Huang Lian - Coptis Rhizome

TCM Materia Medica

Huang Lian TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "huang lian" which in english is Huang Lian herb"coptis rhizome", is categorized within the "herbs that clear heat and dry dampness" 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: 1.5-9g

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

  • Drains fire, relieves toxicity - high fever, irritability, disorientation, delirium, painful, red eyes, red tongue, sore throat, boils, carbuncles, abscesses.
  • Clears heat, drains dampness - for damp-heat in the stomach or intestine, diarrhea or dysenteric disorder, vomiting and/or acid regurgitation due to stomach heat.
  • Clears heart fire - irritability, insomnia.
  • Clears heat and stops bleeding - nosebleed, blood in the urine, stool, vomiting due to hot blood.
  • Topically for red, painful eyes and ulcerations of the tongue and mouth.

Huang Lian may potentially be used, in coordination with a well tailored formula (in most cases), to influence the following conditions: delirium, diarrhea, fever, furuncles (boils), insomnia, irritability, sore throat and/or vomiting

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, huang lian is generally included in the following 11 formulas:

ViewAn Gong Niu Huang Wan (Calm The Palace Pill With Cattle Gallstone)

Resuscitates, clears heat, calms shen, and expels phelgm - coma arising from stroke, convulsions, loss of consciousness.

ViewBan Xia Xie Xin Wan (Pinellia Drain Epigastrium Pills)

Distension and fullness of the epigastrium usually without pain. Borborygmus (gurgling sounds), and diarrhea if spleen qi is affected. Vomiting with possible dry heaves due to rebellious stomach qi…

ViewHuang Lian Jie Du Wan (Coptis Decoction To Relieve Toxicity)

Clears fire toxins (damp heat, toxic heat, fire) from all three jiaos - formula has an antibiotic function which has a broad range of uses in conditions arising from damp heat in the body.  Acute bac…

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…

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…

ViewJian Pi Wan (Strengthen Spleen Pills)

For stomach and spleen qi deficiency with dampness that has potentially generated mild interior-heat - diarrhea, abdominal pain, poor appetite, epigastric pain. May be used in early pregnancy for mo…

ViewPing Gan Liu Qi Yin Wan (Dang Gui And Pinellia Combination)

Liver qi stagnation with blood deficiency heat - signs of heat, red eyes, possibly anxiety and/or irritability, etc. along with digestive issues such as gastritis, cirrhosis, cholecystitis, hernia.…

ViewPu Ji Xiao Du Wan (Universal Benefit Decoction To Eliminate Toxin)

Acute febrile disorder (wind-heat & damp-phlegm) of the head - strong fever and chills, burning pain of head and face, red and/or swollen eyes, sore throat, aversion to cold, dryness, thirst.  …

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…

ViewXiang Lian Wan (Aucklandia and Coptis Pills)

Diarrhea expecially with bright blood or mucus and foul smelling resuling from damp heat. Nausea, abdominal cramps or bloating, with possible loss of appetite from damp accumulation. Vomitting, hic…

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 …

As noted above, huang lian is within the herbs that clear heat and dry dampness functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... for damp-heat patterns with dysenteric disorders, urinary difficulty or pain, jaundice, furuncles, eczema. bitter and cold - clear heat and drain dampness; avoid in cases of stomach and/or spleen deficiency. often combined with herbs that…)".

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