Constraint (wen dan tang) (YTS)

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Case by: Ye Tian-Shi

Constrained heat with acid regurgitation. Warm Gallbladder Decoction (wen dan tang) plus Gardeniae Fructus (zhï zî), Moutan Cortex (mû dän pí), Curcumae Radix (yù jïn), Zingiberis Rhizomatis Succus (jiäng zhï), and dry-fried Coptidis Rhizoma (châo huáng lián).


Warm Gallbladder Decoction (wen dan tang) contains Bambusae Caulis in taeniam (zhú rú), Aurantii Fructus immaturus (zhî shí), Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum (zhì bàn xià), Citri reticulatae Pericarpium (chén pí), Poria (fú líng), Glycyrrhizae Radix (gän câo), Zingiberis Rhizoma recens (shëng jiäng), and Jujubae Fructus (dà zâo). From Material Medica III (Eastland press):

Ginger Juice (薑汁 jïang zhï) – pharmaceutical name: Zingiberis Rhizomatis Succus: Ginger juice is acrid and warm, stronger at dispersing and in settling the Stomach than Zingiberis Rhizoma recens (shëng jiäng). It is best for alleviating nausea and breaking up phlegm to reduce coughing. Ginger juice is very commonly used in herb preparation to increase the anti-nausea effect, for example, when used to treat Bambusae Caulis in taeniam (zhú rú) or Pinelliae Rhizoma (bàn xià).”

Original Chinese: 某 郁热吞酸。温胆汤加山栀丹皮郁金姜汁炒黄连。

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  • Greg Livingston


    Maybe a stupid question, but how do we know this is ginger juice and fried huang liang, and not ginger juice fried huang lian? I actually tend to think it’s the latter, but I may be wrong.


    • Jason Blalack


      This is a good question and thanks for bringing it up. I can’t say I have a definite answer, but here is my thinking on the issue.

      1) It is true that YTS did often use ginger juice (姜汁) prepared herbs, however in these case studies we see them usually written with parenthesis “(” such as in 南星(姜汁炒) dan xing (dry-fried with ginger juice). YTS’s cases are written with something like this for huang lian – Coptidis Rhizoma (Sichuanense) (dry-fried ginger juice) “川连(姜汁炒一两)”

      2) In my experience, if not written using parenthesis one will see something like: Ginger Coptis (姜黃連 jiang huang lian). This is huang lian dry-fried with ginger juice.

      3) Finally, it is clear from his cases that YTS would use Ginger Juice (姜汁 jiang zhi) as a single medicinal. For example he would add it to a formula such as Minor Pinellia Decoction (xiâo bàn xià täng) which already contains Zingiberis Rhizoma recens (shëng jiäng) or just include it in a list of medicinals (e.g. 姜汁(四分)).
      Therefore, I do agree that a processed huang lian make sense from a theoretical perspective in this case, but I also can see that just interpreting this as a single medicinal, Ginger Juice (姜汁 jiang zhi,) also makes sense. I can see both sides (linguistically and theoretically) hence I think we must search YTS’s other case records for further illumination.

      However, I would love to hear your thinking on this matter. This is precisely why I like to include the Chinese because we can learn how other people read things and expand our horizons.

  • Jason Blalack

    There is some evidence that Greg is correct. Greg has pointed out that an author of a modern YTS book does edit the original text to reflect ginger juice fried huang lian. This author is obviously more experienced than me in interpeting YTS. Therefore his opinion is not to be taken lightly! However, I think with the above points it is still hard to stay.

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