Gualou-Tang Improves ‘xiong-bi syndrome.’

△Xiong-bi refers to today's angina. This prescription treats angina and esophagitis or bronchitis. imageⓒAdobeStock_Bits and Splits

The Formula Treats Angina and Symptoms of Angina-like Diseases

By Ju Bong Kang, KMD

Actions and Diagnosis

Gualou-Tang improves the ‘Xiong-bi(胸痹) syndrome’ caused by stuck accumulated phlegm and dysfunction of chest-yang in the chest. So this prescription restores the symptoms due to ‘Xiong-bi’ such as chest compression, chest pain radiating toward the back, shortness of breath, and inability to lie flat, etc.

Xiong-bi refers to today’s angina. This prescription treats not only angina but is also effective in treating symptoms of similar angina, which causes chest pain like angina due to diseases such as esophagitis or bronchitis. However, this prescription is applicable to less urgent symptoms rather than to an emergency. Although there are some Asian Medicine prescriptions for emergency angina symptoms, such as Gualou-Xiebai-Banxia-Tang, Gualou-Xiebai-Baijiu-Tang, Pancong-San, and others yet, in modern times, the treatments or surgeries are always used in urgent cases.

Gualou-Tang can be seen as a combination of three prescriptions treating Xiong-bi and turbid-phlegm(濁痰) in the chest. The constitutional prescriptions and the treating effects are as follows: First, Gualou-Xiebai-Banxia-Tang improves the symptoms caused by Xiong-bi, such as chest pain piercing to the back and not being able to lie down; second, Zhishi-Xuebai-Guizhi-Tang has the functions of activate yang and dissipate stagnancy, dissolve accumulation and remove fullness, so it alleviates stagnated-qi in the heart and hypochondriac adverse-qi; third, Jupi-Zhishi-Shengjiang-Tang improves Xiong-bi, qi-closed feeling in the chest, and shortness of breath, which were caused by qi-accumulation and phlegm-stagnation.

Among the constitutional drugs, Gualoushi has the functions of nourishing the lungs, clearing phlegm, soothing the chest, and dispersing the accumulation of phlegm-heat. It improves Xiong-bi by resolving the stagnation of the phlegm that disturbs the flow of qi in the chest and alleviates chest pain. In aqueous extract of the herb has been made into tablet form used in angina pectoris. In a trial involving 160 cases, 55.5% had ECG improvements, and in cases with chronic coronary insufficiency, 66.3% showed ECG improvements.

Banxia has functions of drying dampness, resolving phlegm, and dispersing accumulation. It corrects the adversely rising qi and improves fullness and flatulence of the chest. The Gualoushi nourishes and resolves phlegm and the Banxia drys and resolves phlegm, and the two complement each other and become monarch drugs.

Guizhi warms the channel, activates yang, makes qi flow, and induces diuresis. The function of warming the channel and active yang promotes stagnant yang-qi, makes qi flow and induces diuresis, causing stagnant dampness-phlegm to be excreted through the urine.

Houpo warms the middle energizer, keeps the adverse qi downwards, dries dampness, and eliminates phlegm. It restores the symptoms that a feeling of fullness and oppression in the chest and abdomen, distention and pain, dyspepsia, dyspnea and cough, etc.

Xiebai activates yang, promotes qi circulation and disperses the phlegm accumulation in the upper energizer. The herb benefits expelling cold-evil and turbid-phlegm which were caused by yang-qi failing to be prosperous in the chest. These are minister drugs.

Chenpi regulates qi and eliminates dampness and phlegm. Jiegeng disperses the lung and eliminates phlegm. Zhishi breaks the stagnation of qi, removes phlegm and dissipates fullness and oppression. Shengjiang stops vomit, alleviates phlegm, and detoxicates the toxicity of Banxia. These work as adjuvant drugs.


  • Angina and symptoms of angina-like diseases.
  • Cardiac asthma, bronchial asthma, esophagitis, thoracic disc disease, pleurisy, and others pertaining to angina.

Differential Diagnosis

  • Zhisuo-Erchen-Tang, which is used when chest pain, similar to angina, occurs due to gastritis, stomach cramps, and esophagitis.
  • Gualoxiebai-Banxia-Tan: The formula is used to treat symptoms that are worse and more urgent than Gualou-Tang. Even though the patient wants to sleep at night, impossible to lie down on the floor and groan due to chest-piercing pain.
  • Pancong-San: I have seen an Asian Medicine Doctor who treated himself by by taking Pancong-san continuously.