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For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has employed natural remedies to address various health concerns. Among these powerful herbal medicines, Gentiana, commonly known as Long Dan Cao (龍膽草), has gained recognition for its remarkable abilities to address liver and gallbladder imbalances. Its Latin pharmaceutical name is Gentianae Scabrae Radix, and it is also known as ryutan in Japanese.

The Potency of Long Dan Cao

Long Dan Cao's efficacy is attributed to its remarkable properties and tastes. This single-ingredient formula contains 100% Gentiana, which is cold in nature and bitter in taste. The herb predominantly impacts the Gall Bladder, Liver, and Stomach channels, contributing to its widespread use in TCM.

Long Dan Cao's Materia Medica Categories

Long Dan Cao is classified under the Clear Heat chapter of the TCM Materia Medica. Specifically, it falls within the Clear Heat and Dry Dampness section, which highlights its role in treating various TCM patterns.

TCM Patterns and Symptoms Addressed by Long Dan Cao

Long Dan Cao is highly effective in addressing the following TCM patterns:

  1. Liver-Damp Heat
  2. Gall Bladder-Damp Heat
  3. Liver-Fire
  4. Liver-Wind-Heat

These patterns often manifest through symptoms like redness and swelling, irritability, dizziness, bitter taste in the mouth, and headaches. Long Dan Cao's effectiveness in treating these conditions is due to its ability to drain fire and damp heat from the liver and gallbladder.

Treatment Principles of Long Dan Cao

Long Dan Cao works on several treatment principles to restore balance in the body:

  1. Drain Fire from Liver
  2. Drain Fire from Gallbladder
  3. Drain Damp Heat in Liver
  4. Drain Damp Heat in Gallbladder
  5. Pacify the Liver

These principles collectively contribute to alleviating symptoms and promoting overall health.

Usage and Administration

Long Dan Cao is commonly administered as a liquid herbal glycerite. To use, shake the bottle well and add 20-30 drops to a glass of water, tea, or juice, three times a day or as directed by your TCM practitioner. While it is possible to take glycerites directly without diluting them, many people prefer to mix them with a beverage due to their strong taste.


Long Dan Cao is not suitable for everyone. It should not be used in cases of cold from deficiency, spleen deficiency, or stomach cold from deficiency. Consult your TCM practitioner before incorporating Long Dan Cao into your health regimen.


Gentiana, or Long Dan Cao, is a potent traditional Chinese medicine revered for its ability to treat various liver and gallbladder imbalances. By understanding the herb's treatment principles and the TCM patterns it addresses, individuals can harness its remarkable benefits to achieve optimal health. However, it is essential to consult a qualified TCM practitioner before using Long Dan Cao to ensure it is appropriate for your specific condition.

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