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 (sorry for the delay) 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.
Gui Pi Wan
Gui Pi Wan was my best friend going through acupuncture training. The formula comes from a book called Ji Sheng Fang (Formulas to Aid the Living) written by Yan Yong-He in 1253. Gui Pi Wan is a scholar’s formula that treats insomnia, anxiety, low energy and poor memory caused by worry or over-thinking. It’s a very helpful formula not only for students or “scholars” but for anyone who has to do a great deal of mental work.
In Chinese medicine, the spleen is responsible for a great deal of the digestive process. It’s primary role is to extract energy from the food the body takes in, which is then used to create blood and other essential fluids. This process is impaired by worry and intellectual strain which then leads to the symptoms mentioned above. The formula typically takes about two weeks of supplementation before it begins producing its full effects and can be taken long-term by people needing support over a long period of time.
Liu Jun Zi Tang
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spleen energy system is responsible for, among other things, extracting energy from the food we eat and transforming one substance into another inside the body. When the Spleen is not doing its job the patient can experience symptoms such as fatigue, low appetite and diarrhea. Additionally, the failure of the Spleens transforming function can lead to the accumulation of “damp,” a Chinese Medicine term for the accumulation of sticky or viscous substances. Damp can manifest as a feeling of heaviness in the limbs or head or a feeling of oppression and distention in the chest and epigastrium. The patient with this pattern may also have a cough with large amounts of white, watery phlegm. This kind of phlegm is very different than the phlegm produced by respiratory tract infections which is usually thick and yellow or green.
Liu Jun Zi Tang tonifies the spleen to help restore its ability to perform its transforming function and thereby resolve the accumulated dampness. It is often recommended for fatigue, particularly when accompanied by the feelings of heaviness and oppression mentioned above. It can also help with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.
Sang Piao Xiao Wan
One of the fascinating things about Chinese medicine is the many different ways in which the body’s systems relate to each other. Over its many thousands of years of history, Chinese clinicians developed several different theories to explain the relationships between the organ systems that they were observing and recording. Each of these theories provide us with a different “lens” through which to view a problem. One such “lens” is five element theory.
According to five element theory, the Kidney energy system belongs to water, and the Heart energy system belongs to fire. If the two are balanced it is easy for them to exist in harmony. If they become imbalanced it is easy for the organs to exhaust themselves. Think of a tug-of-war that is constantly going this way and that.
Sang Piao Xiao is prescribed for Heart and Kidney deficiencies manifesting as frequent urination, enuresis, certain presentations of diabetes mellitus, forgetfulness and constipation. Sang Piao Xiao is probably most often used to address bed-wetting in children or frequent urination in adults.