Long Dan Xie Gan Wan - Gentiana Purge Liver Formula - TCM Herbal Formula

Chinese Name: Long Dan Xie Gan Wan
English Name: Gentiana Purge Liver Formula

Formula Category


Clinical Usage and Indications

Hypochondriac pain, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, easily angered, headache, dizziness, red, and possibly sore, eyes, diminished hearing and/or swollen sensation in ears/head.  May have urinary symptoms such as painful, hot urination perhaps with swollen genitalia.  Women may have leukorrhea with a strong odor.

The Pulse will be wiry, rapid and forceful and the Tongue will be red with a yellow tongue coating.

Related TCM Diagnostic Patterns


Clinical Formula Combinations and Modifications:

Staff Clinician Notes:

There are no staff notes at this time.

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Cautions and Contraindications:

This formula should not be taken long term, if correct symptoms should improve quickly.  It should not be used with Spleen deficiency (presence of loose stools, strong fatigue, etc.).  As always consult with an acupuncturist/herbalist before use.

Related Western Medical Conditions:


Individual Chinese Herbs In This Formula:


  • Chai Hu
  • Herb Functions
    • Clears shao yang disorders and reduces fever - alternating chills and fever, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, vomiting, stifling sensation in the chest.
    • Relieves liver qi stagnation (often used with Bai Shao) - vertigo, menstrual disorders, chest and flank pain, the most common herb to treat stress, irritability, depression, etc.; also for liver and spleen disharmony - bloating, nausea, indigestion, flank pain.
    • Raises yang qi in spleen and stomach deficiency patterns (often used with Sheng Ma) - prolapsed organ, diarrhea, hemorrhoids.

  • Contraindications
    • Due to its rising and dispersing nature avoid in yin deficiency or liver yang rising.
    • May cause nausea or vomiting - use a smaller dose if necessary.

  • Che Qian Zi
  • Herb Functions
    • Promotes urination, clears heat - edema, lin syndromes due to damp-heat, generally in the lower warmer.
    • Solidifies the stool - diarrhea with damp-heat or damp-summerheat.
    • Clears the eyes - liver and kidney deficiency (dry eyes or cataracts) or heat in the liver channel (red, painful, swollen eyes and sensitive to light).
    • Lung heat - expels phlegm, stops cough.

  • Contraindications
    • Avoid during Pregnancy.

  • Dang Gui
  • Herb Functions
    • Tonifies the blood, regulates menses - pallid, ashen complexion, tinnitus, blurred vision, palpitations, irregular menses, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea.
    • Invigorates/harmonizes the blood, disperses cold - important herb to stop pain due to blood stasis - abdominal pain, trauma, carbuncles due to blood stasis, chronic bi.
    • Moistens dry intestines due to blood deficiency.
    • Reduces swellings, expels pus, generates flesh - sores.

  • Gan Cao
  • Herb Functions
    • Tonifies the spleen and augments qi - spleen deficiency w/shortness of breath, fatigue, loose stools (si jun zi tong).
    • Qi and/or blood deficiency w/irregular pluse or palpitations (Zhi Gan Cao Tang).
    • Moistens the lungs and stops cough - heat/cold in the lungs (Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang).
    • Clears heat and toxic fire (raw) - carbuncles, sores, sore throat due to fire toxin (internally or topically).
    • Alleviates pain and stops spasms - abdomen or legs (Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang).
    • Often used to harmonize and/or moderate characteristics of other herbs.
    • Antidote for toxic substances (internally and topically).

  • Contraindications
    • Avoid with excess dampness, nausea, vomiting.
    • Incompatible with Gan Sui, Da Ji, Yuan Hua, Hai Zao (although used in some formulas with Hai Zao).
    • If taken for long periods of time, may cause hypertension and/or edema.

  • Huang Qin
  • Herb Functions
    • Clears heat, drains fire, especially from the upper warmer - heat patterns with fever, irritability, thirst, cough, thick, yellow sputum, hot sores and swellings.
    • Clears heat, dries dampness - damp-heat in the stomach or intestines, diarrhea, dysentery; damp warm-febrile disease with fever, stifling sensation in the chest, thirst with no desire to drink; damp-heat in the lower jiao - lin syndrome; damp-heat jaundice.
    • Clears heat, stops bleeding - vomiting and/or coughing of blood, nosebleed, blood in the stool.
    • Clears heat, calms the fetus - restless fetus due to heat.
    • Sedates liver yang rising - headache, irritability, red eyes, bitter taste, flushed face.

  • Long Dan Cao
  • Herb Functions
    • Drains damp-heat from the liver and gallbladder channels - red, swollen, sore throat, eyes, and/or ears, sudden deafness, jaundice, pain, swelling or dampness in the genital region, or foul smelling vaginal discharge and itching.
    • Clears ascending liver fire - headache, red eyes; liver wind-heat with fever, spasms, convulsions, flank pain.

  • Mu Tong
  • Herb Functions
    • Promotes urination, drains heat from the heart through the small intestine - irritability with sores of the mouth or tongue, scanty urination, lin syndrome, edema.
    • Promotes lactation, unblocks the blood vessels - insufficient lactation, less commonly for amenorrhea and bi-syndrome.

  • Contraindications
    • Avoid during Pregnancy.
    • Toxic - can lead to renal failure (aristolochic acid).

  • Sheng Di Huang
  • Herb Functions
    • Clears Heat, Cools Blood. High fever, thirst, scarlet tongue, hemorrhage due to heat in the Blood.
    • Nourishes Yin, Generates Fluids. Yin Deficiency with heat signs with injury to body fluids. Dry mouth, low-grade fever, constipation, throat pain from yin deficiency.
    • Cools Ascending Heart Fire (HT, LV). Mouth and tongue sores, irritability, insomnia, malar flush.
    • Wasting thirst disorder.

  • Contraindications
    Spleen Deficiency, Yang Deficiency, Damp Phlegm, Digestion Difficulties.
  • Ze Xie
  • Herb Functions
    • Promotes urination, drains damp-heat in the lower burner - urinary difficulty, edema, diarrhea.
    • Drains deficient kidney fire - heat signs, dizziness, tinnitus.

  • Zhi Zi
  • Herb Functions
    • Clears heat (Heart and Liver), eliminates irritability - heat patterns with fever, restlessness, insomnia, delirium, stifling sensation in the chest.
    • Drains damp heat - lin (urinary dysfunction) syndrome due to damp-heat in the lower warmer, damp-heat and constrained liver and gallbladder causing jaundice, damp-heat in the gall bladder and triple heater channels of the face - eyes, nose, sores in the mouth and face.
    • Cools the blood, stops bleeding - nosebleed, blood in vomit, stool, urine; (needs to partially charred).
    • Topically for blood stasis due to trauma, reduces swelling.

  • Contraindications
    • Avoid in patients with loose stools and/or loss of appetite due to cold from deficiency.