It’s Women’s History Month- Let’s talk about Si Wu Tang

We’re celebrating Women’s History Month by featuring formulas for Women!

I always say: Chinese Medicine is God’s gift to women.

I was thinking about the core building block of Blood formulas: Si Wu Tang- Four Substance Decoction.

Four herb formulas- and there are many, highlight the core components of formula architecture:

These four herbs are similar, different, and mutually enhancing. Its core actions are to supplement the blood and regulate the Liver. The entire constellation of blood deficiency signs are indications: dry skin and eyes, lusterless complexion, insomnia, palpitations, irregular or scanty menses. Comprised of Shu Di Huang, Dang Gui, Bai Shao, and Chuan Xiong,

Sweet and warm, Shu Di Huang nourishes the Liver and Kidneys. It tonifies the yin of the blood. Sour, cool, Bai Shao both tonifies the blood but also preserves the yin. Its sour flavor is especially helpful for spasmodic pain. Dang Gui is warm, acrid, and moistening. Its name- State of Return, is profound: it loosens a tight uterus and tightens a loose uterus. It treats the qi within the blood. Historically it was included in cough formulas. My understanding of this is that its antispasmodic properties can also be helpful for bronchospasms. Bai He Gu Jin Tang- Lily Bulb Decoction to preserve the metal is an example of a cough formula that includes dang gui

Finally, Spicy and warm chuan xiong moves the qi within the blood. It’s an essential herb for pain. Its mobile nature counteracts the heavy, cloying nature of shu di and dang gui.

Honestly, this formula is rarely used unmodified. Just for fun, I created a little flow chart. I hope you find it helpful.

Shu Di Huang
Bai Shao
Dang Gui

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