Pharmaceutical Latin: Radix Kansui
Common English: Kan-Sui Root
Sweet Spurge Root
Downward-Draining Herbs: Harsh Expellants (Cathartics)
Taste Temperature Entering Meridians Dosage
Large Intestine
Powder: 0.3-1g
Tincture: 0.25-0.1ml (6-25 drops)
Actions Indications/Syndromes

Drains water downward and eliminates congested fluids and thin mucus

Severe accumulation of fluid in the chest and abdomen

Generalized edema, ascites, hydrothorax, facial edema and abdominal distention

Expels Phlegm

Epilepsy due to Phlegm Blocking the Heart Orifices

Seizures from Wind-Phlegm

Withdrawal mania from recalcitrant Phlegm congealing and clumping

Clears Heat, reduces swelling and disperses hardenings

Swollen, painful, nodular Damp-Heat skin lesions (topical-appropriate for early stages, with oral ingestion of herbs that clear Heat and resolve toxicity)

  • Contraindicated during pregnancy.
  • Use only for ascites or other severe patterns of Excess in robust patients.
  • Sensitive patients should take this herb only in capsules or with Fr. Jujube Da Zao.
  • Use of this herb should be alternated with Qi tonics, to prevent exhaustion of Qi.
  • Use only for a short time.
  • Incompatible with Rx. Glycyrrhizae Gan Cao.
  • Antagonizes Rx. Polygalae Yuan Zhi.

Rx. Euphorbiae Pekinensis
Hong/Jing Da Ji
Flos Genkwa
Yuan Hua

Rx. et Rz. Rhei
Da Huang
Cx. Magnoliae Officinalis
Hou Po
Sm. Persicae
Tao Ren

Rx. Phytolaccae
Shang Lu

Suspended, thin mucus clogging up the chest and hypochondria with cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and hard focal distention in the epigastrium

Intestinal obstruction

Strongly expel water, eliminate plugged accumulation and unblock the water pathways to to treat edema in the Upper, Middle and Lower Jiaos,

Edema in the abdomen or limbs and ascites (use very cautiously)

Rx. et Rz. Rhei
Da Huang
Dai Zhe Shi
Rz. Pinelliae Preparatum
Zhi Ban Xia

Sm. Sinapis
Bai Jie Zi
Rx. Euphorbiae Pekinensis
Hong/Jing Da Ji


Rx. et Rz. Rhei
Da Huang

Withdrawal-mania from recalcitrant Phlegm congealing and clumping

Seizures and epilepsy due to Phlegm Stagnation

Blockage of thin mucus and Phlegm in the chest and diaphragm with sudden excruciating pain in the thorax, neck and lower back

Topically for ulcerations, swellings, and mumps

As a decoction for accumulation of fluids in the chest

Rx. Glycyrrhizae
Gan Cao

Sm. Pharbitidis
Qian Niu Zi

Rx. et Rz. Rhei
Da Huang

Natrii Sulfas
Mang Xiao

Topically as a plaster applied to the navel for abdominal distention and ascites


Water retention with Heat in the chest

Rx. et Rz. Rhei (60g)
Da Huang
Colla Corii Asini (30g)

E Jiao



With 30g Gan Sui, for female Blood Stasis with fullness in the lower abdomen and mild urinary difficulty due to Blood and Fluid Accumulation in the uterus



  1. This is a violent cathartic herb which causes one to pass water anally.
  2. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, palpitations, abdominal pain, backache, and hematuria.
  3. This herb goes directly to areas of retained Body Fluid and acts quickly to remove it.
  4. This herb has been shown to cause acute necrosis of cancer cells.
  5. This herb targets the channels.
  6. It cures abdominal fullness and masses, strangulated hernia, dyspepsia due to Food Stagnation and epilepsy caused by Phlegm.
  7. It purges water and Dampness in the Kidney channel and its passages.
  8. It is prescribed for dysphagia and obstruction caused by tumors.
  9. For recalcitrant edema, powder this herb and apply around the umbilicus, the take a decoction of Rx. Glycyrrhizae Gan Cao orally.
  10. Gan Sui, Flos Genkwa Yuan Hua and Rx. Knoxiae/Euphorbiae Pekinensis Hong/Jing Da Ji all are powerful and harsh expellants and are used to treat severe edema and accumulations in the chest and abdomen. They are all toxic and must only be used for a short time. They are often combined to strengthen the effect. Da Ji and drain water and Dampness within the organs. Gan Sui can mobilize water and Dampness within the channels and collaterals and Yuan Hua tends to drain Phlegm and thin mucus within the chest and Lungs. The toxicity of all three is quite marked, especially Hong Da Ji and none should be used on weak patients.
  11. Powdered Kansui Gan Sui Mo is for external use. It can be used as a base for moxa in the umbilicus to treat constipation and urinary blockage. Usually a decoction of Rx. Glycyrrhizae Gan Cao is taken internally concurrently to harmonize the Middle.
  12. Roasted Kansui Wei Gan Sui is less toxic to eliminate its tendency to cause vomiting. It is taken internally to expel water and thin mucus without injuring normal Qi.
  13. Vinegar Kansui Cu Gan Sui is much less toxic and less descending. It is commonly used.
  14. Boiled Kansui Zhu Gan Sui is less toxic and less descending.