Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is one of the most famous and frequently used formulas in Traditional Chinese medicine. It is also known as Six Flavor Tea Pills, Liu Wei Di Huang Pian, rehmannia six, YinVive™, Liuwei Dihuang Wan, Six Ingredient Pill with Rehmannia, Six Flavor Rehmanni, and so on. It is so popular that nearly all Chinese have heard this name. Traditionally, it is used for vertigo, insomnia, tinnitus, weakness in the knees, poor hearing, poor eyesight, night sweats, heat in the five, weakness and soreness of the loins, and more. Today, it is also used to treat coronary heart disease, diabetes, Addison’s disease, low adrenals, menopause, hypertension, infertility, impotence, and so on. For that reason, some people, especially middle-aged and older men and post-menopausal women, tend to use it for a long time to help boost libido and stay young. However, it is worth mentioning that this formula is not for everyone.
What is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan?
This earliest version of this Chinese Medicinal Formula is Jin Kui Shen Qi Wan, which comes from The Shanghan Lun or Shanghan Zabing Lun (the Treatise on Cold Injury), a classic medicinal literature compiled by Zhang Zhongjing about 2000 years ago at the end of the Han dynasty. Qian Yi, a royal physician in the Northern Song Dynasty, believed that kidney determines the growth and development of people, emphasizing the importance of reinforcing and reducing at the same time. So, in order to replenish Yin due to the Yin insufficiency of the kidney, according to his theory Qian Yi changed Jin Kui Shen Qi Wan slightly and created a 6-ingrediet formula, which is later known as Liuwei Dihuang Wan. And it consists of Rehmanniae Radix (Shu Di Huang), Corni Fructus (Shan Zhu Yu), Dioscoreae Rhizoma (Shan Yao), Alismatis Rhizoma (Ze Xie), Poria (Fu Ling), and Paeoniae suffruticosa Cortex (Mu Dan Pi).
Chinese medicine believes that the kidneys store congenital essence, which is the foundation of Zang Fu (Yin / Yang) organs and the source of life. So, the kidneys are associated with “the gate of Vitality” or “Ming Men” in TCM. In this prescription, Shu Di Huang is the principal drug for enriching yin and nourishing kidney, Shan Zhu Yu for nourishing both liver and kidney, Shan Yao for strengthening spleen and benefiting vital Qi, Ze Xie for reducing dampness in the kidney, Mu Dan Pi for clearing liver fire, and Fu Ling for resolving spleen dampness.
What is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan good for?
First of all, it’s important to note that it is not an elixir although it is a versatile Chinese patent medicine. According to incomplete statistics, this prescription involves 137 conditions in a variety of literature. The most common uses are to help suboptimal health status, boost immune system, and delay aging. This is why so many people take it as supplements for a long time in order to improve health. At the same time, as a therapeutic drug it is good for hypertension, diabetes, menopausal syndrome and other diseases too.
As a typical formula for insufficient liver and kidney yin in TCM, it is commonly used in various diseases due to liver and kidney yin deficiency. In recent years, it has been used for a variety of chronic diseases and difficult diseases and the result is quite positive.
1. Silicosis. According to reports, when it is combined with tetrandrine (100mg 3 times / day) for 2 months, it significantly improves cough, expectoration, chest pain and dyspnea in patients with silicosis. Besides, by doing so it still decreases the risk of colds and bronchial infection by 52.94%.
2. Chronic rhinitis. It can be used to treat chronic rhinitis too. Usually the patients should take it twice a day and continue for at least 2 months to see big improvement.
3. Allergic rhinitis. It can enhance cellular immune mechanisms, promote the synthesis of immune globulin, inhibit the formation of antibodies, inhibit allergic reactions, and play a two-way regulation. It works even better when combined with sodium cromoglycate.
4. Recurrent respiratory tract infections in pediatric patients. Some TCM practitioners ever used it to treat 60 cases of children with recurrent respiratory tract infection and the results were satisfactory. Besides, it has been observed that it significantly impacts the children’s immune function and trace element levels.
5. Recurrent aphthous ulcers. Taking it 2 to 3 times a day for 3 to 5 days can help treat recurrent aphthous ulcers. And the patient won’t relapse easily after treatment.
6. Xerostomia. It works for the elderly who are suffering from dry mouth, especially when there are no other primary diseases.
7. Mild to moderate hypertension. 38 cases of mild to moderate hypertension were randomly divided into two groups. While one group was treated with Liuwei Dihuang Wan along with Compound Danshen Tablet, the other group was given nifedipine and vitamin E. As a result, 90.9% participants saw drop in blood pressure in the first group, compared to 87.5% in second group.
8. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding. It has a certain therapeutic effect for patients with glucocorticoid-induced chronic gastrointestinal bleeding.
9. Nephrotic syndrome. It is good for nephrotic syndrome too. Usually a course of treatment (20 days) will significantly improve symptoms, signs and proteinuria.
10. Chronic nephritis. It treats both acute and chronic nephritis, but it has better effect for the latter, especially in patients with high blood pressure or edema too. Usually 1 course of treatment (1 month) can help eliminate proteinuria and edema, and promote the recovery of renal function.
11. Prostatitis. According to clinical reports, it is a highly effective treatment for patients with chronic prostatitis patients. Usually 10 days are a course of treatment.
12. Male infertility. It can act on the hypothalamus – pituitary – gonadal axis, improve sex hormone secretion, promote the normal sperm production, and thereby increase the success rate for getting pregnant.
13. Drug-induced leukopenia. It treats granulocytopenia caused by clozapine, anti-thyroid drugs and chemotherapy.
14. Toxic side effects of chemotherapy drugs. When used as adjuvant treatment, it can help achieve satisfactory result in enhancing the effect of chemotherapy drugs while reducing their toxic side effects. The method is to take it from the first day of chemotherapy, 9 grams each time, 3 times a day, and 20 days as 1 course of treatment.
