Da Huang - Rhubarb

TCM Materia Medica

Da Huang TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "da huang" which in english is Da Huang herb"rhubarb", is categorized within the "herbs that drain downward" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the heart, large intestine, liver and stomach channels and exhibits bitter (ku) and cold (han) taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 3-12g
  • Raw has a more purging effect
  • Wine/Vinegar mix has a more blood invigorating effect
  • Charred will treat bleeding disorders

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Drains heat and purges accumulations - high fever, profuse sweating, thirst, constipation, abdominal distention and pain, delirium, yellow tongue coating, full pulse which indicates intestinal heat excess or yang ming stage illness.
  • Drains heat from the blood - blood in the stool from bleeding hemorrhoids or heat in the intestine; vomting blood or nosebleed accompanied by constipation; painful eyes or fire toxin sores due to heat in the blood level.
  • Drains damp-heat via the stool - jaundice, dysentery, lin syndrome.
  • Invigorates the blood and dispels blood stasis - amenorrhea, abdominal masses, fixed pain due to blood stasis (recent and long-term blood stasis).
  • Clears heat and reduces fire toxicity - for burns, hot skin.

Da Huang has some precautions to be considered (see our precautions list).

  • Avoid During Pregnancy and During Nursing
  • Avoid in exterior disorders and deficiency of qi and/or blood

Da Huang may potentially be used, in coordination with a well tailored formula (in most cases), to influence the following conditions: abdominal pain, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), constipation, deafness (hearing loss), delirium, fever, jaundice and/or sweat problems

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, da huang is generally included in the following 18 formulas:

ViewBa Wei Dai Xia Fang (Eight Herb Powder for Vaginal Discharge)

Clearing damp heat in the lower warmer, particularly with underlying blood deficiency - vaginal disharge, vaginal itching, vaginal inflammation along with constipation, possibly anemia, low back pain…

ViewBa Zheng Wan (Eight Herb Powder for Rectification)

Painful urination when it arises from damp heat syndrome - urinary tract infections, leukorrhea, cystitis. Prostatitis when from damp heat.

ViewChai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Wan (Bupleurum, Dragon Bone, and Oyster Shell Formula)

Palpitations, anxiety, restlessness, agitation/irritibility, and insomnia from heat due to liver yang or fire. Mental disorders such as including biopolar and schizophrenia resulting from distrubed …

ViewChu Kou Wei Wan (Chu Kou Wei Wan)

Acid reflux and/or burning sensation in the epigastrium, throat, or mouth from stomach fire. Ulcers, sores, or other types of abcess in the mouth due to persistent stomach heat. Constant sense of h…

ViewDa Huang Mu Dan Pi Wan (Rhubarb and Moutan Combination)

Breaks up heat, moves blood stagnation and reduces swelling, release through the bowels - appendicitis, lower abdominal distension with pain, intestinal abscesses, hemorrhoids. Post surgical infecti…

ViewHuang Lian Shang Qing Wan (Coptis Clearance Pill)

Dispels wind heat, clear toxic heat - generally used short-term for inflammatory conditions of the face, mouth, head - sore throat, conjunctivitis, acne, swollen gums. Can be a supportive formula fo…

ViewHui Chun Wan (Recovery Special Pill)

Most often used for childhood convulsions (possibly with wheezing, nausea, nighttime crying, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive mucus/saliva) or other conditions that involve fever, impaired or loss of …

ViewJiang Tang Wan (Lower Blood Sugar Pill)

Nourish the yin and tonify qi with particular emphasis on diabetes (primarily type II, but in some cases type I would benefit as well) when the underlying tcm diagnosis fits.  Symptoms may include st…

ViewLi Dan Wan (Benefit The Gallbladder Pills)

A range of gallbladder, liver and related digestive/obstructive issues - clears damp heat from the liver and gall bladder in TCM terms.  Symptoms may include gallstones and/or a range of digestive is…

ViewMa Zi Ren Wan (Hemp Seed Formula)

Constipation with dry/difficult to expel stools along with frequent urination. Pulse will be submerged and rapid or floating and choppy and the Tongue will have a dry, yellow coating.

ViewNei Xiao Luo Li Wan (Internally Reducing Cervical Lymphadenitis Pills)

Phlegm obstructions - generally benign masses, lumps, swellings such as lymph nodules, breast cysts, thyroid nodules, goiter, ovarian cysts, fibroids, etc. If used, it may often be combined with dee…

ViewQing Bi Wan (Clear The Nose Decoction)

Sinus issues arising from damp-heat pattern in Chinese Medicine - yellow and sticky discharge, sinusitis, rhinitis acute or chronic. Sinus headache, decreased olfactory sense.  

ViewRun Chang Wan (Lubricate the Intestines Pills)

Constipation primarily from blood and/or yin deficiency patterns.   Dryness of the skin, nails, and/or hair.

ViewSan Huang Xie Xin Wan (Drain The Epigastrium Decoction)

Damp-heat excess with interior climbing - fever, restlessness, red eyes, constipation, possibly in severe cases delirium from high fever. A range of digestive/epigastric issues from damp-heat - ga…

ViewTong Bian Wan (Constipation Pills)

Constipation from heat or fire that has damaged the yin fluids - dry hard pellet like stools, dark urine from dryness, feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen, flatulence (generally with a foul smel…

ViewXie Xin Wan (Drain the Epigastrium Formula)

Signs of damp-heat with interior clumping which may settle into the abdominal region and/or rise upward to the head.  Fever, irritability, red eyes, constipation, dark urine, flushed face - middle …

ViewYin Chen Hao Wan (Artemisiae Scopariae Decoction)

Used for a range of liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders arising from damp heat.  Symptoms such as jaundice, urinary difficulty, nausea, bloating and more. Western conditions could be cirrhos…

ViewYi Zi Wan (Decoction B)

Hemorrhoids and/or constipation from an accumulation of damp-heat and toxins in the lower jiao - possibly bleeding hemorrhoids, pain, rectal prolapse, anal itching. With the right underlying factors…

As noted above, da huang is within the herbs that drain downward functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... purgatives - constipation from interior-heat or interior-cold (both are interior excesses). moist laxatives - often nuts or seeds, lubricates the intestines; mild in nature - elderly or weakness from febrile disease or from child birth. h…)".

All Content 1999-2022
Chad J. Dupuis / Yin Yang House
Our Policies and Privacy Guidelines
Our Affiliated Clinics