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: Remove impurities, spray water, shred and dry.
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.
Contraindications*: Should not be used when there is cough with Yin or Qi Deficiency; this could manifest as Dry cough or coughing blood. It should also be avoided when there is sticky yellow phlegm.
Source date: 1148 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).
Chen Pi is a king ingredient in Er Chen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Directs rebellious Qi downward. Stops hiccup. Augments Qi. Clears heat.
Chen Pi is a king ingredient in Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang, Chen Pi harmonizes the Stomach and stops hiccup
Source date: 1107
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.
Chen Pi is a deputy ingredient in Liu Jun Zi Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Liu Jun Zi Tang, Chen Pi is a drying herb that directs the Qi downward and helps remove obstruction in the Middle Burner by Phlegm-Dampness. This is characterized by Rebellious Qi of the Stomach and Lungs with symptoms like nausea, vomiting (for the stomach part) and coughing sputum (for the Lungs).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chen Pi belongs to the 'Herbs that regulate Qi' category. Herbs in this category typically treat a TCM condition called 'Qi Stagnation'. Concretely it means that Qi is blocked in the body's Organs and Meridians, most typically the Stomach, Liver, and to a lesser extent, the Lungs. In modern medicine terms, Qi Stagnation often translates into psychological consequences such as depression, irritability or mood swings. It's also frequently associated with conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, the development of breast swellings as well as various digestive disorders.
Furthermore Chen Pi is Warm in nature. This means that Chen Pi 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 Chen Pi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Chen Pi also tastes Bitter and Pungent. 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 Chen Pi 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 Pungent ingredients tend to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Chen Pi is thought to target the Lung and the Spleen. 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. The Spleen on the other hand assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body.
Treatment by Chinese medicine consisting of Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae to promote blood circulation get a favorable result.1
1. Xu RS, Zong XH, Li XG. (2009). Controlled clinical trials of therapeutic effects of Chinese herbs promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis on the treatment of reflex sympathetic dystrophy with type of stagnation of vital energy and blood stasis. Zhongguo Gu Shang, 22(12):920-2.
Chen Pi is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Tangerine Creme Brulee.