Shaolin Acute Injury Formula

Here is a translation of an injury formula from the Shaolin Bronze Man Book of Secret Formulas (少林寺秘方銅人簿; Qing Dynasty). I’ll try to post more formula translations from the book as I work through it, and later I’ll talk a little more about this genre of book as well.

This is a basic injury formula for acute injury. As we can see most of the herbs quicken blood, relieve pain and reduce swelling. The formula is decocted in a combination of water and alcohol, which was a common method of preparing trauma formulas that I first learned from Dr. Ping Chan up in the Boston area. I particularly like seeing that same part of the body but different sides (i.e., right and left) get different single herb additions. Dosages are translated as the original, in ‘Qian.’ This makes me nostalgic, as when I was first in practice I would have to write all formulas in Chinese so that patients could go to Chinatown in Boston to have formulas filled. And those pharmacies didn’t take formulas with gram measurements, so I would have to render everything in traditional weight measures! Thanks also to Lorraine Wilcox who helped in the identification of some alternated herb names (it was common in the past to use alternate characters/names for herbs - things weren't as standardized as today).


Initial Stage Injury Formula (with modifications) 初打新傷方

Sheng Di 2 qian, Dang Gui Wei 2 qian, Tao Ren 0.5 qian, Hong Hua 1 qian, Ze Lan 1 qian, Da Huang 1 qian, Jin Bu Huan 0.5 qian, Zi Ran Tong 0.5 qian, Yu Jin 1 qian, Bing Lang 1 qian – decoct in mixture of alcohol and water


  • Head injury – add Chuan Xiong
  • Facial injury – add Bai Ju Hua
  • Eye injury – add Bo He
  • Chest injury – add Jie Geng
  • Left costal injury – add Qing Pi
  • Right costal injury – add Zhi Ke
  • Rib injury at the connection to the spine – add Xu Duan
  • For bleeding – add Hong Hua
  • Heart injury – add Chuan Lian, Mai Dong
  • Lung injury – add Sang Bai Pi, Chuan Bei Mu, Huang Qin
  • Liver and Gallbladder injury – add Long Dan Cao
  • Spleen injury – add Chi Shao
  • Stomach injury – add Bai Dou Kou
  • Small Intestine injury – add Mu Tong
  • Large Intestine injury – add Da Huang, Tao Ren
  • Bladder injury – add Huang Bai, Tong Cao
  • Kidney injury – add Di Gu Pi
  • Ming Men injury – add Mu Dan Pi, Ze Xie
  • Hand/arm injury – add Gui Zhi, Xu Duan
  • Leg injury – add Niu Xi, Xu Duan
  • Upper burner injury – add Da Huang
  • Middle burner injury – add Huang Qin
  • Lower burner injury – add Huang Bai
  • Entire body injury – add Jiu Ceng Ta Tou (i.e., basil), Jing Jie