TCM Herbs Which Influence the Gall Bladder Channel

Functions and Usage
Chai Hu (Thorowax Root, Bupleurum)
  • Clears shao yang disorders and reduces fever - alternating chills and fever, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, vomiting, stifling sensation in the chest.
  • Relieves liver qi stagnation (often used with Bai Shao) - vertigo, menstrual disorders, chest and flank pain, the most common herb to treat stress, irritability, depression, etc.; also for liver and spleen disharmony - bloating, nausea, indigestion, flank pain.
  • Raises yang qi in spleen and stomach deficiency patterns (often used with Sheng Ma) - prolapsed organ, diarrhea, hemorrhoids.
Chuan Xiong (Szechuan Lovage Root)
  • Invigorate blood, promote movement of Qi - any blood stasis pattern, important for gynecological issues (amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, difficult labor, lochioschesis).
  • Expels wind and alleviates pain - headache (temporal, vertex), dizziness, painful obstructions, skin issues.
  • Headache - moves qi upward and alleviates pain; headaches due to wind, heat, cold, blood deficiency.
Gan Cao (Licorice Root)
  • Tonifies the spleen and augments qi - spleen deficiency w/shortness of breath, fatigue, loose stools (si jun zi tong).
  • Qi and/or blood deficiency w/irregular pluse or palpitations (Zhi Gan Cao Tang).
  • Moistens the lungs and stops cough - heat/cold in the lungs (Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang).
  • Clears heat and toxic fire (raw) - carbuncles, sores, sore throat due to fire toxin (internally or topically).
  • Alleviates pain and stops spasms - abdomen or legs (Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang).
  • Often used to harmonize and/or moderate characteristics of other herbs.
  • Antidote for toxic substances (internally and topically).
Hu Zhang (Bushy Knotweed Root)
  • Invigorates blood and dispels stasis - amenorrhea, wind-damp painful obstruction, traumatic injury.
  • Clears heat and resolves dampness - damp heat jaundice, turbid vaginal discharge.
  • Drains heat, transforms phlegm - cough due to lung heat, constipation.
  • Discharges toxins - burns, carbuncles (topically).
Huang Qin (Baical Skullcap Root, Scutellaria)
  • Clears heat, drains fire, especially from the upper warmer - heat patterns with fever, irritability, thirst, cough, thick, yellow sputum, hot sores and swellings.
  • Clears heat, dries dampness - damp-heat in the stomach or intestines, diarrhea, dysentery; damp warm-febrile disease with fever, stifling sensation in the chest, thirst with no desire to drink; damp-heat in the lower jiao - lin syndrome; damp-heat jaundice.
  • Clears heat, stops bleeding - vomiting and/or coughing of blood, nosebleed, blood in the stool.
  • Clears heat, calms the fetus - restless fetus due to heat.
  • Sedates liver yang rising - headache, irritability, red eyes, bitter taste, flushed face.
Jin Qian Cao (Lysimachia, Whole Plant)
  • Promotes urination, important herb for stone lin syndromes (also helps for other lin types).
  • Clears damp-heat in the liver and gallbladder - jaundice, red, swollen eyes.
  • Reduces toxicity and swelling - snakebit, abscess, traumatic injury.
Lian Qiao (Forsythia Fruit)
  • Clear heat and toxins, dissipates nodules - carbuncles and hot sores, neck lumps.
  • Expel wind-heat - fever, slight chills, sore throat, headache.
Long Dan Cao (Chinese Gentian Root, Gentiana)
  • Drains damp-heat from the liver and gallbladder channels - red, swollen, sore throat, eyes, and/or ears, sudden deafness, jaundice, pain, swelling or dampness in the genital region, or foul smelling vaginal discharge and itching.
  • Clears ascending liver fire - headache, red eyes; liver wind-heat with fever, spasms, convulsions, flank pain.
Mu Xiang (Costus Root)
  • Promotes the movement of Qi, alleviates pain - stagnant qi of the stomach and/or spleen causing lack of appetite, abdominal pain, distention, nausea; liver or gallbladder qi stagnation causing flank pain, distention.
