Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Cut the root and wash it. Dry under the sun.
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Calms the spirit. Expels Phlegm from the Heart orifices. Expels Phlegm from the Lungs. Diminishes abscesses.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Yuan Zhi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Palpitations Insomnia Restlessness Emotional outbursts Seizures Sputum Abcesses Boils Ulcers Swollen painful breasts
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Yin Deficient Heat signs.
Source date: 1529 AD
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Formula key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.
Yuan Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Gui Pi Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
It is especially effective when it is balanced by the sour properties of Jujube seeds (Suan Zao Ren).
Source date: 1732 AD
Number of ingredients: 15 herbs
Formula key actions: Sedates the Heart . Clears Phlegm. Clears Fire. Calms the Mind.
Yuan Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Sheng Tie Luo Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Sheng Tie Luo Yin, Yuan Zhi is acrid, bitter, and slightly warming. It lifts the Qi.
Source date: 1116 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Regulates and tonifies the Heart and Kidneys. Stabilizes the Essence. Stops leakage.
Yuan Zhi is an assistant ingredient in Sang Piao Xiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yuan Zhi belongs to the 'Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit' category. These herbs are substances that tranquilize the Mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or insomnia. They tend to have sedative properties by tonifying Heart Yin and Blood as in TCM it is believed that the Heart is the store of the Mind.
Furthermore Yuan Zhi is Warm in nature. This means that Yuan Zhi tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Yuan Zhi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Yuan Zhi also tastes Bitter and Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like Yuan Zhi tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Yuan Zhi is thought to target the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.
Yuan Zhi is also eaten as food.