Notes on This Category

• Also consider, as appropriate: Ze xie, Zhi mu, Huang bai, Mu dan pi, Han lian cao, Tian men dong, etc.
• Bensky & Gamble, second edition, has a similar category – Herbs for Steaming Bone Disorder – which includes Di gu pi, Hu Huang lian, Mu dan pi, Qing hao, and Yin chai hu.
• Herbs in this category are commonly combined with:
A. Herbs that nourish Yin.
B. Herbs that strengthen the spleen and stomach, when there is deficiency of these organs.

Bai Wei – Cynanchum root – Swallowwort

Nature: bitter, salty, cold

Enters: Stomach, Liver, Lung, Kidney

Actions: Clears heat; cools the blood; promotes urination; eliminates toxicity.

Ying or Xue level heat, or Yin deficiency, or blood deficiency (especially postpartum or after a febrile disease): fever.
• Heat in the blood: painful, hot or bloody urination. Especially before or after giving birth.
• Heat and toxicity: carbuncles, swollen, painful throat, snake bite, toxic sores. Can be used internally or applied topically for these indications.
• Some say this herb can conduct heat in the blood out of the vessels.
• Bensky/Gamble classifies Bei wei with herbs that clear heat and cool the blood.
MLT: Important in gynecological problems: postpartum inflammation, septicemia and/or accompanying restlessness.
• Urinary tract infection caused by Yin deficiency (use with Ren shen and Dan zhu ye).

Dose: 6-15g

Di Gu Pi – Lycium/Wolfberry root bark

Nature: sweet, bland, slightly cold

Enters: Lung, Kidney, Liver

Actions: Clears heat; cools the blood; drains Yin deficiency fire, including floating fire in the kidney channel; stops coughing.

• Yin deficiency heat: tidal fever, night sweats, irritability, thirst, steaming bone disorder with sweating (if no sweating, use Mu dan pi).
• Lung heat (deficiency or excess): cough, asthma, wheezing.
• Kidney Yin deficiency fire: toothache.
• A strong decoction can be used as a dental analgesic. In one study of 11 patients with pulpitis, concentrated decoctions of Di gu pi effectively reduced the pain and inflammation in a mean time of one minute.
• Food retention and Yin deficiency: fever in children.
• Heat in the blood: hemoptysis, epistaxis, hematuria, hematemesis.
• Antipyretic. Less effect than aspirin.
• Lowers blood pressure. Especially for hypertension in classes I and II.
• Eczema and juvenile verruca plana: Di gu pi was shown to be beneficial when injected (no mention of the effect of oral administration).
• Malaria: in one study, Di gu pi and tea leaves given to malaria patients 2-3 hours before the onset of fever had a significant effect in 145 of 150 cases.
• Bensky/Gamble classifies this with herbs that clear heat and cool the blood.
Li: Can astringe sweats.
MLT: Topical: for fungal infection – use as a wash with Ye jiao teng, Ming fan, She chuang zi, Zi cao, Ku shen for genital itching, poison oak and ivy, and other rashes.
DY: Eliminates evils from the Yin division.
• With Sang bai pi to clear the Yin and Qi divisions, to effectively clear heat and drain fire from the Lungs, eliminate deficiency fire damaging the Lungs, stop cough, and calm asthma. For the following indications, the combination is found in Xie Bai San:
– 1. Cough and asthma with expectoration of yellow, sticky, and thick phlegm, fever and thirst due to Lung heat.
– 2. Cough accompanied by evening fever or low but persistent fever with skin which is warm to the touch due to deficiency heat damaging the Lungs.
– For the above indications, honey mix-fried Sang bai pi should be used. This combination can treat both full and deficiency heat. The Lungs are a delicate viscus and are easily damaged by heat. Full heat easily damages Lung Yin, causing both full and deficient heat simultaneously. This pair addresses this situation very well. In case of full heat, add Huang qin, Pi pa ye, and Zhe bei mu. In case of deficiency heat, add Zhi mu and Mai men dong.
Hsu: Hypotensive (vasodilator); hypoglycemiant; antibacterial; antipyretic.

Dose: 6-15g

Hu Huang Lian – Picrorhiza rhizome – “Barbarian Yellow Link”

Nature: bitter, cold

Enters: Heart, Liver, Stomach, Large Intestine

Actions: Clears damp-heat; clears Yin deficiency heat; reduces fever due to parasites; treats childhood nutritional impairment.

• Large intestine damp-heat: diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids. For these disorder, Hu huang lian is much weaker than Huang lian and should be used when Huang lian would be too strong for the patient.
• Digestive disorder with nutritional impairment in children: fever, abdominal distention, dysenteric diarrhea.
• Yin deficiency heat: tidal fever, night sweats, etc.
• Damp-heat: sores.
• Often used as a substitute for the more expensive Huang lian.
• Bensky/Gamble classifies this with herbs that clear heat and dry dampness.

