This tincture is based on a formula created by De Xi-fang at the Nanchang Hongdu Chinese Medical Hospital called Hong Song Yao Jiu (Carthamus & Nardostachys Medicinal Wine).

Moves the qi, quickens the blood, and stops pain.

Isopropyl alcohol
Hong Hua (Flos Carthami)
Gan Song Xiang (Rhizoma Nardostachytis)

Method of Use
Apply externally to the site of pain. For best results, combine with an external heat source, such as a TDP lamp, hot water bottle, heating pad, or indirect moxibustion with a moxa roll.


Formula Rationale
Hong Hua ( Flos Carthami ) is a blood-quickening medicinal. It quickens the blood and transforms stasis. Hong Hua is a commonly used medicinal in liniments and tinctures for both traumatological and impediment pain conditions. Gan Song Xiang ( Rhizoma Nardostachytis ), i.e., Chinese Spikenard, is an acrid, sweet, and warm, aromatic, dampness-drying medicinal. However, despite its most common categorization, its main functions are that it rectifies the qi and stops pain. Only secondly does it arouse the spleen and clear away turbidity (when taken internally). In terms of its pain-stopping ability, this medicinal is commonly applied externally. Gan Song Xiang is a member of the  Valerianaceae family. Like Valerian, this medicinal has pronounced sedative and anodyne effects.

When Hong Hua and Gan Song Xiang are combined together, Gan Song Xiang moves the qi and Hong Hua moves the blood. In addition, alcohol enters all the channels and network vessels where it strongly moves the qi and quickens the blood. Alcohol also potentizes the medicinal effects of other  ingredients combined with it. Therefore, the alcohol in this medication is both a medium and an active ingredient in its own right.

The central saying about pain in Chinese medicine is:
If there’s free flow, there is no pain.
If there is no free flow, there is pain.

Therefore, in Chinese medicine, every type of pain is due to some sort of non-free flow. Within Chinese medicine, the two main things which might not be freely flowing are qi and blood. Non-free flow of the qi leads to distention, intermittent or movable pain, and gripping or cramping pain. Nonfree flow of the blood leads to more intense, localized, sharp, stabbing pain. Because the qi and blood move together, if one becomes stagnant or static, so must the other. Since fluids are moved by and flow with the blood, stagnation of qi and blood stasis will also be commonly accompanied by swelling. Since qi is yang and, therefore, warm in nature, qi accumulation may transform into heat or  inflammation.  Hence it is easy to see that the two main principles in Chinese medicine for treating any kind of pain are to move the qi and quicken the blood. Once the qi and blood are flowing freely again  through an area, pain automatically disappears. It is axiomatic in Chinese medicine that, “If there’s free flow, there is no pain.”

De Xi-fang has done a study of 525 patients suffering from such diverse types of pain as tennis elbow, lumbar vertebral hyperplasia, lumbar disk protrusion, osteoarthritis arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,  dysmenorrhea, and stomach and duodenal ulcers treated with this tincture. In that study, the total  amelioration rate in terms of the relief of pain was 88.8%. In those whose pain was caused by  traumatological injury, the total effectiveness rate was 98.0%. In those with periarthritis of the  shoulder, it was 82.0%; in those with lumbar hyperplasia, it was 85.0%; and in those with  dysmenorrhea, it was 77.8%. When this formula is used by Dr. De, he applies an external heat  source over the affected area after the medicinal tincture has been applied.

1 De Xi-fang, “The Clinical Uses of Channel Point Flapping Fire Treatment Method,” Jiang Xi Zhong Yi Yao (Jiangxi Chinese Medicine & Medicinals), #4, 2000, p. 41
2 Hsu Hong-yen et al., Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide, Oriental Healing Arts Institute, Long Beach, CA 1986, p. 394-395
3 Pharmacopeia Commission of the Ministry of Public Health, A Coloured Atlas of Chinese Materia Medica Specified in Pharmacopeia of the Peoples Republic of China, Joint Publishing Co., Ltd., Hong Kong, 1996,p.105
4 De Xi-fang, op. cit., p. 41

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