In keeping with the theme of using classical formulas to treat conditions they are not typically indicated for, I offer a translation of an interesting case of infertility treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang (Peach Pit Decoction to Order the Qi). The importance of treating the presentation and not getting too attached to the disease at hand rings true once again.
Liu Du-Zhou’s Clinical Experience in the use of Classical formulas
Journal of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, (Volume 17-5: 1994)
Written by Liu Bao-Hua
On December 20, 1989, a 30 year old female presented at the clinic complaining of an inability to conceive for over four years. She was diagnosed in the gynecology department with primary infertility, and has taken numerous formulas to date without any positive outcomes. Her cycle arrived every forty days or so, and would be complicated by lower abdominal and lumbar pain, scanty flow mixed with clots, and she was easily constipated. Her pulse was slippery-rapid and strong, tongue coat was thin-yellow, and the tongue body was bluish-purple. The diagnosis was binding of heat and blood, with obstruction of the chong and ren vessels, causing difficulty in conceiving.
Treatment principle: Discharge heat, and move static (blood), in order to eliminate the old to make room for the new. A powerful formula needs to be used in order to positively treat this obstinate condition.
The formula used was Tao He Cheng Qi Tang (Peach Pit Decoction to Order the Qi):
Tao Ren 15g
Da Huang 4g
Mang Xiao 4g (added to strained decoction)
Gui Zhi 10g
Zhi Gan Cao 6g
After taking five packages of the formula she reported that her bowels were looser, and she had also discharged relatively copious amounts of black menstrual blood. Her lower abdominal and lumbar pain had settled, and her cycle arrived on schedule. On follow up six months later, she reported that she was indeed pregnant and went on to have a healthy baby girl.
Commentary: Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is basically Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang (Regulate the Stomach and Order the qi decoction) with the addition of Tao Ren, and Gui Zhi. Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang is used to discharge heat, and break binds. Tao Ren is moistening and disinhibiting, and is very good at expelling and eliminating static blood. Combined with Mang Xiao, and Da Huang the action of eliminating static blood and stagnation is strengthened. Gui zhi is used to free and move the defensive qi, following the adage of ‘when the qi moves, the blood will follow’, which will invariably strengthen the overall blood moving effect of the formula. In addition the warm nature of Gui Zhi moderates the cooling nature of both the Mang Xiao and Da Huang.