Starting in June, every other Thursday (well almost) we have been posting a Formula Spotlight on our Facebook page. On the first Thursday of each month we’ll be archiving all of the previous month’s Formula Spotlights here on our blog. Be sure to click on the link and like our Facebook page to see them first.
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan
In Chinese medicine, the body’s functions are broadly divided into two categories—yin functions and yang functions. Actions such as nourishing and moistening the body’s tissues, maintaining homeostasis and repairing injuries are considered yin functions. More active functions such as physical movement or eliminating wastes through bowel movements, urine and sweat or considered yang functions. Liu Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of yin-tonifying formulas and is considered one of the great classic formulas of Chinese Medicine.
As a yin-tonic, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan helps provide the body with the resources that it needs to nourish and repair itself, as well as stay in homeostatic balance. Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is most commonly used to address conditions such as diabetes mellitus, menopause, hypertension and hyperthyroidism. These are all diseases characterized by variables the body usually controls within a narrow range getting out of balance—blood sugar, hormones and blood pressure.
Clinical studies have indicated that Liu Wei Di Huang Wan has a number of potential positive effects, including lowering plasma cholesterol levels, lowering blood sugar levels, increasing immune system activity, lowering blood pressure and protecting the liver and kidneys from damage by toxins. Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is safe for long-term use and in China it is popularly used as a longevity formula. Many people begin taking it regularly after they turn forty to help maintain good health as they age.
Gan Mai Da Zao Wan
Many people turn to Chinese medicine for its ability to relieve stress. Roughly speaking there are two main presentations of stress—one that occurs when the body still has the energy to fight against the situation and another that manifests after that energy is exhausted.
Gan Mai Da Zao Wan is very helpful for this second type of stress. People with this presentation will find themselves reacting to stress with worry and sadness rather than irritability and anger. Sleep is often poor and disturbed by worrisome thoughts. Emotions become difficult to control and the person may cry or tear up easily. Energy both mental and physical is typically quite low and it is difficult to find the motivation to do anything. Gan Mai Da Zao Wan consists mainly of tonifying and calming herbs to restore energy while simultaneously helping to alleviate feelings of stress.
Gan Mao Ling
The common cold was well-known to Chinese medicine practitioners. In fact, one of the earliest classics of Chinese Medical theory, the Shang Han Lun or Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders, deals primarily with these type of acute infections. The Shang Han Lun was written sometime before the year 220 by Zhang Zhong-jing, an official in one of China’s northern provinces. Zhang Zhong-jing is regarded as one of the great sages of Chinese medicine and while my classmates and I were in China we would meet each morning to begin our rounds by a statue of Zhang Zhong-jing that stood in front of the hospital.
Gan Mao Ling is a modern patent medicine that contains not only Ban Lan Gen, but also two herbs that are relatively new to the Chinese pharmacopeia—Gang mei gen (Ilex Asprella root) and San cha ku (Evodia leaf). Both herbs are native to Taiwan and so were not used extensively until relations between the two countries began to thaw in 1979. This formula is over 70% herbs that have strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can be used at any stage of a cold infection, but is best taken at the first sign of impending sickness, while the virus is still trying to establish a foothold in the body. It’s a wonderful addition to a home medicine cabinet as many times illness can be prevented entirely by early dosing with Gan Mao Ling.