• Da huang, Lu hui, and Fan xie ye all contain anthraquinone glycosides which make them stimulant laxatives (as well as having some antibiotic effect) – increasing peristalsis. (The common Western herbal purgatives Cascara sagrada and Frangula are also stimulants containing anthraquinones.)
• Other common laxatives include citrus seed extracts and castor oil (the latter is a strong stimulant). Psyllium seed husk (a Plantago species), flax seed meal, and Pang da hai, when eaten, are high-fiber bulk-forming laxatives, which retain water and stimulate peristalsis by forming a mass in the intestines.
• All but the fiber (bulk-forming) laxatives are generally contraindicated in pregnancy.
• The herbs in this category are commonly combined with:
A. Herbs to clear heat and toxicity, promote Qi and blood circulation.
B. Herbs to warm the interior, when there is constipation due to Yang deficiency (e.g. Da huang + Fu zi).
C. Herbs that release the exterior, when there is an EPI associated.
D. Herbs that support Zhen Qi, when the patient has a weak constitution.
1. Dry and hard stool due to excess heat or fire in the large intestine.
2. High fever, coma, delirium due to blockage of the heart by excess heat.
3. Headache, red and painful eyes, toothache, hemoptysis, hematemesis due to flare up of fire from the liver, Lungs, stomach, or large intestine.
4. Tong Yin Tong Yang: Purgation when there is leakage (incontinence) due to blockage.