (Bo He)

Part used: Dried aerial parts

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Bo He's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind-Heat. Clears Wind-Heat from the head, eyes and throat. Allows the release of toxins from the skin. Moves Stagnant Liver Qi"

In the context of Yin Qiao San, it is used because it helps the key herbs to release exterior Heat.

Learn more about Wild Mint (Bo He)

Dan Dou Chi is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Fermented Soybeans (Dan Dou Chi)

Part used: Fermented preparation obtain from the ripe bean

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Dan Dou Chi's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and scatters Wind, Cold and Heat, especially when there is Yin Deficiency. Relieves stuffy sensation in the chest and irritability."

In the context of Yin Qiao San, it is used because it helps the key herbs to release exterior Heat.

Learn more about Fermented Soybeans (Dan Dou Chi)

Jing Jie is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie)

Part used: Aerial portion and flowers, or the spikes only (in which case it is called Jing Jie Sui)

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Jing Jie's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold or Heat depending on the other herbs used. Releases the Exterior for measles. Stops bleeding. Abates swellings."

In the context of Yin Qiao San, it is used because it is warm and acrid. It encourages Exterior releasing without causing Dryness.

Learn more about Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie)

Dan Zhu Ye is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Lophatherum Herbs (Dan Zhu Ye)

Part used: Dried stem and leaf

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartSmall intestine

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

In general Dan Zhu Ye's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and aids thirst. Aids urination and drains Damp-Heat."

In the context of Yin Qiao San, it is used because it creates Body Fluids and alleviates thirst.

Learn more about Lophatherum Herbs (Dan Zhu Ye)

Lu Gen is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Common Reed Rhizomes (Lu Gen)

Part used: Fresh or dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

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

In general Lu Gen's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and promotes the generation of Fluids. Dispels Lung Heat. Dispels Stomach Heat. Promotes urination and clears Heat in the urinary tract. Calm the minds and stop vomiting."

In the context of Yin Qiao San, it is used because it creates Body Fluids and alleviates thirst.

Learn more about Common Reed Rhizomes (Lu Gen)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao creates Body Fluids and alleviates thirst. Also, Liquorice and Platycoden together are very strong in treating sore throat.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Yin Qiao San 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 Qiao San 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:

Common cold Influenza Bronchitis Pneumonia Tonsillitis Measles Mumps Meningitis Encephalitis B

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Yin Qiao San treats common cold" for instance. Rather, Yin Qiao San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind common cold.

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Yin Qiao San.

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

Wind-Heat invading the Lungs

Yin Qiao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Wind-Heat invading the Lungs. This pattern leads to symptoms such as slight chills, dark urine, aversion to cold and fever. Patients with Wind-Heat invading the Lungs typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or floating (Fu) pulses.

It is very similar to the pattern of Wind-Cold invading the Lungs, but this Wind is rather associated with Heat instead of Cold. Therefore, patients are more likely to have fever. 

Like the Wind-Cold invasion pattern, patients have symptoms like aversion to cold, because the body's Defensive Qi... read more about Wind-Heat invading the Lungs

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

Wind-Heat

Yin Qiao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Wind-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as chills, headaches, fear of wind and blocked nose. Patients with Wind-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or floating (Fu) pulses.

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

This pattern is similar to Wind-Cold, but the Wind is together with Heat rather than Cold. The common symptoms are aversion to cold, sneezing, coughing, runny... read more about Wind-Heat

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

Toxic-Heat

Yin Qiao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Toxic-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as thirst, dark urine, constipation and coughing. Patients with Toxic-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses.

There are two types of Toxic-Heat. One type is called Toxic-Heat Stagnation, which mainly happens in Channels or other surfaces like skins, throat, lymph or mouth. The symptoms include pain, redness and swollen in throat as well as skin pustule and rush. Acne during teenage time is mainly due to... read more about Toxic-Heat

The Exterior in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Exterior in Chinese Medicine

Exterior-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Floating (Fu)

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Sweating Headaches Body aches Stiff neck Aversion to cold

Yin Qiao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Exterior-Heat. This pattern leads to symptoms such as headaches, aversion to cold, fever and sweating. Patients with Exterior-Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or floating (Fu) pulses.

This pattern is classified as ‘Exterior’ not because it derived from an external pathogenic factor but because its manifestations are located in the ‘Exterior’ of the body such as the skin, muscles and Channels. 

The Defensive Qi reacts to the external Heat Evil and the battle between the two gives... read more about Exterior-Heat

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