- Huang Qi (Astragalus) – tonifies zheng Qi in the entire body
- Bai Hua She She Cao (Oldenlandia) – detoxifier clear heat
- Ban Zhi Lian (Scutellaria) –detoxifier clear heat
- Chen Pi (Citrus) – eliminates damp
- Dang Gui (Angelica) – builds blood
- Dang Shen (Codonopsis) – tonifies the Qi
- Tai Zi Shen (Pseudostellaria) – tonifies the Qi
- Wu Yao (Lindera) – moves Qi and warms
- Zhi Zi (gardenia) – clears heat
- Xuan Shen (Scrophularia) – cools blood and nourishes Yin
This is a variation of Si Jun Zi Tang. We have added Tai Zi Shen for Dang Shen (codonopsis). Tai Zi Shen is a bit more expensive but it is more gentle on the system. In general there is a continuum between Ren Shen, Dang Shen, Tai Zi Shen, Xuan Shen and Xi Yang Shen in terms of their temperature. Ren Shen is the most warm and Xuan Shen is most cooling. Tai Zi Shen sits right there in the middle. In addition we have added Zhi Zi (gardenia) to clear more heat. The detoxifiers help get rid of heat toxins.
I have seen a similar group of herbs advertised as “boosting Wei Qi”. It may be the teacher in me but I can’t help but to note that this is not quite technically correct. If you are fighting a disease you want to raise zheng Qi which creates the overall resistance to pathogens. Wei qi circulates on the outsides of the (blood) vessels and is protective in the sense of keeping colds and flus away. During the day it circulates on the skin and at night it goes to protect the organs. It is why we need to have blankets on when we sleep at night. In other words, you need the zheng Qi to produce the wei qi. Wei Qi is translated as “protective qi” and yes these herbs boost wei qi but more importantly this formula more boosts zheng while also dispelling evil (xie) qi.
Below are excerpts from my book (co-writer) Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine (PMPH Press 2015)
“When the movement of qi ceases, human life comes to an end. No matter the source, any kind of qi that disturbs the body is called a pathogenic evil (xie) qi. The opposite of pathogenic qi is the zheng/upright qi, which can be conceived of as the sum of all forces that protect the body against pathogenic (xie) qi.
When pathogenic qi invades the body, it is not easy to maintain health if the zheng/upright qi is weak. Qi not only protects the body surface from the invasion of external pathogens, but also serves to eliminate pathogens that have already invaded the body. When the pathogenic qi invades the body, the zheng qi attempts to drive it outward. Therefore, the normal defending functions of qi should prevent the invasion of pathogenic qi. The functional ability of zheng qi determines the frequency, development, severity, and prognosis of diseases.
Wei/defensive qi circulates outside the vessels, and its functions are those of protection and defense. Because it is seen as protecting the body from pathogenic invasion, it is often also translated as “protective qi”. Wei qi is produced from the refined food-essence that is transported and transformed by the spleen and stomach. When refined food-essence is transformed into food-qi, the active and floating parts turn into wei qi. It circulates outside the vessels without being confined by the vessel system, circulating both outward to the skin and muscles and inward to the zang-fu organs in the chest and abdomen. Wei qi defends the body from external pathogens, warms the body, and controls and adjusts the opening of the skin pores (cou li).”
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