Zhi Gan Cao - Honey Fried Licorice Root

TCM Materia Medica

Zhi Gan Cao TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "zhi gan cao" which in english is "honey fried licorice root", is categorized within the "herbs that tonify qi" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the gall bladder, heart, kidney, large intestine, liver, lung, pericardium, small intestine, spleen, stomach, triple heater and urinary bladder channels and exhibits sweet (gan) and warm (wen) 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: 2-12g

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

  • This preparation increases the qi tonifying aspects of the heart and spleen along with its general harmonizing function within formulas.  See Gan Cao for complete information.

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, zhi gan cao is generally included in the following 22 formulas:

  • Bai Hu Wan (White Tiger Decoction) - In 6 channel theory, Yang ming channel heat or the "4 big…
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  • Ba Zheng Wan (Eight Herb Powder for Rectification) - Painful urination when it arises from damp heat syndrome - …
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  • Ba Zhen Wan (Eight Treasure Combination) - For recovery of qi and blood after acute trauma or accident…
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  • Bu Fei Er Jiao Wan (Tonify the Lungs Formula with Gelatin) - Lung yin deficiency with strong heat signs and/or bleeding …
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  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Formula) - Coldness of the limbs, borborygmus with loose stools or dia…
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  • Chai Hu Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Bupleurum and Cinnamon Twig Decoction) - A combination of gui zhi tang and xiao chai hu tang - toget…
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  • Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan (Bupleurum Powder to Spread the Liver) - Liver qi stagnation signs - hypochondriac tension, abdomina…
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  • Er Chen Wan (Two Aged Herbs) - The primary base formula to resolve phlegm damp, particular…
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  • Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan (Aconite Regulate Middle Pills) - Spleen yang deficiency resulting in coldness of the limbs a…
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  • Gui Pi Wan (Restore the Spleen Formula) - The formula is used to tonify both the spleen and heart whi…
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  • Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Cinnamon Twig Decoction) - Gan Mao (wind-cold) - Common cold or flu (or related illnes…
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  • Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan (Agastache Powder to Correct the Qi) - Acute flu or cold symptoms including fever, aversion to col…
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  • Ping Gan Liu Qi Yin Wan (Dang Gui And Pinellia Combination) - Liver qi stagnation with blood deficiency heat - signs of…
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  • Ren Shen Yang Rong Wan (Ginseng Decoction to Nourish the Nutritive Qi) - Tonifies both qi and blood and nourishes the heart and calm…
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  • Shao Yao Gan Cao Wan (Peony and Licorice Decoction) - Cramping and/or muscle spasms that are due to fluid deficie…
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  • Si Jun Zi Tang Wan (Four Gentlemen Teapills) - General qi tonification formula - weak extremities, lassi…
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  • Si Ni San Wan (Frigid Extremities Powder Pills) - Important formula for liver qi stagnation - manifesting as …
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  • Si Ni Tang Wan (Frigid Extremities Formula) - Aversion to cold, very cold limbs, sensations of deep cold,…
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  • Wen Dan Wan (Warm the Gallbladder Formula) - Anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other shen disturbances …
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  • Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Wan (Aucklandia, Amomi & Six Gentlemen Pills) - A modified version of the base, zhi zhu wan, which is used …
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  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan (Minor Bupleurum Decoction) - Shao Yang Syndrome (or "lesser yang stage") - alternating f…
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  • Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer) - Depression, anxiety, loss of motivation - resulting from li…
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    As noted above, zhi gan cao is within the herbs that tonify qi functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

    (truncated intro "... herbs in this category are generally sweet and rich. they are most often combined with herbs that move and regulate the qi. )".

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