  • Regulates stagnated Qi in the intestines - diarrhea, abdominal pain (common herb to treat tenesmus).
  • Strengthens the spleen and prevents stagnation, used with tonifying herbs to reduce side effects.
Qin Jiao (Gentiana Macrophylla Root)
  • Dispels wind-damp bi and cramping, especially in the extremities, for acute/chronic, cold/hot conditions.
  • Clears deficient heat - fever, steaming bone disorder.
  • Jaundice due to acute damp-heat.
  • Counteracts drying action of other herbs that dispel wind-damp - moistens intestines for dry constipation.
Qin Pi (Bark of Korean Ash Branch)
  • Drains damp-heat - dysentery (bloody).
  • Drains liver fire - eyes with redness, swelling, pain, or the formation of superficial visual obstruction.
  • Clears wind-damp - painful hot obstruction.
Qing Hao (Wormwood)
  • Clears summer heat - fever, headache, dizziness, stifling sensation in the chest.
  • Clears deficient fever - unremitting fever or night fever with no sweating (from blood deficiency or sequel of febrile disease).
  • Cools the blood, stops bleeding - purpuric rash, nosebleed due to heat in the blood.
  • Malarial disorders - alternating fever and chills.
Qing Pi (Green Tangerine Peel)
  • Spreads liver Qi and breaks up stagnation - liver Qi stagnation symptoms such as distention and pain in the chest, breast, and/or hypochondriac regions; hernial pain.
  • Reduces food stagnation - pain in the epigastrium.
  • Dries dampness and transforms phlegm - malarial disorders w/phlegm, dampness, and breast abscesses.
  • Raises blood pressure.
Suan Zao Ren (Sour Jujube Seed)
  • Nourishes heart yin, tonifies liver blood, quiets the spirit - irritability, insomnia, palpitations, anxiety due to blood or yin deficiency.
  • Prevents abnormal sweating - spontaneous sweating, nightsweats.
Tian Zhu Huang (Siliceous Secretions of Bamboo)
  • Clears and transforms phlegm-heat - difficult to expectorate sputum.
  • Clears heat and arrests convulsions - spasms, convulsions due to phlegm-heat, especially in children.
Xia Ku Cao (Selfheal Spike, Prunella)
  • Clears liver and brightens the eyes - ascending liver fire with red, painful, swollen eyes, headache, dizziness (stronger than Mi Meng Hua, Jue Ming Zi, Qing Xiang Zi in clearing heat).
  • Clears heat and dissipates nodules - neck lumps, scrofula, lipoma, goiter, swollen glands due to phlegm fire.
  • Hypertension accompanied by liver fire or yang rising.
Xiong Dan (Bear Gallbladder)
  • Clears heat and alleviates spasms - high fever and convulsions in febrile disease.
  • Topically to relieve fire toxicity, hot skin lesions.
  • Red, painful eyes due to liver fire.
  • Reduces swelling and pain - trauma, sprains, fracture, hemorrhoids.
Yin Chen Hao (Yin Chen Hao Shoots and Leaves)
  • Main herb for Jaundice.
  • Clears damp heat from the liver and gallbladder - relieves jaundice (either damp heat or cold).
  • Clears heat, shao yang syndrome (intermittent fever and chills, bitter taste, stifling sensation in the chest, flank pain, dizziness, nausea).
Yu Mi Xu (Cornsilk)
  • Promotes urination - hot lin, stone lin, edema.
  • Regulates the gallbladder - yin or yang jaundice.
  • Wasting and thirsting disorder.
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey Fried Licorice Root)
  • 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.
Zhu Ru (Bamboo Shavings)
  • Clears and transforms phlegm-heat - thick sputum, stifling sensation in the chest, coughing up blood.
  • Clears heat from the stomach, stops vomiting (good choice for different types including morning sickness), aversion to heat, bad breath, yellow greasy tongue.
  • Cools the blood and stops bleeding - to stop nosebleed and vomiting of blood.