Mother of pearl (Zhen Zhu Mu) Dragon bones (Long Gu) Jujube seeds (Suan Zao Ren) Biota seeds (Bai Zi Ren) Host-wood Poria (Fu Shen) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Chinese: 珍珠母丸

Pinyin: Zhēn Zhū Mǔ Wán

Other names: Mother-of-Pearl Pill

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that sedate and calm the Mind

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: EpilepsyCataract

  1. Nourishes the Yin and Blood
  2. Sedates the Heart and calms the Mind
  3. Calms the Liver
  4. Anchors the yang

Contraindications: This formula contains a number of cloying ingredients and is therefore... This formula contains a number of cloying ingredients and is therefore contraindicated in the treatment of insomnia, fright palpitations, and similar conditions in those with patterns of Phlegm-Dampness or Phlegm-Heat. see more

Source date: 1132 AD

Source book: Formulas of Universal Benefit from My Practice

Zhen Zhu Mu Wan is a 11-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Mother Of Pearl (Zhen Zhu Mu) and Dragon Bones (Long Gu) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1132 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that sedate and calm the Mind. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes the Yin and Blood and 2) sedates the Heart and calms the Mind .

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 Zhu Mu Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Yang Rising or Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as epilepsy or cataract for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eleven ingredients in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Zhen Zhu Mu Wan helps treat.

The eleven ingredients in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan

Zhen Zhu Mu is a king ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Mother Of Pearl (Zhen Zhu Mu)

Part used: The shell

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): SaltySweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLiver

Category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

Zhen Zhu Mu is salty, cooling and heavy in nature. It calms the Liver and the Mind, and anchor the overactive Yang.

Learn more about Mother Of Pearl (Zhen Zhu Mu)

Long Gu is a king ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. 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

Long Gu is astringent, slightly cooling and heavy in nature. It calms the Liver and the Mind, and anchor the overactive Yang.

Learn more about Dragon Bones (Long Gu)

Suan Zao Ren is a deputy ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Jujube Seeds (Suan Zao Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): SourSweet

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit

Suan Zao Ren sweet, sour, and balanced.  The three deputy herbs, Jujube seeds, Biota seeds and Host-wood Poria are often used together. Their combination is able to nourish the Heart, regulate its physiology and calm the Mind. They do so primarily by harmonizing the physiology and nature of the Nutritive Qi and Blood on which the Heart depends for its nourishment.

Learn more about Jujube Seeds (Suan Zao Ren)

Bai Zi Ren is a deputy ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Biota Seeds (Bai Zi Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit

Bai Zi Ren is sweet and acrid.  The three deputy herbs, Jujube seeds, Biota seeds and Host-wood Poria are often used together. Their combination is able to nourish the Heart, regulate its physiology and calm the Mind. They do so primarily by harmonizing the physiology and nature of the Nutritive Qi and Blood on which the Heart depends for its nourishment.

Learn more about Biota Seeds (Bai Zi Ren)

Fu Shen is a deputy ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Host-Wood Poria (Fu Shen)

Part used: The part of the mushroom that is attached to the host-wood, dried

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeart

Category: Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit

Fu Shen is sweet and bland.  The three deputy herbs, Jujube seeds, Biota seeds and Host-wood Poria are often used together. Their combination is able to nourish the Heart, regulate its physiology and calm the Mind. They do so primarily by harmonizing the physiology and nature of the Nutritive Qi and Blood on which the Heart depends for its nourishment.

Learn more about Host-Wood Poria (Fu Shen)

Dang Gui is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLiverSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Dang Gui sweet, acrid, and warming. It tonifies the Qi, nourish the Blood, and enrich the Yin. Thus it assists the key herbs in anchoring the Yang, while providing the Mind with an abode.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Shu Di huang is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Part used: Prepared dried root tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Shu Di huang iis sweet, rich, and slightly warming.  It tonifies the Qi, nourish the Blood, and enrich the Yin. Thus it assists the key herbs in anchoring the Yang, while providing the Mind with an abode.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Ren Shen is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen is sweet, slightly bitter, and slightly warming.  It tonifies the Qi, nourish the Blood, and enrich the Yin. Thus it assists the key herbs in anchoring the Yang, while providing the Mind with an abode.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Shui Niu Jiao is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao)

Part used: The horn, as a powder or as thin scrapes

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSalty

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Shui Niu Jiao is bitter, salty, and cooling. It invigorates Qi, clears Heat from the Nutritive Qi and settles fright.

Learn more about Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao)

Chen Xiang is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Agarwood (Chen Xiang)

Part used: Wood shavings

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Chen Xiang directs the Qi from the Upper into the Lower burner, facilitating the transformation of hyperactive Yang into physiological Qi.

Learn more about Agarwood (Chen Xiang)

Zhu Sha is an envoy ingredient in Zhen Zhu Mu Wan. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

11. Cinnabar (Zhu Sha)

Part used: The mineral itself

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: Heart

Category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

In general Zhu Sha's main actions are as follows: "Calms the spirit and Heart. Stops convulsions. Clears Heat and toxins."

In the context of Zhen Zhu Mu Wan, it is used because it focuses the action of the entire formula on the Mind.

Learn more about Cinnabar (Zhu Sha)

Conditions and patterns for which Zhen Zhu Mu Wan 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 Zhen Zhu Mu Wan 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:

Epilepsy Cataract

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Zhen Zhu Mu Wan treats epilepsy" for instance. Rather, Zhen Zhu Mu Wan is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind epilepsy.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Zhen Zhu Mu Wan.

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

Liver Yang Rising

Zhen Zhu Mu Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Yang Rising. This pattern leads to symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, tinnitus and deafness. Patients with Liver Yang Rising typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as Pale, normal or slightly red on the sides with no coating.

Long term Deficiency of Liver Yin, Liver Blood or Kidney Yin can cause Liver Yang rising upwards. This pattern is also called "Arrogant Liver Yang". If left unchecked for many years, it can lead to Liver Wind Agitating Internally

The symptoms mentioned here are fairly similar to these of Stagnant... read more about Liver Yang Rising

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

Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency

Zhen Zhu Mu Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep. Patients with Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency typically exhibit choppy (Se) or fine (Xi) pulses.

The Heart controls Blood circulation while the Liver stores Blood. Only when Heart Blood is plentiful does the Liver have Blood to store. And when Liver Blood is Deficient, Heart Blood is certain to be Deficient also.

As such signs of Heart Blood Deficiency almost always occur along Liver Blood... read more about Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency

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