Xue Fu Zhu Yu (XueFu ZhuYu)

Herbal formulas are one of the top used therapies in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The benefits of Xuefu Zhuyu could have positive impacts for dogs with cancer. However, scientific research on the outcomes of Xuefu Zhuyu in helping to treat canine cancer are lacking.

Key Takeaways

  • Xuefu Zhuyu is used to promote blood flow in the body.
  • Many Chinese herbs are safe for dogs and can be a great addition to their cancer treatment plan.
  • You can give your dog Chinese herbs orally and sometimes topically. Herbs can often be purchased in powder, pill, tablet, and liquid form.

Xue Fu Zhu Yu

Xue Fu Zhu Yu is powerful blend of 11 herbs commonly used in Chinese Traditional Medicine. Scientific evidence in humans and animal models, along with anecdotal notes and testimonies from dog owners, speak volumes about the potential efficacy of the product for dogs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Its Core Component, “Qi”

Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) has core components that guide practitioners.

One of these is called “Qi”. Qi translates to “vital energy”.1

Qi is representative of energy in its broadest and most-encompassing form.

Nearly all life facets are composed of Qi, including your computer, heat, thoughts, and even your dog.1

Qi is constantly in flux and cannot be created or destroyed.

In TCM, Qi is integral to well-being.

Qi is Important for Overall Health

One must engage in practices that circulate an abundance of Qi throughout the body to obtain optimal health.1

TCM practitioners can focus Qi within a series of vital substances. One of these vital substances is called “Xue”, or blood.1

The pooling and stagnation of blood, called “blood stasis” in TCM, is believed to be a result of an imbalance in the heart Qi.2 TCM calls for a blood-activating stasis-resolving drug to resolve this issue.

One of the most popular of these is called Xuefu Zhuyu (血府逐瘀) (Xue – pronounced “sch-way”, Fu – rhymes with “two”, Zhu – think of the “Z” as a “J”, Yu – just like “you”).2

Another blend is called Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, which addresses Qi and blood stasis and dispels blood stagnation.12

Xuefu Zhuyu Is Packed With Powerful Ingredients

Xuefu Zhuyu is a formula that contains 11 different herbs.2

Its recipe comes from a medical book written during the Qing Dynasty by Wang Qingren.2

Its ingredients include:

  • rehmannia root (shengdi)
  • peach seed (taoren)
  • Safflower (honghua)
  • Chinese angelica (danggui)
  • red peony root (chishao)
  • platycodon root (jiegeng)
  • orange fruit (zhiqiao)
  • hare’s ear root (chaihu)
  • Sichuan lovage root (chuanxiong)
  • two-toothed achyranthes root (niuxi)
  • prepared licorice root (gancao).3

You may see the name Xuefu Zhuyu written as Xuefu Zhuyu Tang, Xuefu Zhuyu Pian, or Xue Fe Zhu Yu Wan.

Xuefu Zhuyu marketed towards dogs can be found online from DOGsAGE Essential Products for Dogs, on Etsy through the Kingdom of Basil’s page, and from Dragon Acupuncture & Herb Center Inc.

Evidence for Efficacy

Tumor development and cancer are believed to be due to the accumulation of stagnant and toxic substances in the body in TCM.4

Stagnation in the blood can contribute to the development and spread of cancer. Treatment plans will often involve the use of Xuefu Zhuyu to increase circulation.

Reports indicate that it can inhibit tumor cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis, and reduce the negative side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.2

The Proof Is In The Science

Several studies have found promising results for Xuefu Zhuyu fighting cancer.

  • One study that tested the effect of Xuefu Zhuyu on cancer cells in the lab found that it inhibited cell proliferation, invasion, and migration while encouraging cancer cell apoptosis, or death.5 Researchers then tested Xuefu Zhuyu on mice. The experimental mice that were given Xuefu Zhuyu had tumor sizes that were significantly smaller than mice not given Xuefu Zhuyu.5
  • Another study using mice tested the effectiveness of Xuefu Zhuyu and a chemotherapy drug, Mitomycin C, on liver tumors.4 Both Xuefu Zhuyu and Mitomycin C increased median survival time and killed liver tumor cells. Xuefu Zhuyu and Mitomycin C together produced a longer median survival time (17.2 days) than Xuefu Zhuyu alone (12.5 days).4
  • One study that used Drosophila (fruit flies) found that exposure to Xuefu Zhuyu limited the spread of cancer.1
  • One study put humans with liver cancer into two groups. One was an experimental group that received Xuefu Zhuyu and the other was a control group that received a placebo.6 Those in the experimental group had higher survival rates at the 1-year (20% higher), 3-year (23.4% higher), and 5-year (16.6%) mark than those in the control group.6 However, the rate of metastasis between the two did not significantly vary.6
  • A second study with humans focused on patients with small cell lung cancer.7 A total of 50 individuals were given Xuefu Zhuyu capsules in addition to chemotherapy, while a second group received only chemotherapy.7 Both groups saw progress at the end of the study period. However, no adverse effects for the group that used Xuefu Zhuyu were reported.

