Da Huang – Rhubarb root and rhizome – Rheum – “Big Yellow”

Nature: bitter, cold

Enters: Stomach, Large Intestine, Liver, Heart, Spleen

Actions: Clears heat, reduces fire; eliminates toxicity; promotes blood circulation, dispels blood stasis; drains accumulation and stagnation; drains damp-heat; drains heat from the blood, clears heat obstructing the blood level.

• Any accumulation or stagnation of heat or damp-heat in the large intestine, including Yangming stage invasion: high fever, profuse sweating, thirst, constipation, abdominal distention and pain, delirium, yellow tongue coat, full pulse.
• Stomach fire: hematemesis, epistaxis.
• Blood stasis: amenorrhea, lochioschesis, masses, trauma, hemorrhage, fixed pain, stasis due to intestinal abscess.
• Damp-heat: jaundice, painful urination, acute hot dysentery.
• Heat and toxicity: carbuncles, boils, furuncles, burns. Use internally and/or topically.
• Blood in the stool due to bleeding hemorrhoids or heat accumulation in the intestines.
• Excess heat obstructing the blood level: fever, hot, swollen, painful eyes, or fire toxin sores.
• Antineoplastic, antifungal, and antibacterial effects.
• May lower cholesterol.
• Also for schistosomiasis.
• Topical: for dermatitis, stomatitis, oral ulcers/canker sores.
• As a paste with vinegar on K-1 for abdominal distention. Change every 2 hours.
• Local application of a decoction has been shown to be effective in the treatment of stomatitis, oral ulcers, and folliculitis, especially those caused by Staphylococcus aureus.
• Ecthyma: a powder made of Da huang and Gan cao, used with a multilayered soybean plaster, was applied in 12 cases of ecthyma of up to 13 years duration. All cases healed within 1-4 weeks.
• A 1g dose has a mild effect to stimulate the appetite.
Da huang’s purgative effect takes 6-8 hours.
Da huang has astringent tannin which has a constipating effect that outweighs the purgative effect when taken in small doses (<0.3g).
• For strong purgation, cook only 5 minutes. The longer the cook time, the milder the purgative effect.
• The wine or vinegar treated form has a stronger effect of promoting blood circulation, and is a milder purgative.
• To stop bleeding, use the charred form.
• The alcohol-prepared form can direct to the face.
• When using Da huang, the sweat and urine may be notably yellow.
• Contraindicated for nursing mothers because components are excreted in breast milk.
• One of four herbs in Essiac tea, a cancer formula.
• Anti-inflammatory: a COX inhibitor
Li: “Dissolves fat” – for obesity, high cholesterol, etc. (including with Dan shen, Shan zha, San Qi).
K&R: Metal and wood excess.
• Metal: constipation, dyspepsia, dysentery.
Wood: biliary dyskinesia, gallstones, high cholesterol, blood stasis.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Has bacteriacidal action against Bacerioides fragilis, which has been found in large quantities in the gallbladders of patients with hepatic or gallbladder disease.
BII: Reduces bleeding of duodenal and gastric ulcers.
Yoga: Amla-vetasa: P, K-; V+
• Purges Pitta, Ama, and stagnation.
DY: To moderate Da huang’s purgative effect, combine it with Gan cao.
• Can be used for any type of constipation, when combined with other herbs specific for the pattern.
• Up to 3g Da huang is lightly purgative and stimulates digestion. Over 3g, the higher the dose, the purgative its effect is. There is a wide variability in the degree of sensitivity of patients to the purgative effects of Da huang. Profuse diarrhea can occur with only 3g in one patient, while constipation can resist a 12g dose in another patient.
• Wine mix-fried Da huang is very slightly purgative. Carbonized Da huang is not purgative.
• With Fu zi to warm the interior, precipitate accumulation of cold, and evacuate the stools. For constipation, abdominal pain, fear of cold, and cold limbs due to accumulation of internal full cold. (Da Huang Fu Zi Tang).
When this pair is combined with Xi xin, it has shown an interesting action in the treatment of cold-damp Bi or impediment with Yang deficiency and blood stasis (use wine mix-fried Da huang for this) as well as for Bi with an accumulation of heat in the stomach and intestines with persistent constipation.
• It is noteworthy to mention that some practitioners believe that small doses (1-3g) of Da huang can have supplementing effects and that this medicinal can be integrated into any formula that supplements the middle burner. However, this is probably an indirect effect. As it is said, the bowels function when they are freely flowing. The spleen cannot be fortified and healthy if the stomach and intestines are not free flowing. In addition, when the spleen becomes weak and, therefore, loses its control over transportation and transformation, the stomach typically becomes hot due to accumulation and depression. Therefore, a small amount of Da huang can address this accumulation and heat even if the main symptoms are those of spleen deficiency and there is no marked constipation.
• With Mang xiao for mutual reinforcement, to effectively precipitate full heat and internal accumulation, and free the flow of stools. (Dose of each: up to 15g) For indications such as:
– 1. Constipation with dry, hard stools and abdominal pain which worsens with pressure due to heat accumulation in the Yangming bowels. (Da Cheng Qi Tang)
– 2. Constipation with dry, hard stools, high fever, delirium and mental confusion, and dry, yellow tongue fur due to full heat in the Yangming bowels. (Da Cheng Qi Tang)
– 3. Chronic or severe constipation due to heat.
MLT: For burns (not open sores) soak Da huang in vinegar for 1-3 days and apply locally.
• Use the charred form for diarrhea and to stop bleeding.
PFGC: Enters the blood layer, cracks all forms of stagnant blood. Since its Qi is fragrant, it can also enter the Qi layer – therefore, in small doses, Da huang can regulate Qi and treat Qi stagnation pain.
• Purges all kinds of masses and accumulations.
• Can treat mania by opening the epigastric region and resolving phlegm-heat. Use up to 60g when the pulse is clearly excess.
• Its fragrant orifice-opening effect can disinhibit urination.
• Can also clear heat in the upper Jiao – for all pain in the eyes and oral cavity.
• Descends stomach heat and “entices stomach Qi to move downwards” – excellent for hematemesis.
• Can “drain the old and generate the new.”
Hsu: Stimulates bile and pancreatic secretions; broad antibacterial; anti-carcinogenic effect.
JC: (“Turkey Rhubarb”) Cathartic (aperient to brisk purgative, depending on dosage), hepatic, cholagogue, astringent, tonic, stomachic, antibilious, sialogogue, vulnerary, anthelmintic, peristaltic.
• Given in small doses, it is a valuable stomach tonic, increasing saliva and gastric juices, improving the appetite, promoting the action of the liver and the flow of bile (without astringing the intestines), and facilitating absorption throughout the system.
• Increases circulation in the glands by the GI tract and increases peristalsis by stimulating the muscular layer of the bowel.
• In larger doses (2-3g), it produces copious yellow, pultaceous stools in 6-8 hours, with considerable hepatic stimulation and some griping (although the larger doses may produce severe griping, the herb will never inflame the digestive mucous membrane).
• Highly esteemed as a laxative tonic for children and infants because of the milk-like quality of its action. It acts chiefly on the duodenum, and generally does not clog or produce an after-constipation. The tonic and astringent action following evacuation makes it a valuable remedy for diarrhea due to irritating matter in the bowel – it removes the irritating substance, its astringent properties check the diarrhea, and then it tones and corrects the accompanying atonic indigestion.
• Particularly useful for hemorrhoids with constipation, atonic dyspepsia, infantile digestive and intestinal disorders, and both constipation and diarrhea.

Dose: 3-12g

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