Anemarrhena rhizomes (Zhi Mu) Phellodendron bark (Huang Bo) Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu) Yam (Shan Yao) Water plantain (Ze Xie) Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Chinese: 知柏地黄丸

Pinyin: Zhī Bo Dì Huáng Wán

Other names: Anemarrhena Phellodendron and Rehmannia Pill

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that nourish Yin and tonify

Mother formula: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Vaginal itching

  1. Tonifies Yin
  2. Drains Fire

Source date: 1584 AD

Source book: Investigations of Medical Formulas

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Anemarrhena Rhizomes (Zhi Mu), Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) and Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1584 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) tonifies Yin and 2) drains Fire.

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 Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as vaginal itching for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eight ingredients in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan helps treat.

The eight ingredients in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Zhi Mu is a king ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Anemarrhena Rhizomes (Zhi Mu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachKidneyLung

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

In general Zhi Mu's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Qi level. Clears Heat and Fire from the Lung and Stomach. Clears Heat and tonifies the Yin."

In the context of Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan, it is used because it is bitter and cooling. It removes excess Heat from the body.

Learn more about Anemarrhena Rhizomes (Zhi Mu)

Huang Bo is a king ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Part used: Dried bark

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderKidneyLarge intestine

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

In general Huang Bo's main actions are as follows: "Expels Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Clears Kidney Yin Deficient Heat. Applied externally or toxic Fire, especially associated with Dampness."

In the context of Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan, it is used because it is bitter and cooling. It removes excess Heat from the body.

Learn more about Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo)

Shu Di huang is a king ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

3. 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

In general Shu Di huang's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys."

In the context of Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan, it is used because it strongly enriches the Kidney Yin and Essence.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Shan Zhu Yu is a deputy ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

Part used: Dried ripe sarcocarp

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

Shan Zhu Yu nourishes the Liver and restrains the leakage of Essence. It performs the latter function by inhibiting the improper dispersion and drainage through the Liver, thereby enabling the Essence to build up in the Kidneys. For this to occur, a substance with the strong, Essence building properties of the key herb (Shu Di Huang) is also required.

Learn more about Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

Shan Yao is a deputy ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Yam (Shan Yao)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Shan Yao stabilizes the Essence by tonifying the Spleen. Indeed, to reinforce Essence and improve its function, the Spleen (the source of postnatal Essence) must function properly.

Learn more about Yam (Shan Yao)

Ze Xie is an assistant ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Part used: Dried tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Ze Xie clears and drains the overabundance of Kidney Fire. It is used here to prevent the rich, cloying properties of the key herb (Shu Di Huang) from congesting the mechanisms of the Kidneys, which would induce even more Heat from Deficiency.

Learn more about Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Mu Dan Pi is an assistant ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Part used: Root barks

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

Mu Dan Pi clears and drains Liver Fire and is used here to counterbalance the warm properties of Cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu).

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Fu Ling is an assistant ingredient in Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Fu Ling is a bland herb that leaches out Dampness from the Spleen. Here it notably helps Yam (Shan Yao) strengthen the transportive functions of the Spleen. This prevents the formula from clogging up the digestive process and reinforces the Spleen's function of nourishing the body. Poria-cocos mushrooms also works together with the Water plantain (Ze Xie) to improve the metabolism of Fluids and promote urination, thereby preventing a buildup of stagnant fluids.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is used to treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

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 Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is mostly used to treat the pattern "Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency it is worth mentioning that it is often associated with the condition "vaginal itching". Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan treats vaginal itching". Rather, Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is used to treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind vaginal itching.

Now let's look at Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan.

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Learn more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Formulas similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is 75% similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan is 75% similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan is 75% similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Gui Shao Di Huang Tang is 75% similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Shen Qi Wan is 75% similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Qing Jing San is 50% similar to Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan