Drain Fire™ Formulae

drain_fire The name of this formula is self-explanatory: it drains (or “clears”) Fire (from the Liver and Heart).


Long Dan Cao Radix Gentianae scabrae
Gou Teng Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis
Ju Hua Flos Chrysanthemi
Sheng Di Huang Radix Rehmanniae recens
Dang Gui Radix Angelicae sinensis
Huang Qin Radix Scutellariae
Lian Zi Xin Plumus Nelumbinis
Yuan Zhi Radix Polygalae
Ze Xie Rhizoma Alismatis
Zhi Zi (Shan) Fructus Gardeniae
Suan Zao Ren Semen Ziziphi spinosae
Che Qian Zi Semen Plantaginis
Gan Cao Radix Glycyrrhizae
Chai Hu Radix Bupleuri

Order Formulae


Liver-Fire, Heart-Fire, Damp-Heat in Upper and Lower Burner.


Drain Liver-Fire, drain Heart-Fire, clear Heat, resolve Dampness, calm the Mind, settle the Ethereal Soul.

Tongue: Red with redder and swollen sides, red points on the sides and tip, yellow coating.
Pulse: Wiry and rapid.

Classical Antecedent

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Differences from Classical Antecedent

Drain Heart-Fire and calm the Mind (which the original formula does not do).

This is an important formula with a wide-ranging application. First of all, it drains Liver-Fire and Heart-Fire. To explain this, we should be clear about the difference between “Fire” and “Heat”. Fire and Heat obviously have the same character but there are important differences between them. Heat is less severe and more superficial than Fire and is “cleared” usually with pungent-cold herbs: the pungent taste pushes Heat outwards towards the surface. An example of a pungent-cold herb is Shi Gao. The method of clearing Heat with pungent cold herbs is adopted in cases of Heat when the pulse is usually Overflowing: this pulse quality indicates that the Heat is quite superficial.

Fire is more intense and deeper than Heat: its depth is reflected by the pulse being deep and full. Fire cannot be pushed out as Heat can, but it must be drained downwards with bitter-cold herbs: whilst the pungent taste pushes Heat outwards, the bitter taste makes Qi descend and drains Fire downwards, usually through the bowel movement. A classic example of a bitter-cold herb to drain Fire is Da Huang which drains Fire through defecation. However, other bitter-cold herbs also drain Fire through defecation (albeit in a less obvious way than Da Huang), e.g. Long Dan Cao and Huang Qin.
Fire has three effects that Heat does not have: it is more drying, it affects the Mind more, and it causes bleeding.

We should therefore be clear that the present formula drains Fire rather than clearing Heat and is applicable only in the presence of

  • A red tongue with a dry yellow coating
  • A wiry, rapid and relatively deep pulse

Apart from its use for Liver-Fire and Heart-Fire, this formula can be used for Damp-Heat in the Upper or Lower Burner.

  • Long Dan Cao is the emperor herb in the formula, draining Liver-Fire and resolving Damp-Heat
  • Huang Qin and Shan Zhi Zi assist Long Dan Cao in draining Fire and resolving Damp-Heat;
  • Che Qian Zi and Ze Xie help to drain Fire and Damp-Heat
  • Dang Gui Shen and Sheng Di Huang nourish Liver-Blood and help to pacify the Liver
  • Chai Hu, messenger herb, directs the formula to the Liver channel
  • I added Suan Zao Ren (Chao) and Yuan Zhi to calm the Mind and settle the Ethereal Soul
  • Huang Ju Hua and Gou Teng (Shuang) were added to subdue Liver-Yang
  • Lian Zi Xin was added to clear Heart-Heat, drain Heart-Fire and calm the Mind

Acupuncturists can pay attention to supporting the Spleen with points such as Ren-12 Zhongwan, ST-36 Zusanli and BL-20 Pishu.

This product is a dietary (food) supplement, as prescribed by a qualified practitioner. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease. Do not take if nursing or pregnant. Not intended to replace a varied diet. Not to be consumed for longer 3 months on a continued basis.