Studies with Dogs Are Lacking

Most evidence in dogs is anecdotal.

Comments on blog posts and reviews on shopping pages are promising and hopeful.8

  1. One owner whose dog had bone cancer stated that their energy levels and well-being improved once Xuefu Zhuyu was added to their treatment plan.
  2. Another owner expressed awe at the lack of recurrence of their dog’s mast cell tumor over the course of 5 years.
  3. A third owner mentioned that her dog was diagnosed with lung cancer and given two months to live. Amazingly, the dog is still healthy nearly 2 years later.

Some Cancers May Be More Likely To Benefit

  • Mast Cell Tumors (MCT): MCTs are characterized by impaired blood flow, so Xuefu Zhuyu would likely promote blood flow9
  • Lung Cancer: The ability of Xuefu Zhuyu to move blood away from the chest and out towards the periphery of the body also makes it a strong candidate for treating lung cancer.9
  • Blood Cancers: These include as leukemia and myeloma.9
  • Complicated Tumors: Xuefu Zhuyu may be helpful for tumors that cannot be operated on, or in a canine patient who has multiple tumors.10
  • It should be noted that the perceived benefits of Xuefu Zhuyu extend well beyond cancer treatment.
  • Illnesses such as heart disease, as well as dry skin, heart murmurs, and hypertension are just a few examples of its widespread applicability.9,11

Limited Negative Side Effects Are Noted

Studies that have given Xuefu Zhuyu to humans and recorded their responses consistently state that patients did not have any severe adverse effects.

One metanalysis that investigated the effects of TCM practices and Xuefu Zhuyu stated that only two of the analyzed studies reported negative side effects. These were merely headaches and nausea.3

Not everyone is on board with the idea that stimulating blood flow helps fight cancer. Some contend that the increase in blood flow feeds cancer the oxygen. This supports angiogenesis, or the formation of blood vessels, that are required for tumor growth.2

Can Xuefu Zhuyu Be Used with Other Treatments?

You should always consult with your veterinarian before adding or changing your dog’s cancer treatment.

Xuefu Zhuyu can be given with other supplements such as:

  • Turmeric – Turmeric contains the powerful cancer-fighting supplement, curcumin.9 You’ll come across Xuefu Zhuyu formulas that have “E Zhu” (tumeric) already added in.
  • Omega-3 oil supplements
  • Medicinal mushrooms.

Xuefu Zhuyu can be given with traditional western cancer treatments such as:

  • Chemotherapy and Radiation: neither a study that used radiation and Xuefu Zhuyu nor a study that used chemotherapy and Xuefu Zhuyu together in humans reported any adverse side effects.6,7
  • Corticosteroid drugs: Such as prednisone. These may help with inflammation and increase your dog’s overall comfort while supporting their immune system.10

When to Not Use

There is always a possibility that your dog could have a negative reaction. You should keep a watchful eye on your dog the first few times you give them Xuefu Zhuyu.

Herbalists caution its use in animals with “Damp” signs: vomiting, mucousy discharges from stools, ears, or other body parts, and oily skin.

Discontinue its use if any adverse side effects do result.

There May Be Modified Formulas

You may encounter modified formulas of Xuefu Zhuyu on the market that have additives. Well-Pet Dispensary sells Modified XFZYT, which has turmeric and sparganium rhizome included.

Some may have fillers, such as cornstarch.

Always check the ingredients list before choosing a product or giving it to your dog to ensure that there are no allergens or potentially harmful substances present.

Xuefu Zhuyu Comes in Many Forms

  • Concentrated “extract granules”
  • Powder
  • Pill
  • Capsule
  • Tablet
  • Oral liquid.3,8

Xuefu Zhuyu is described by humans as tasting “herby and spicy”, a combination that your dog may or may not readily take to.

