Goldthread rhizomes (Huang Lian) Evodia fruits (Wu Zhu Yu)

Zuo Jin Wan

Chinese: 左金丸

Pinyin: Zuǒ Jīn Wán

Other names: Left Metal Pill

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Heat

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: GastritisEsophagitisPeptic ulcers and two other conditions

  1. Clears Liver Heat
  2. Directs Rebellious Qi downward
  3. Stops vomiting

Contraindications: Contraindicated for patients with acid reflux due to Stomach Cold from... Contraindicated for patients with acid reflux due to Stomach Cold from Deficiency. see more

Source date: 1481 AD

Source book: Essential Teachings of [Zhu] Dan Xi

Zuo Jin Wan is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat. Its main actions are: 1) clears Liver Heat and 2) directs Rebellious Qi downward.

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 Jin Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as morning sickness, esophagitis or gastritis for instance.

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

The two ingredients in Zuo Jin Wan

Huang Lian is a king ingredient in Zuo Jin Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderSpleenStomachHeartLarge intestineLiver

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

Huang Lian is bitter and cold and it has two functions. The first is to remove Heat from the Heart (Fire), which is the 'child' of the Liver (Wood) in the generative cycle of the Five Phases. When the Heat is drained from the Liver, it no longer rebels horizontally to invade the Stomach. The second function is to clear Stomach Fire. When the Stomach Fire is drained downward, Qi follows it so that acid reflux is quelled.

Learn more about Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

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

2. Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu)

Part used: Dried nearly ripe fruit

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold

Wu Zhu Yu is hot and acrid. It helps with Qi movement and releases Stagnation by dispersing the Liver. It is also very effective in directing Rebellious Stomach Qi downward. Like the king herb Huang Lian, it thereby also kills two birds with one stone. The hot nature of Wu Zhu Yu is moderated by the cold nature of Huang Lian, whose dosage is six times that of Wu Zhu Yu. The acrid nature of Wu Zhu Yu, on the other hand, ensures that physiological Fire is not drained by the bitter, cold, downward-moving nature of Huang Lian.

Learn more about Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu)

Zuo Jin Wan is used to treat Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach

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 Jin Wan is mostly used to treat the pattern "Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Morning sickness Esophagitis Gastritis Gastroesophageal reflux disease Peptic ulcers

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Zuo Jin Wan treats morning sickness" for instance. Rather, Zuo Jin Wan is used to treat Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach, which is sometimes the root cause behind morning sickness.

Now let's look at Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Zuo Jin Wan.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach

Zuo Jin Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach. This pattern leads to symptoms such as belching, abdominal distension, epigastric distension and depression. Patients with Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with thick coating.

Learn more about Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach

Formulas similar to Zuo Jin Wan

Jiao Tai Wan is 50% similar to Zuo Jin Wan

Xiao Xian Xiong Tang is 33% similar to Zuo Jin Wan

Qing Wei San is 20% similar to Zuo Jin Wan

Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan is 17% similar to Zuo Jin Wan

Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang is 14% similar to Zuo Jin Wan

Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang is 10% similar to Zuo Jin Wan