Chinese Herbal Medicine (TCM)

Formulas that relieve superficial/exterior

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Formulas that relieve superficial/exterior


Pungent, warm

Gui Zhi Tang – releases Wind/Cold from muscle layer, regulates Ying & Wei

Gui Zhi Tang - Shang Han Lun


Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)…9g

Shao Yao (Radix Paeoniae)…9g

Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens)…9g

Da Zao (Fructus Zizyphi Jujubae)…12 dates

Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…6g


Indications:  Fever and chills with sweat although not relieved by sweating, aversion to wind, stiff neck and muscles, headache, nasal congestion, T- thin white moist coat, P- floating


Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang – releases external dampness (with Wind/Cold), clears internal Heat,

Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang - Ci Shi Nan Zhi


Qiang Huo (Radix and Rhizoma Notopterygii)…4.5g

Fang Feng (Radix Ledebouriellae Divaricatae)…4.5g

Cang Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodiis)…4.5g

Xi Xin (Herba cum Radice Asari)…1.5g

Chuan Xiong (Radix Ligustici Chuanxiong)…3g

Bai Zhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae)…3g

Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae)…3g

Sheng Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Glutinosae)…3g

Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…3g

***To increase the diaphoretic action of this formula add:

Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens), & Cong Bai (Bulbus Allii Fistulosi)


Indications: more chills than fever, no sweat, stiff neck, generally achy body, headache, bitter taste in mouth, T- white coat, P- floating


Ma Huang Tang – releases exterior cold, promotes Lung function, arrests wheezing, Taiyang stage

Ma Huang Tang - Shang Han Lun


Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)…9g

Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)…6g

Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae)…9-12g

Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…3g


Indications: Chills predominant over fever, no sweat, generalized body aches, headache, wheezing, T- thin white coat (not effected), P- floating tight, skin may be warm to the touch

*Note, this is the mother formula to many others dealing with Wind in the Lungs (i.e. Xiao Qing Long Tang, San Ao Tang, Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang)


Xiao Qing Long Tang – releases Cold-Phlegm fluids from Lung, directs rebel Qi downwards

Xiao Qing Long Tang - Shang Han Lun


Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)…9g

Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)…9g

Gan Jiang (dried Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis)…9g

Xi Xin (Herba cum Radice Asari)…9g

Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis)…9g

Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Laciflorae)…9g

Ban Xia (Rhizoma Pinelliae Ternatae)…9g

Zhi Gan Cao (honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…9g


Indications:  warms the interior to transform congested fluids from chronic Spleen deficiency with Wind/Cold attack, fever and chills (predominant), no sweat, cough, wheezing, copious white sputum that is stringy and difficult to expectorate, chest fullness, general feeling of heaviness, body aches, P- floating tight, may be edema and/or difficulty breathing when lying down (caused by Lung control over water pathways being deficient)



Pungent, cool

Yin Qiao San – disperses Wind/Heat, clears Heat & toxicity

Yin Qiao San - Wen Bing Tiao Bian (dosages commonly used today)


Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae Japonicae)…9-15g

Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae)…9-15g

Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi Grandiflori)…3-6g

Niu Bang Zi (Fructus Arctii Lappae)…9-12g

Bo He (Herba Menthae Haplocalycis)…3-6g

Dan Dou Chi (Semen Sojae praeparata)…3-6g

Jing Jie (Herba Seu Flos Schizonepetae Tenuifoliae)…3-6g

Dan Zhu Ye (Herba Lophatheri Gracilis)…3-6g

Xian Lu Gen (Rhizoma Phragmitis Communis recens)…15-30g

Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…3-6g


Indications:  Wei level warm attack, works on upper Jiao without hurting the mid Jiao, fever with or without slight chills, sore throat, headache, thirst (if heat has injured the fluids), cough, T- normal, may have red tip and/or yellow coating (red tip and yellow coat may show pathogen entering deeper), P- floating rapid


Sang Ju Yin – releases Wind/Heat, promotes Lung function, stops cough

Sang Ju Yin - Wen Bing Tiao Bian


Sang Ye (Floium Mori Albae)…7.5g

Ju Hua ( Flos Chrysanthemi Morifolii)…3g

Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae)…4.5g

Bo He (Herba Menthae Haplocalycis)…2.5g [add near end]

Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi Grandiflori)…6g

Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae)…6g

Lu Gen (Rhizoma Phragmitis Communis)…6g

Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…2.5g


Indications:  Cough, slight fever and thirst (mild exterior Heat), T- normal (pathogen still in exterior), may show Wind and Heat eye disorders, may also manifest in a hacking dry cough from external dryness.


Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang – redirects flow of Lung Qi, calms wheezing, clears Heat

Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang - Shang Han Lun


Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)…12g

Shi Gao (Gypsum)…48g

Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae)…18g

Zhi Gan Cao (honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)…6g


Indications:  fever, may or may not be sweating, wheezing, cough, difficulty breathing, nasal flaring and pain, T- yellow coat, P- slippery rapid.  Heat in the Lungs caused by Wind/Heat or Wind/Cold turned into Heat.  This formula is ‘Ma Huang Tang” with Shi Gao instead of Gui Zhi, thus greatly altering the formula to treat Heat not Cold.




Bai Du San (Ren Shen) – releases exterior, expels Wind & Damp, tonifies Qi

Bai Du San - Xiao Er Yao Zheng Zhi Jue


Qiang Huo (Radix and Rhizoma Notopterygii)…30g

Du Huo (Radix Angelicae Pubescentis)…30g

Chuan  Xiong (Radix Ligustici Chuanxiong)…30g

Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)…30g

Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi Grandiflori)…30g

Zhi Ke (Fructus Citri seu Ponciri)…30g

Qian Hu (Radix Peucendani)…30g

Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng)…30g

Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae Cocos)…30g

Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrizae Uralensis)…15g

***Prepare with a little Bo He and Sheng Jiang if decocting


Indications: high fever and severe chills with shivering, absence of sweating, pain and stiffness in the head and neck, soreness and pain of the extremities, focal distension and chest fullness, nasal congestion with sonorous breathing, productive cough, greasy white tongue coat, floating soft pulse.


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Benskey & Gamble 1993, Chinese Herbal Medicine formulas and strategies, Seattle Washington, Eastland Press Inc.


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