15. Diabetes. Those who have pre-diabetes or even mild diabetes are very controllable with diet in some cases. Besides, Liuwei Dihuang Wan can help lower blood sugar and urine sugar and improve symptoms too.
16. Menopausal syndrome. Usually taking it for 3 months can help patients to improve flushing, hot flashes, sweating, palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms.
17. Cerebral hemorrhage sequelae. It has good therapeutic efficacy for patients with sequelae from cerebral hemorrhage, such as trouble with speaking and understanding, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, and so on.
18. Senile dementia. It has obvious antioxidant effect that is good for senile dementia. Related animal experiments show that it can improve learning and memory disorders and help to enhance memory. And clinical trials confirmed that it improves amnesia and senile dementia to some extent.
19. Fatigue syndrome. It helps mental fatigue, dizziness, loss of appetite, sleep loss and disturbed sleep, emotional instability, concentration difficulty, forgetfulness, memory problems, slow thinking, and the like.
20. Rheumatoid arthritis. It can replace glucocorticoid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In other words, it helps avoid the side effects of glucocorticoids.
21. Wrinkles. It has potent properties of strengthening kidney yin and helps the production of SOD (superoxide dismutase), one of the body’s most powerful natural antioxidant enzymes. Since SOD can turn the superoxide ions that caused aging into harmless substances, it delays the aging of the human body to help people stay young.
22. Chronic Pruritus in the Elderly. The pathogenesis of this disease is mainly associated with dysfunction of sebaceous gland, lack of sebum and degradation of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function. The good news is that Liuwei Dihuang Wan is good at nourishing kidney yin, enhancing androgen secretion, exciting gonadal axis, slowing down the sebaceous gland atrophy, relieving skin dryness and so on.
23. Premature aging. It helps blotchy hyperpigmentation, premature graying of hair, increased wrinkle formation, dry texture and other symptoms of premature aging.
24. Hair loss. As mentioned above, the Kidney system is considered the foundation of the body’s energy in TCM. And kidney governs the hair on the head. That’s to say, hair loss is related to the state of the kidney and an outward sign of poor kidney health inside. So, kidney yin deficiency will fail to supply a regular supply of key nutrients to hair and cause thinning hair and hair loss.
25. Vitiligo. The disease is an acquired loss of skin color in blotches. Liuwei Dihuang Wan nourishes kidneys and liver, tonifies blood and essence, and moisturizes and lightens skin. Modern studies suggest that this formula activates tyrosine activity, accelerates the production of tyrosine-catalyzed melanin and promotes melanoma cell division and movement by improving the body’s cellular immunity. By doing so, it restores color to the white patches of skin.
26. Systemic lupus erythematosus. This is an autoimmune disease characterized by the production of unusual antibodies in the blood. Liuwei Dihuang Wan can be a good option during stable stage and a reduction in the corticosteroid dose. This is mainly because it is able to strengthen healthy energy while fostering root, nourish kidney yin, improve immune system function, reduce “Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome” or “rebound effect” and some other adverse reactions, help reduce the amount of hormones, and relieve negative feedback inhibition by adrenal glucocorticoids.
27. Low alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. AFP is a tumor marker. Continuously elevated or decreased AFP blood levels can be found in certain tumors, especially hepatocellular carcinoma, or primary liver cancer, and some types of testicular and ovarian cancer. Long-term consumption of Liuwei Dihuang Wan can greatly reduce the incidence of liver cancer.
28. Eye diseases. It can help patients with senile cataracts to significantly improve vision, blurred vision, lens opacity and other symptoms. In addition, it also has a certain effect on treating traumatic corneal ulcer, Posner-Schlossman Syndrome (PSS), and so on.
29. Riehl’s melanosis. As a photocontact dermatitis, Riehl melanosis is characterized by initial erythema, edema, pruritus, and followed hyperpigmentation. The pigmentation will gradually spread and then becomes stationary in the end. TCM believes that the pathogenesis of Riehl melanosis is related to deficient kidney yin. So, this is where Liuwei Dihuang Wan comes in.
30. Chloasma. It is also known as melasma, facial pigmentation, and the mask of pregnancy. Chloasma is associated with endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases, oral administration of certain drugs and pregnancy. There is no specific therapy so far. Luckily, Liuwei Dihuang Wan can be a good choice for the treatment of melasma.
Side effects of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan
1. It is for those with obvious symptoms of kidney yin deficiency, which is manifested as weakness and soreness of the knees and the loins, hot palms of hands and soles of feet, dizziness, tinnitus, hot flashes, night sweats, dry mouth and throat, nocturnal emission, premature ejaculation, etc. Although this formula tonifies kidney, long-term use may cause abdominal fullness or bloating, diarrhea, loss of appetite and so on in even healthy people who have not the above-mentioned symptoms.
2. It is not for those with obvious kidney and spleen yang deficiency, which is manifested as pale complexion, physical weakness, feeling of being cold without an apparent cause, and so on. For example, it will worsen erectile dysfunction due to kidney yang deficiency. In this case, another formula like Gui Fu Di Huang Wan would make more sense.
3. It is not for those with kidney yin deficiency have abnormal function in spleen and stomach. As mentioned previously, this formula mainly focuses on invigorating yin. Unfortunately, yin-natured ingredients tend to weaken the digestive function. So, caution should be taken for the elderly in long-term and continuous use of this prescription.
If Liu Wei Di Huang Wan has been used for two weeks and the improvements are minimal, it may not be the right therapy. In this case, it is a good idea to visit a qualified TCM practitioner and let him or her assess the state of health and then carry out symptomatic treatment.