The amount you give to your dog will depend on their size and range anywhere from 1/8 tsp two times a day to 1 tsp two times a day.9

Xuefu Zhuyu should be given either right before or during your dog’s normally scheduled meals.

Xuefu Zhuyu Can Also Be Applied Topically

Some holistic veterinarian use Xuefu Zhuyu topically. For example, mast cell tumors could be treated with Xuefu Zhuyu by mixing it with vitamin E or aloe until a paste-like consistency forms. The mixture can then be applied directly to the mast cell tumor itself.9

What If I Miss a Dose?

Simply skip the missed dose and then give the product to you dog as normal. Do not give your dog more than the normal suggested amount to make up for the missed dose.

Storage and Handling

Store in accordance to the instructions on your specific Xuefu Zhuyu product.

Our Take

Chinese Traditional Veterinary Medicine is gaining momentum, although a lack of scientific studies surrounding efficacy remains a barrier to its application and use.

Herbal formulas are one of the top used therapies in this 3,000-year-old practice. Benefits claimed for ones like Xuefu Zhuyu could have positive impacts for dogs with cancer.

We think that this supplement is worth investigating and asking your veterinarian about, but the lack of research surrounding its use for cancer in dogs specifically necessitates a “proceed with caution” approach.

  1. Hafner C. What is Qi? (and other concepts). Taking Charge of your health & wellbeing. University of Minnesota. No publication date available. Accessed November 29, 2022. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/traditional-chinese-medicine/what-qi-and-other-concepts#:~:text=Qi%20is%20energy%20in%20the,%2C%20thought%2C%20and%20emotion.
  2. Wang S, Wu F, Ye B, et al. 2020. Effects of Xuefu Zhuyu decoction on cell migration and ocular tumor invasion in Drosphila. BioMed Res Int 2020;5463652:https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/5463652.
  3. Yang X, Xiong X, Yang G, Wang J. Chinese patent medicine Xuefu Zhuyu capsule for the treatment of unstable angina pectoris: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Comp Ther in Med 2014;22(2):391-399.
  4. You JS, Huang HF, Hau DM. Effects of Xuefu Zhuyu Tang and mitomycin C on liver tumors in mice. Chang Gung Med J 2003;26(6):417-424.
  5. Liu J, Zhang J, Huang L, Zhu X, Chen W, Hu P. XuefuZhuyu Tang exerts antitumor effects by inhibiting flioma cell metastasis and invasion via regulating tumor microenvironment. Onco Targets Ther 2016;9:3603-3612.
  6. Han JQ, Chen SD, Zhai LM. Clinical study of combined Chinese herbal medicine with move stripe field radiation in treating primary hepatocellular carcinoma. Chinese J of Integr Tradit and Western Med 1997;17(8):465-466.
  7. Liao B, Zou L, Li H. Effects of Xuefu Zhuyu capsules combined with chemotherapy on treatment and coagulation indexes in patients with mid-advanced small cell lung cancer. Chinese J of Inf on Tradit Chinese Med 2015;12:26-29.
  8. Etsy. Xue Fu Zhu Tu Tang with E Zhu and San Leng. Kingdomofbasil Etsy Shop. Accessed November 29, 2022. https://www.etsy.com/listing/560949701/xue-fu-zhu-yu-tang-with-e-zhu-and-san.
  9. A Path with Paws. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang – fighting mast cell tumors and support the lungs against cancer. A Path with Paws – Walking life’s path with companion animals. April 22, 2011. Accessed November 29, 2022. https://pathwithpaws.com/blog/2011/04/22/xue-fu-zhu-yu-tang-supporting-the-lungs-against-cancer/.
  10. Ann Arbor Animal Hospital. Chinese herbs in veterinary medicine. No publication date available. Accessed November 29, 2022. https://annarboranimalhospital.com/2011/04/chinese-herbs-in-veterinary-medicine/.
  11. Wang DMB, Wang PMB, Rong CD, Di DCD. Efficacy and safety of Xuefu Zhuyu decoction combined with Western medicine for angina pectoris in coronary heart disease. Med 2020;99(50):e23195.
  12. Chen JK, Chen TT, Beebe S, Salewski M. Chinese Herbal Formulas for Veterinarians. City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press; 2012.



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