Da Huang - Downward Draining: Purgatives
SP, ST, LI, LV, HT (3-12g)


Da Huang - Dr. Yellow was studying monkeys...

Dr Yellow was studying the effects of x-lax on monkeys in the jungle when suddenly one of the monkeys collapsed with burns and bleeding and 5 heats.They sent a helicoptor for him but there was a traffic jam that kept them flying in bloody circles over the toxic desert.

Dr. Yellow blamed herself for the accident and she later took to drinking (cc: SP and ST deficient cold). She swore never to feed x-lax to (cc: pregnant) or (cc: nursing mothers) or those undergoing (cc: menstruation) or with (cc: exterior disorders).

English Name: rhubarb root
Pharmacuetical Name: Radix et Rhizoma Rhei
Properties: bitter, cold

  Explanation of Key Words in this story...
x-lax strongly purges accumulations
jungle Drains damp-heat
bleeding...5 heats stops bleeding; clears heat; drains fire; relieves toxicity; drains damp heat
traffic jam... fly in bloody circles resolves stasis; invigorates blood
toxic desert clears heat; resolves toxicity


      Da Huang Actions and Indications
  • Strongly purges accumulations ( yangming organ heat: thirst, constipation;excess heat in intestines, abdominal distension and pain; delerium; yellow tongue coat, full pulse)
  • Drains damp heat (acute, hot dysenteric disorder; damp heat jaundice; PUD; also excess edema, fluid retention)
  • Clears heat, drains fire, stops bleeding (fever, sore throat, red swollen painful eyes, headache, swollen gums, mouth and tongue ulcers with constipation; blood in stool due to hemorrhoids or heat in intestines; reckless movement of blood: hematemesis, epistaxis, uterine bleeding)
  • Invigorates blood; resolves stasis (amenorrhea, immobile abdominal masses, trauma, acute and chronic blood stasis)
  • Clears heat and toxicity (heat obstructing blood with toxicity: intestinal abcess, fire toxin sores, hot skin lesions, boils, carbuncles, burns: internally or topically administered)
  • (cc: pregnancy)
  • (cc: nursing mothers)
  • (cc: during menstruation)
  • (cc: exterior disorders)
  • (cc: SP and ST deficient cold)
    Special Notes:
  • Da Huang has many contraindications because it is extremely cold and bitter.
  • Cooking da huang and gan cao together for a long time (> 30 minutes) will reduce purgative effects, while cooking short time will cause maximum purgation.
  • Pharmacologically Da Huang has a remarkable laxative effect, and has been shown effective to reduce LV damage in hepatitis.
  • Patients with acute pancreatitis were treated very effectively with a decoction of 30-60g da huang every 1 to 2 hours until symptoms returned to normal.
  • According to Dr. Zhang Ziao Ping a small amount of Da Huang is effective to treat hypertension and LV fire.
  • Mang Xiao is often combined with Da Huang to strongly treat excess constipation due to heat. Both Da huang and Mang Xiao can cause intestinal cramping as they stimulate the movement of the intestines.

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