Cerebrovascular Obstruction: Rhubarb & Leech Combination (Di Dang Tang) as an Anti-Coagulant


Cerebrovascular Obstruction: Rhubarb & Leech Combination (Di Dang Tang)

as an Anti-Coagulant



When TCM doctors prescribe formulas composed by combining plants and insects, patients are often taken aback, because they’re unfamiliar with these treatments. According to TCM Dr. Wen-jun Ceng, Rhubarb & Leech Combination (Di Dang Tang) and other herbal formulas requiring insects with cold properties are excellent anticoagulants, and are thus often used to improve cerebrovascular obstruction and other blood stasis problems. 


As Dr. Wen-jun Tsen points out in a recent hygiene lecture, Rhubarb & Leech Combination (Di Dang Tang) is a famous traditional remedy for blood stasis and stagnation, using ingredients such as leeches (Shui Zhi), Tabanus bivittatus (Meng Chong) and other insect herbs mixed with Rhubarb (Da Huang) and Persica (Tao Ren). When ancient China’s herbalists first observed various leech species suck blood, they noticed anti-coagulation properties when their victim’s wounds weren’t healing, and hence listed leeches as medicinal material with blood breaking properties.  Modern research verified that the hirudin released by leeches indeed have anti-coagulation properties. Although its effectiveness has been clinically proven, a lot of doctors note that, because of its strong scent and smell, many patients are unwilling to drink remedies with leeches.


TCM’s ability to unblock blood vessels has been well-regarded by the field of western medicine, however, in the field of TCM, doctors often warn the public not to use blood breaking medicine without professional supervision; TCM especially effective at activating blood are known as blood breaking medicine.


For the most part, however, people can’t differentiate between activating blood and breaking blood, and scholars believe there is a need to educate the public, to at least prevent individuals from buying and using mass quantities of blood breaking medicine by themselves.  For example, leeches (Shui Zhi), Scirpus (San Leng), Boswellia (Ru Xiang), Myrrha (Mo Yao), Zedoaria (E Zhu), Daemonoropsis (Xue Jie), and Persica (Tao Ren) are more potent at activating blood, so a professional prognosis would be required to see if a patient’s constitution is suitable to use them.


Doctors indicate ”activate blood and resolve stasis” basically means to improve blood circulation, whether through medication that either expands blood vessels or prevents blood platelets from activating. Medication that activate blood and resolve stasis can improve fibrin solubility and regulate blood circulation to improve healing.


However, trained doctors should determine whether medication is required to improve blood circulation. The common practice of self-medicating blood stasis may sometimes work, but side effects often result if a patient’s constitution isn’t suited to use blood breaking medication or if a negative reaction occurs with western medication.

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