Herb Formulas Notebook

Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang

Licorice Decoction to Drain the Epigastrium

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Source: Discussion of Cold Damage (c. 220)
Author: Zhang Ji / Zhong-Jing

Category: Formulas that Harmonise

Pattern: Jueyin Syndrome with Heat Above, Cold Below and severe Deficiency; Severe Stomach Qi Deficiency and Cold with Damp-Heat obstructing the Middle Jiao

Key Symptoms: Undigested food in the stool, irritability, erosions in the throat accompanied by fatigue, restlessness, aversion to even the smell of food.
Secondary Symptoms: Used a lot in Japan for sleep disorders including difficulty falling asleep, dream-disturbed sleep, talking in one's sleep and somnabulism following the indication in the Essentials from the Golden Cabinet for Hu Huo (lit. Fox delusion) disorder "Hu Huo manifest like Cold Damage. The patient is silent and desires to sleep [but] the eyes cannot be closed [and when] they get up they are restless".

Tongue: Thin, yellow and greasy coating. May have red tip.
Pulse: Wiry, rapid
Abdomen: Hardness and tension in the epigastrium, tension in rectus abdominis muscle, elastic tension and tenderness on pressure around Ren-12, splashing sounds in upper abdomen

Zhi Gan Cao 12g
Zhi Ban Xia 9-12g
Gan Jiang 9g
Huang Qin 9g
Huang Lian 3g
Ren Shen 9g
Da Zao 4pc

In the Shang Han Lun Ren Shen is omitted but in the Essentials from the Golden Cabinet and other sources it is included. If excess predominates then this can be omitted but if deficiency is pronounced then it is added. Likewise if a stronger Heat clearing effect is desired then Da Huang can be added.

Preparation: Decoction.

Actions: Harmonises the Stomach, directs rebellious Qi downward, disperses clumping, eliminates focal distention

Contraindications: Focal distention due to Qi stagnation or harboured food

Research Links:
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Journal of Chinese Medicine
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Reference Notes: (click to display)

These pages are intended to assist clinicians and are not intended for self-diagnosis or treatment for which a qualified professional should be consulted.