Pueraria Flower Combination: Ge Hua Jie Xing Tang
The name of the formula, Gehua Jiexing Tang, means the Pueraria Flower Decoction to Relieve and Awaken; it was designed to relieve the remnants of “alcohol toxin”: to get rid of a hangover. In addition to counteracting the toxins, the formula corrects the imbalance of the stomach and spleen. The formula has also been labeled Gehua Jiecheng Tang (or San): Pueraria Flower Decoction (or Powder) to Resolve Hangover.
From modern investigations, we know that alcohol itself contributes only partly to a hangover; impurities in the production of alcoholic beverages produce most of the hangover symptoms. Those who drink excessively are usually acclimated to consumption of alcohol, so their liver enzymes are elevated and able to metabolize the alcohol that is consumed. Alcohol metabolism by liver enzymes produces some acetaldehyde, which can generate hangover symptoms. Substances that are created by the fermentation process of the raw materials used in making a particular alcoholic beverage and which impart the characteristic smell and taste are called congeners. These substances, and their metabolites generated by the action of liver enzymes, may also produce symptoms; this is why some beverages have a higher incidence rate for hangover symptoms than others with the same alcohol content. The dictum of not mixing different kinds of alcoholic beverages may owe its origins to the fact that by combining congeners of different types in one session of drinking the incidence of symptoms becomes elevated, so that a hangover is virtually assured. Even without mixing, though, the congeners of sorghum liquors used in China are well-known to cause hangovers.