Achyranthes roots (Niu Xi) Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi) Dragon bones (Long Gu) Oyster shells (Mu Li Ke) Tortoise plastrons (Gui Ban) Ningpo figwort roots (Xuan Shen) Chinese asparagus tubers (Tian Men Dong) White peony roots (Bai Shao)

Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang

Chinese: 镇肝熄风汤

Pinyin: Zhèn Gān Xí Fēng Tāng

Other names: Pacifying the Liver and Extinguishing Wind Decoction

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that pacify and extinguish Internal Wind

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: AphasiaApraxiaEpilepsy and twelve other conditions

  1. Sedates the Liver
  2. Axtinguishes Wind
  3. Nourishes the Yin
  4. Anchors the yang

Contraindications: Because this formula contains many enriching, cloying, heavy, and sedating... Because this formula contains many enriching, cloying, heavy, and sedating substances that can injure the Spleen Yang, it should be used with caution in cases with Spleen Qi Deficiency. see more

Source date: 1918 AD

Source book: Essays on Medicine Esteeming the Chinese and Respecting the Western

Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1918 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that pacify and extinguish Internal Wind. Its main actions are: 1) sedates the Liver and 2) axtinguishes Wind.

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 Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as hypertension, renal hypertension or hypertensive encephalopathy for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the twelve ingredients in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang helps treat.

The twelve ingredients in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang

Niu Xi is a king ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Niu Xi conducts the circulation of Blood downward, separating the Blood from the ascendant Yang. It also tonifies and nourishes the Liver and Kidneys.

Learn more about Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Dai Zhe Shi is a deputy ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng 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 heavy nature that enables it to direct the Qi downward and control its rebelliousness. It calms the Liver, anchors the Yang, directs the Stomach Qi downward, and pacifies Rebellious Qi in the Penetrating vessel.

Learn more about Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi)

Long Gu is a deputy ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Dragon Bones (Long Gu)

Part used: The fossilized bone or vertebrae

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

In general Long Gu's main actions are as follows: "Calms the spirit. Anchors ascendant Liver Yang. Stops leakage of Bodily Fluids."

In the context of Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang, it is used because it can restrain Fire and extinguish Wind.

Learn more about Dragon Bones (Long Gu)

Mu Li ke is a deputy ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Oyster Shells (Mu Li ke)

In general Mu Li ke's main actions are as follows: "Calms and anchors the spirit. Moistens Dryness. Softens and removes lumps. Nourish the Yin and subdues the overflowing of the Yang,"

In the context of Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang, it is used because it can restrain Fire and extinguish Wind.

Learn more about Oyster Shells (Mu Li ke)

Gui Ban is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Tortoise Plastrons (Gui Ban)

Part used: Carapace and plastron

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): SaltySweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Gui Ban clears Heat, nourishes the Yin, and enriches the Fluids. This treats the ascendant Liver Yang at the root, which indirectly extinguishes the Wind.

Learn more about Tortoise Plastrons (Gui Ban)

Xuan Shen is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Ningpo Figwort Roots (Xuan Shen)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Xuan Shen clears Heat, nourishes the Yin, and enriches the Fluids. This treats the ascendant Liver Yang at the root, which indirectly extinguishes the Wind.

Learn more about Ningpo Figwort Roots (Xuan Shen)

Tian Men Dong is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Chinese Asparagus Tubers (Tian Men Dong)

Part used: The dry tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Tian Men Dong clears Heat, nourishes the Yin, and enriches the Fluids. This treats the ascendant Liver Yang at the root, which indirectly extinguishes the Wind.

Learn more about Chinese Asparagus Tubers (Tian Men Dong)

Bai Shao is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. 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 clears Heat, nourishes the Yin, and enriches the Fluids. This treats the ascendant Liver Yang at the root, which indirectly extinguishes the Wind.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Yin Chen is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen)

Part used: Dried aerial parts

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachLiver

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Yin Chen smoothes the movement of Liver Qi and drains Liver Yang Excess. This reinforces the actions of pacifying, controlling, and sedating the Liver yang.

Learn more about Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen)

Chuan Lian Zi is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Sichuan Chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiverSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Chuan Lian Zi smoothes the movement of Liver Qi and drains Liver Yang Excess. This reinforces the actions of pacifying, controlling, and sedating the Liver yang.

Learn more about Sichuan Chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi)

Mai Ya is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. Malt (Mai Ya)

Part used: Dried germinated ripe fruit

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Herbs that relieve Food Stagnation

Mai Ya smoothes the movement of Liver Qi and drains Liver Yang Excess. This reinforces the actions of pacifying, controlling, and sedating the Liver yang.

Learn more about Malt (Mai Ya)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

12. 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 Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang, it is used because it regulates and harmonizes the actions of the other ingredients.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang is used to treat Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior

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 Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Hypertension Renal hypertension Hypertensive encephalopathy Aphasia Apraxia Epilepsy Parkinson's disease Trigeminal neuralgia Postconcussion syndrome Recalcitrant hiccup Cerebral arteriosclerosis Coronary artery disease Acute nephritis Perimenopausal syndrome Puerperal fever

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang treats hypertension" for instance. Rather, Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang is used to treat Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior, which is sometimes the root cause behind hypertension.

Now let's look at Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang.

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

Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

Symptoms: Weight loss Malar flush Listlessness Low-grade fever Tremor of limbs Twitching of limbs

Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior. This pattern leads to symptoms such as low-grade fever, tremor of limbs, weight loss and malar flush. Patients with Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses.

This is one of the five patterns of the Blood level, the fourth and last level of the Four Levels theory. This means this is a very serious pattern where an External Pathogen has penetrated deeply within the body.

Contrary to Heat victorious stirring Wind, another pattern at this level, here the... read more about Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior

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