Formulations that treat acne are generally based on Pi Pa Qing Fei Yin (Eriobortya Formula to Clear Heat from the Lung) from the Golden Mirror of Medicine, 1742, mainly due to the versatile nature of the major ingredient: Eriobotrya leaf (pi pa ye). This herb, the leaf of the loquat tree, clears Heat and Phlegm from the Lung and Stomach. In addition it sends the Qi downwards and thus stops pathogenic Heat from rising up to the face. In order to cover the additional pathologies of Heat Toxin and Blood stasis, which appear in the more severe forms of this disorder, several modifications have been made.
The combination of Lonicera flower (jin yin hua) and Forsythia fruit (lian qiao) clear Heat Toxin from the skin and are supported by Scutellaria root (huang qin), Rehmannia root (sheng di huang) and Gardenia fruit (shan zhi zi). Scutellaria not only clears Heat Toxin in the upper body, it also has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic actions. Rehmannia cools the Blood and has a moistening action on the skin. Gardenia promotes the discharge of Heat through the urine. Salvia root (dan shen) and red Paeonia root (chi shao) are included to help prevent scarring due to their Blood activating and stasis dispelling actions. In addition, they are also cooling and assist the other herbs to reach their target by promoting microcirculation.
Finally, several herbs have a demonstrated anti-lipemic action and some of these have been found useful in treating skin disorders that are characterised by an excess of oily secretions, such as acne. The ones that are used in this formula are: Crataegus fruit (shan zha), Salvia root (dan shen), Lonicera flower (jin yin hua) and Glycyrrhiza root (gan cao).