Dit Da Jow, Why It Works

Dit Da Jow, why it works is an article that explains the concepts behind this amazing liniment.

Dit Da Jow is an external liniment used to heal bruises and a variety of other trauma type injuries. Used initially by the Shaolin Monks and then martial artists of all disciplines, it now has gone mainstream used by everybody from carpenters to surfers.

Dit Da Jow, Why It Works

This 1000 plus year old liniment works thru the power of special herbs which are combined and soaked in alcohol, over time due to the natural extraction process becomes a healing liniment for injuries. These special herbs have a specific action and movement.
Dit Da Jow
There are a variety of different Dit Da Jow formulas that have been passed down and modified over the years but one thing these different formulas have in common are some unique herbs that are always included in authentic Dit Da Jow recipes.

Below I am going to break down seven of those herbs which are pretty consistent in most authentic Dit Da Jow recipes and I will describe their actions and what their healing properties.

Hong Hua / Carthamus tinctorius

Hong Hua


Moves blood
Menstrual disturbances, dysmenorrhoea, postpartum bleeding, abdominal pain, retained lochia, abdominal masses, limb pain, feeling of tension in the limbs.
Breaks up blood stasis Wounds, painful skin diseases, carbuncles, erythemas, abdominal masses, amenorrhoea, infertility.
Relieves pain
Abdominal pain, wounds, injuries, carbuncles, limb pain, dysmenorrhoea
Cools blood
Bleeding from all body orifices, poor wound healing, erythemas, furuncles, carbuncles
Eczema, burns and ulcers
Blood stasis: wounds, painful ulcers, carbuncles, erythemas
Injuries, haematomas and wounds
Edema, swelling, pain (local and systemic use)
Physiological/pharmacological effects low doses have a positive inotropic effect, higher doses have a negative inotropic and chronotropic effect; animal experiments show inhibition of platelet aggregation, therefore use with care in combination with anticoagulants or thrombocyte aggregation inhibitors; increases uterine contractions; according to newest research, has been used to treat coronary heart disease and for swellings and haematomas due to trauma as well as cerebral thrombosis.

Mo Yao/Commiphora myrrha



Moves blood
Swelling due to blood stasis, pain, post-traumatic pain, pain in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, dysmenorrhoea, inflamed wounds.
Relieves pain
Post-traumatic pain, pain in the pelvis, dysmenorrhoea, inflamed wounds, sores,swelling.
Breaks up blood stasis
Pain in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, dysmenorrhoea, swelling, stagnation, blood stasis due to trauma(bruises).
Breaks up lumps
Traumatic swelling, carbuncles, sores, swellings in the abdomen, tumors.
Dispels damp-wind
Joint pain
Drains damp-heat
Poor wound healing, sores, carbuncles (also for external use)
Physiological/pharmacological effects lowers cholesterol, analgesic, stimulates gastrointestinal motility, in vitro antifungal action (dermal fungi). Contains volatile oils from pine trees, lemon trees, cumin- and cinnamon-aldehyde, m-cresol, myrrholic acid, eugenol.

In the West, myrrh is used only as a tincture; it has astringent and disinfectant properties, and promotes healing of wounds. Myrrh is applied topically to treat mild inflammation in the mouth and throat, pressure sores on the gums from wearing of dentures, to treat laryngitis, pharyngitis and tracheitis.

Ru Xiang / Boswellia carterii


Moves blood
Swelling due to blood stasis, following injury, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, injuries, pain in the abdomen, pelvis, breasts and epigastrium, swelling. Moves and regulates the qi.
Relaxes the limbs, muscles and sinews, joint and muscle stiffness, painful and swollen limbs.
Relieves pain
Dysmenorrhoea, pain in the abdomen, pelvis, breasts and epigastrium, pain in the joints and extremities.
Dispels damp-wind
Joint pain, pain in the extremities, spasms, stiffness. Injuries, haematomas and wounds.
Traumatic swelling, haematomas, carbuncles, sores, wounds with blood stasis.

Drains damp-heat
Sores, poorly healing wounds, swellings, carbuncles, traumatic injuries, inflammation of the gums, mouth and throat (also topical application).
Breaks up lumps
Carbuncles, sores, traumatic swelling, haematomas, blood stasis, painful swelling.
Physiological/pharmacological effects previously used as a mild carminative.

In vitro, boswellic acid has shown antimicrobial activity, it inhibits complement system and leukotriene synthesis. Contains balsams, triterpene and volatile oils, which may explain its use in treating respiratory complaints and promoting wound healing. Contains
pinenes, lemonene, candine, camphones, p-camen, borneol, veronone, berbenol, dipentene, phellandrene, olibanol. Despite rumors, no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)is released during burning of this resin.

Chi Shao / Paeonia lactiflora


Cools heat
Infectious rashes: measles, chickenpox, typhus, high fever.
Cools blood
Infections, exanthemas, high fever.
Moves blood
Exanthemas, measles, chickenpox, typhus.
Drains fire
Exanthemas (measles, skin eruptions)
Disperses swelling
Aftermath of injuries, fractures, swollen eyes; can also be applied topically.
Relieves pain
Dysmenorrhoea, injuries, fractures, trauma, swelling, pain in the hypochondrium; also for topical use
Breaks up blood stagnation
Dysmenorrhoea, swelling, trauma, abscesses
Physiological/pharmacological effects animal experiments have shown the herb to inhibit platelet aggregation, therefore use with care in combination with anticoagulants or thrombocyte aggregation inhibitors. Lowers blood pressure, dilates the
coronaries; one ingredient has sedative effects, antipyretic, relieves spasms; in vitro antibiotic.
Settles tremors and convulsions due to strychnine poisoning.

