Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi) Cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu) Yam (Shan Yao) Deer antler glue (Lu Jiao Jiao) Tortoise plastrons (Gui Ban) Achyranthes roots (Niu Xi) Cuscuta seeds (Tu Si Zi)

Zuo Gui Wan

Chinese: 左归丸

Pinyin: Zuǒ Guī Wán

Other names: Restore the Left (Kidney) Pill

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that nourish Yin and tonify

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

  1. Nourishes the Yin
  2. Strengthens the Kidneys
  3. Fills the Essence
  4. Augments the marrow

Contraindications: Contraindicated for patterns without any signs of Excess Heat such as a yellow... Contraindicated for patterns without any signs of Excess Heat such as a yellow tongue coating or a wiry and rapid pulse. Also need to cautious in cases of Spleen and Stomach Deficiency. see more

Source date: 1624 AD

Source book: Collected Treatises of (Zhang) Jing Yue

Zuo Gui Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes the Yin and 2) strengthens the Kidneys.

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 Zuo Gui Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Kidney Essence Deficiency, Kidney Yin Deficiency or Kidney Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as irregular menstruation, abnormal vaginal discharge or abnormal uterine bleeding for instance.

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

The eight ingredients in Zuo Gui Wan

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

1. 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 tonifies the true Yin of the five Yin Organs. In case of Yin Deficiency and Empty Fire arises, the heaviness of Shu Di huang can direct it downward sufficiently. It can also be used for settling down restless movement and hard tension.

Learn more about Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Gou Qi Zi is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Gui Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Gou Qi Zi nourishes the Liver Blood. Together with Shan Zhu Yu, they work synergistically with the chief herb Shu Di huang.

Learn more about Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

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

3. 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 Blood 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. It works synergistically with Shu Di huang and Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi)

Learn more about Cornelian Cherries (Shan Zhu Yu)

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

4. Yam (Shan Yao)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Shan Yao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing."

In the context of Zuo Gui Wan, it is used because it benefits the Yin and tonifies the Spleen which is the origin of the postnatal Qi and Blood.

Learn more about Yam (Shan Yao)

Lu Jiao Jiao is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Gui Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Deer Antler Glue (Lu Jiao Jiao)

Part used: The horn (antlers) of the animal

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): SaltySweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

Lu Jiao Jiao is sweet, salty, and slightly warming. It entering the Governing vessel to tonify the Essence and Blood and stimulate the Yang. It pushes the action of the formula even further toward the Essence tonification.

Learn more about Deer Antler Glue (Lu Jiao Jiao)

Gui Ban is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Gui Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. 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 sweet, salty, and cooling. Therefore it is able to sedate Liver Yang as well as cool Empty Heat from Yin Deficiency. It pushes the action of the formula even further toward the Essence tonification.

Learn more about Tortoise Plastrons (Gui Ban)

Niu Xi is an assistant ingredient in Zuo Gui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Niu Xi augments the Liver and Kidneys, strengthens the back and knees, as well as builds the sinews and bones.

Learn more about Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi)

Tu Si Zi is an assistant ingredient in Zuo Gui Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Cuscuta Seeds (Tu Si Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

Tu Si Zi tonifies the Kidney Yin and Yang and secures the Essence, supporting the overall action of the formula in a balanced manner.

Learn more about Cuscuta Seeds (Tu Si Zi)

Conditions and patterns for which Zuo Gui 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 Zuo Gui Wan 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:

Irregular menstruation Abnormal vaginal discharge Abnormal uterine bleeding Intermenstrual bleeding Chronic bronchitis Chronic nephritis Hypertension Lumbar strain Infertility

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Zuo Gui Wan treats irregular menstruation" for instance. Rather, Zuo Gui Wan is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind irregular menstruation.

Now let's look at the four patterns commonly treated with Zuo Gui Wan.

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

Kidney Essence Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Pale

Symptoms: Tinnitus Hair loss Sore back Weak Limbs Poor memory Loose teeth Hair Graying Premature aging Poor sexual ability Poor bone development Late closure of fontanelle

Zuo Gui Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Essence Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as poor bone development, late closure of fontanelle, weak limbs and hair loss. Patients with Kidney Essence Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a pale tongue with complete absence of coating.

Kidney Essence (Jing 精) Deficiency usually involves Deficiency of Kidney Yin and, to some extent, Kidney Yang. Its signs manifest in relation to growth, development, reproduction, sexuality, bones, marrow, the brain, teeth, memory and hair. Poor hereditary constitution in children, aging, excessive... read more about Kidney Essence Deficiency

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Zuo Gui Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness and night sweats. Patients with Kidney Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can also lead to an insufficient amount of Marrow to fill the Brain, causing poor memory and dizziness. Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys is... read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency

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

Kidney Deficiency

Zuo Gui Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as late period, pale menstrual blood, feeling of cold and sore back. Patients with Kidney Deficiency typically exhibit deep (Chen), empty (Xu), weak (Ruo) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a pale, red tongue.

Learn more about Kidney Deficiency

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency causing Heat in the Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Symptoms: Tinnitus Dizziness Back pain Dark Urine Night sweats

Zuo Gui Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency causing Heat in the Blood. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus, night sweats and back pain. Patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency causing Heat in the Blood typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu), fine (Xi) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Learn more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency causing Heat in the Blood

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