Dose: 3-9g

BII: (P. kurroa) Extensive Ayurvedic use in the treatment of hepatic and respiratory disorders.
• Bronchial asthma: May prevent allergen-, histamine-, and PAF- induced bronchial obstruction.

Qing Hao – Artemisia annua or A. apiacea – Sweet Annie

Nature: bitter, acrid, cold

Enters: Liver, Gallbladder, Kidney

Actions: Clears summer-heat; cools the blood, stops bleeding; treats malaria; clears Yin deficiency heat; guides interior heat out to the exterior.

• Summer-heat: fever, headache, dizziness, stifling sensation in the chest, with or without sweating.
• Yin deficiency, blood deficiency, or febrile disease: fever. Especially for unremitting fever or night fever and morning coolness with an absence of sweating.
• Yin deficiency: fever, hot sensation in the soles and palms.
• Heat in the blood: purpuric rashes, epistaxis.
• Malaria: alternating fever and chills (do not mistake for Shaoyang syndrome, do not use Xiao Chai Hu Tang). Liu: The extract of this herb – Qing Hao Su (essentially artemisinin) – is very strong at killing the malaria parasite (much stronger than Western medicines), and has no side effects. Useful for increasingly drug-resistant strains of malaria.
• Induces sweating.
• The leaves are the most potent part of the plant.
• Short cook.

• May be useful in the treatment of COVID-19:

Artemisia and Artemisia-based products for COVID-19 management: current state and future perspective

• Bensky/Gamble classifies with herbs to clear summer-heat.

HF: A Sha Chong (kill worms or parasites) herb, important in Gu Zheng (Gu parasites) formulas.
BF: Anti-amoebic and anti-giardia effects.
• Very effective herb when there is deficiency heat above and damp-heat below.
MLT: This is the only heat clearing herb which is aromatic, bitter, and cold. It clears heat and dampness, while its aromatic quality protects the spleen from its bitter, cold nature. Though it is bitter, it will not injure the Yin. Though it is cold, it will not aggravate dampness. Its fragrant Qi is able to decongest turbidity. Being light and clear, it is able to rise upward and release evil through the surface.
• Useful for all four levels of Wenbing as either the primary or secondary herb in the formula.
• More neutral than Huang qin and Huang lian.

Dose: 3-10g (up to 24g for strong heat-clearing)

Yin Chai Hu – Stellaria Root* (see alternate species) – “Silver Barbarian Kindling”

Nature: sweet, slightly cold

Enters: Liver, Stomach

Actions: Clears Yin deficiency heat; clears fever due to parasites; cools the blood, stops bleeding; reduces childhood nutritional impairment.

• Yin deficiency: tidal fever, night sweats, steaming bone disorder.
• Accumulation with heat or parasites: digestive disorders in children with malnutrition, fever, abdominal bloating, thin muscles.
• Heat in the blood: epistaxis, uterine bleeding, bloody cough, hematuria.
• Bensky/Gamble classifies with herbs that clear heat and cool blood.
* Arenaria juncea, Silena jenissensis, and Gypsophila oldhamiama are also used as this herb.

Dose: 3-9g
The ubiquitous Western species – Stellaria media, Chickweed – is used in Western herbalism (aerial parts or whole plant):
Grieve: Refrigerant, demulcent.
K&R: General tonic, cardiotonic. Fire, water, and metal yin.
• Fire: asthenia, hypotension, palpitations, anemia, excellent tonic for convalescents.
Water: edema, glomerulonephritis, nephrotic syndromes, asystole, cardiac weakness, acute articular rheumatism, scarlatina, anemia.
Metal: bronchitis, pleurisy, cough, colds, atonic bowel, strengthens Lung and bronchial tubes, topical for skin conditions, especially burns, hemorrhoids, ulcers.
• A cholesterol cleanser, can be used long term to clear out cellulite for obesity, lipomas and other tumors.
• Also for arrhythmias, depression.
PCBDP: (herb) Antipruritic, vulnerary, emollient, antirheumatic.
• Poultice for eczema, psoriasis, ulcers, boils.
JC: (herb) Demulcent, emollient, nutritive, resolvent, pectoral, alterative, refrigerant, mucilage, discutient.
• Excellent for pulmonary complaints, any form of internal or external inflammation of the membranes or skin, and weakness of the stomach and bowels, especially bleeding of the Lungs or bowels.
• Topical: for wounds, skin diseases, inflamed surfaces, etc.
• Also used as a weight loss aid.