Tian Qi/ San Qi / Panax notoginseng

Restrains blood
Haematemesis, haemoptysis, epistaxis, heavy menstrual bleeding, strong bleeding.
postpartum, bleeding due to external injury, blood in the stools, haematuria.
Stops bleeding
Internal and external bleeding, nosebleed, haematemesis, blood in the stools, haematuria.
Injuries, haematomas and wounds.
External injuries, especially those accompanied by infections.
Breaks up blood stagnation
Swelling, haematomas, injuries, internal bleeding, fractures, contusion, sprains.
Breaks up swelling
Blood stagnation, fractures, contusion, traumatic injuries.
Relieves pain
Traumatic injuries, swelling following fractures, contusion, sprains, thoracic pain, abdominal pain, joint pain.
Physiological/pharmacological effects haemostatic (decreases prothrombin time), inhibits platelet aggregation, immune-stimulating, stimulates and depresses the
CNS; use with care in combination with anticoagulants or platelet aggregation inhibitors (interactions have not yet been reported),this herb can stop bleeding without provoking blood stagnation;
because it is expensive, it is mostly available as a powder or pill.

Zhang Nao / Cinnamomum camphora


Opens the orifices
Fainting, clouding of consciousness, delirium, coma
Drains dampness
Scabies, tinea, parasites (topical use), pruritic sores
Dispels wind-dampness
Scabies, pruritus, pruritic sores, parasites.
Disperses swellings
Oedema, ascites, trauma, fractures, contusions, dislocation, pain, swelling, haematomas, blood stasis.
Scabies, tinea, pruritus (topical use).
Relieves pain
Trauma, injuries, fractures, contusions, dislocations, swelling, distending pain in the chest.
Moves blood
Cardiac pain, precordial pain, post-traumatic pain, trauma, fractures, contusions, dislocations.
Physiological/pharmacological effects chemical: bicyclic monoterpene derivative.
Camphor oil is obtained through water distillation of wood and twigs of the camphor tree or synthetically produced from oil of turpentine. Local effect: promotes circulation to the skin, antiseptic, slightly anaesthetic; can be massaged into the skin in cases of rheumatism. Used in treating neuralgias, gastrointestinal and respiratory

Dang Gui / Angelica sinensis


Tonifies blood
Menstrual problems: difficult menstruation, irregular bleeding, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea; pale, ashen complexion, tinnitus, blurred vision, palpitations.
Moves blood
Stasis, swelling, haematomas, menstrual problems such as amenorrhoea or dysmenorrhoea; following injuries, falls, carbuncles with blood stagnation.

Drains wind-dampness
Painful obstruction syndrome, joint pain, muscle pain, sprains, stagnation.
Moistens dryness
Dryness in the Intestines, blood deficiency.
Unblocks the bowels/laxative
Constipation due to dryness
Physiological/pharmacological effects stimulates and, at the same time, inhibits uterine contractions: this depends whether the uterus is contracted or relaxed.
Animal experiments have shown negative chronotropic and positive inotropic actions, anti-arrhythmic, lowers the risk of arteriosclerosis, inhibits platelet aggregation in the same way as aspirin (use with care in combination with other platelet aggregation inhibitors);
stimulates the immune system, hepatoprotective, mildly sedating, relieves bronchial spasm, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic.

There are several varieties of Dang Gui used in the Dit Da Jow formulas but the actions are the similar to what is listed above. depending on the location north or south determined the specie of Dang Gui used.

As you can see from the actions listed, these 7 herbs tonify, move, regulate, cool, or open the Qi and blood. All injuries suffered cause a stagnation of Qi and blood which in turn causes pain. By moving Qi we enable the body to heal.

The seven herbs mentioned are the core of most Dit Da Jow formulas which are available and work synergistically with other herbs that have similar properties, to break up blood stagnation and allow Qi to flow without hindrance, this is how Dit Da Jow heals.

Dit Da Jow Is Not Iron Palm

A big misconception around the web are liniments that are called Dit Da Jow should really be classified as Iron Palm liniment due to the herbal makeup and their actions.

Dit Da Jow is for blood stasis and stagnation first and foremost and Iron Palm is for bone and ligament strength. They both help with pain and they do crossover a little in there healing properties but that is where it ends.

I like to call these formulas “hybrids” they take a little from each and combine them. Formulas like the Ku Yu Chueng is modified version of various Dit Da Jow and Iron Palm recipes combined specifically for increasing Qi for breaking power in the hands and at the same time heal and prevent injuries. As good as that sounds it could serious consequences if not used properly.

When a formula like Ku Yu Cheung is used and if the Qi created is not released thru proper Iron Palm or Iron Hand training then a Qi backup and blockage can occur and serious health issues could result. Read our article on Hands Like Stone in 100 Days for more information.

Dit Da Jow works because of the unique properties of the herbs used, the seven herbs I mentioned above are like a catalyst for healing and when assisted by other herbs you have a very powerful liniment.

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