Xiè Xīn Tāng (Heart Draining Decoction)-泄心汤

From the ‘Interpretation of the Jīn Gùi Yào Lüè’ by Sòng Jiàn-Píng (2009)

I am currently in the process of translating the second volume of the Jīn Guì Fāng Gē Kuò (金贵方歌括) by Chén Xiū-Yuán. I have been so immersed in it lately, that I feel I’ve been neglecting this site, and figured I should work on something to put up. Because of the intense amount of work and dedication this book requires, I figured it would make more sense to translate something I’ve been using as reference, helping myself and others elucidate the deeper meaning behind the formulas discussed in the text. The following is the small section on Xìe Xīn Tāng, for which I recently worked on. I’ve had a bit of a hard time with the line “heart qi insufficiency” (心气不足), as I’ve read several commentaries, including the Qiān Jīn Fāng, which state that this is a typo, and the actual line should read, 心气不定 (heart qi instability/unsettled). Neither one of these still make immediate sense to me, but I am getting closer to understanding what it means and it’s pathological/physiological implications. Since I am still processing and working with this line, I’ll share my thoughts on a later date. I’d love to get other perspectives in the comments section.

[Original Text]  
“(When) heart qì is insufficient, with blood ejection and spontaneous external bleeding, Xiè Xīn Tāng masters it”. (JGYL 17)

Xiè Xīn Tāng also treats sudden turmoil (cholera) disease

Dà Huáng 2 liǎng
Huáng Lián 1 liǎng
Huáng Qín 1 liǎng

Use 3 shēng of water for the three ingredients above, boil until reduced to one shēng, and take in one single dose.

[Comparisons] Heart qì vacuity: In the Qiān Jīn Fāng it is written as heart qì instability/unsettled) (心气不定)

[Presentation] A treatment for patterns of blood ejection and spontaneous external bleeding due to exuberant heat.

[Explanation] Both blood ejection and spontaneous external bleeding are categorized as exuberant heat patterns. The heart stores the shén, and governs the blood vessels. If heart fire is exuberant, it will cause frenetic movement of the blood, which results in blood ejection and spontaneous external bleeding. If the spirit is harassed there will be vexation and disquietude. Xiè Xīn Tāng is the treatment of choice, which clears heat and discharges fire. Within the formula, Huáng Lián and Huáng Qín clear heat, downbear fire, and discharge heat from the heart channel, so heart blood can quiet down on it’s own. Dà Huáng is bitter, cold, downbearing and discharging. It causes the descent of fire qi so blood can be calmed and stop moving frenetically. When these three medicinals are combined, they directly break heat, downbear fire, and stop bleeding.

[Commentary] Xiè Xīn Tāng and Bǎi Yè Tāng both treat blood ejection, however, Bǎi Yè Tāng mainly treats blood ejection due to central qì vacuity cold. Typical signs seen with this presentation are a somber white facial complexion, lassitude of spirit and fatigue, pale tongue body with a white coating, and a vacuous weak pulse. Xiè Xīn Tāng treats blood ejection due to exuberant heat, which is typically accompanied with heart vexation and disquietude, a red complexion, red tongue body, vexation thirst, constipation, a rapid pulse, etc. The two prescriptions above introduce us to two major methods and treatment principles for the treatment of blood ejection. One to warm yáng and restore qì, and one to discharge fire and clear heat in order to stop bleeding. In regards to Xìe Xīn Tāngs’ treatment of blood heat with frenetic movement, bleeding can manifest in several different ways including, vomiting of blood (hematemesis), external bleeding, blood in the urine (hematuria), blood in the stools (hemafecia), etc. which can all be treated quite effectively.

This is a commonly used formula for treating exuberant heat in the three burners, and is used clinically for the congestion of pathogenic-toxic fire and heat causing disorders in either the upper or lower burners, or the exterior or interior. Examples being, the upward harassment of toxic heat causing a red complexion and tongue, ulcerations of the mouth and tongue, tooth swelling and pain, vexation heat, and oppression in the chest, or toxic heat manifesting on the exterior with skin damage due to swollen and toxic sores.

[Case Example] A sixty-year-old female patient presented on April 20, 1994. She has a history of a duodenal ulcer for many years, and has recently been quite fatigued, with unbearable epigastric pain. This morning after eating breakfast, she immediately felt nauseous and had a desire to vomit. Soon after she vomited approximately 300ml of fresh blood, which contained stasis clots but no food from her digestive tract. She has continued to feel nauseous and has been vomiting blood quite frequently up until the time of her consultation. Her tongue was red, with a thin yellow coating, and she had a wiry-slippery-rapid pulse. The diagnosis was blood ejection. The pattern belonged to heat accumulation in the stomach causing frenetic movement of the blood. Treatment involved clearing the stomach, discharging heat, transforming stasis, and stopping bleeding.


Dà Huáng 30g
Huáng Qín 9g
Huáng Lián 9g
Dài Zhě Shí 30g

The medicinals above were to be decocted (and drunk) quickly

After taking the formula, the vomiting of blood stopped, and the epigastric pain decreased. She was continued on two more packages of the formula to clear the remaining pathogens.

(Luó Wèi Dōng: Effective Treatments with Classical Formulas, vol. 4.)

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