Milkvetch roots (Huang Qi) Ginseng (Ren Shen) Liquorice (Gan Cao) Bugbane rhizomes (Sheng Ma)

Ju Yuan Jian

Chinese: 举元煎

Pinyin: Jǔ Yuán Jiān

Other names: Lift the Source Decoction

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that tonify Qi

Mother formula: Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: MetrorrhagiaHeavy menstruation

Main actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood

Source date: 1624 AD

Source book: Collected Treatises of [Zhang] Jing Yue

Ju Yuan Jian is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi. Its main action is that it tonifies Qi and Blood.

In Chinese Medicine health conditions are thought to arise due to "disharmonies" in the body as a system. These disharmonies are called "patterns" and the very purpose of herbal formulas is to fight them in order to restore the body's harmony.

In this case Ju Yuan Jian is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Qi Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as heavy menstruation or metrorrhagia for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Ju Yuan Jian, we review the patterns and conditions that Ju Yuan Jian helps treat.

The five ingredients in Ju Yuan Jian

Huang Qi is a king ingredient in Ju Yuan Jian. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Huang Qi strongly tonifies Qi and raises the Yang Qi of the Spleen and Stomach. It also prevents further Qi loss through leakage to the outside.

Learn more about Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi)

Ren Shen is a deputy ingredient in Ju Yuan Jian. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen tonifies the Qi of the Middle Burner, like the other two deputy herbs (Atractylodes rhizome and Liquorice). It is worth mentioning that Ginseng being often prohibitively expensive, it is commonly substituted for Codonopsis root (Dang Shen) which has similar attributes and is much cheaper.

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Gan Cao is a deputy ingredient in Ju Yuan Jian. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Gan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs."

In the context of Ju Yuan Jian, it is used because it is sweet and warm and tonify the Qi of the Middle Burner.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Sheng Ma is a deputy ingredient in Ju Yuan Jian. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Bugbane Rhizomes (Sheng Ma)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Sheng Ma's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior, scatters Wind and clears Heat. Allows the release of toxicity from the skin and clears Heat. Raises the Yang associated with Middle Qi Deficiency. Directs herbs upwards. Cools the Blood."

In the context of Ju Yuan Jian, it is used because it helps raise the sunken Yang Qi.

Learn more about Bugbane Rhizomes (Sheng Ma)

Bai Zhu is a deputy ingredient in Ju Yuan Jian. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Bai Zhu's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi."

In the context of Ju Yuan Jian, it is used because it is sweet and warm and tonify the Qi of the Middle Burner.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Ju Yuan Jian is used to treat Qi Deficiency

It's important to remember that herbal formulas are meant to treat patterns, not "diseases" as understood in Western Medicine. According to Chinese Medicine patterns, which are disruptions to the body as a system, are the underlying root cause for diseases and conditions.

As such Ju Yuan Jian is mostly used to treat the pattern "Qi Deficiency" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Qi Deficiency here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Heavy menstruation Metrorrhagia

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ju Yuan Jian treats heavy menstruation" for instance. Rather, Ju Yuan Jian is used to treat Qi Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind heavy menstruation.

Now let's look at Qi Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Ju Yuan Jian.

Qi is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Qi in Chinese Medicine

Qi Deficiency

Ju Yuan Jian is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Qi Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath, weak voice, spontaneous sweating and poor appetite. Patients with Qi Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

When Qi is Deficient, it typically appears as tiredness or weakness in the body. Since Qi is lacking, it is unable to perform any of its functions. Some of the symptoms for Qi Deficiency also commonly apply for other conditions. The overall differentiating symptoms for Qi Deficiency, however, is... read more about Qi Deficiency

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