Pinyin: Píng Wèi Sàn
Other names: Calm the Stomach Powder, Balancing the Stomach Powder,
Number of ingredients: 4 herbs
Formula category: Formulas that transform Dampness and harmonize Stomach
Conditions for which it may be prescribed: ColitisAmenorrheaCervicitis and seven other conditions
Contraindications: This formula contains warm, drying herbs that readily injure the Yin and Blood,... This formula contains warm, drying herbs that readily injure the Yin and Blood, and should therefore only be used with significant modification for patients with Yin or Blood Deficiency. Caution must also be exercised when using the formula during pregnancy. see more
Source date: 1051 AD
Source book: Concise Formulas to Aid the Multitudes
The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Ping Wei San is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 1051 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that transform Dampness and harmonize Stomach. Its main actions are: 1) dries Dampness and 2) improves the Spleen's transportive function.
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 Ping Wei San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Cold-Damp invading the Spleen, Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation or Oedema. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis or colitis for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the four ingredients in Ping Wei San, we review the patterns and conditions that Ping Wei San helps treat.
Cang Zhu is a king ingredient in Ping Wei San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: The dried rhizome
Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach
Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness
Cang Zhu is perhaps the best Chinese herb for dispelling Dampness and strengthening the transportive function of the Spleen.
Hou Pu is a deputy ingredient in Ping Wei San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried stem bark, root bark or branch bark
Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach
Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness
In general Hou Pu's main actions are as follows: "Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung."
In the context of Ping Wei San, it is used because it moves the Qi, disperses fullness, and directs the Qi downward. It also helps transform Dampness.
Chen Pi is an assistant ingredient in Ping Wei San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
Part used: Dried pericarp of the ripe fruit
Category: Herbs that regulate Qi
Chen Pi regulates the Qi and harmonizes the Stomach. It assists the deputy in directing Rebellious Qi downward and eliminating distention.
Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Ping Wei San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Gan Cao tonifies the Spleen and enhances their Spleen-strengthening properties of the formula's other ingredients.
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 Ping Wei San is used by TCM practitioners to treat three different patterns which we describe below.
But before we delve into these patterns here is an overview of the Western conditions they're commonly associated with:
Peptic ulcers Chronic gastritis Colitis Irritable bowel syndrome Intestinal obstruction Infantile diarrhea Acute viral hepatitis Amenorrhea Premenstrual syndrome Cervicitis
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Ping Wei San treats peptic ulcers" for instance. Rather, Ping Wei San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind peptic ulcers.
Now let's look at the three patterns commonly treated with Ping Wei San.
The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi)
Symptoms: Edema Nausea No thirst Lassitude Tiredness Loose stools Poor appetite Dull-pale complexion White vaginal discharge Sweet taste in the mouth Abdominal and epigastric fullness Feeling of cold in the epigastrium Feeling of heaviness of the head and body
Ping Wei San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Cold-Damp invading the Spleen. This pattern leads to symptoms such as poor appetite, feeling of cold in the epigastrium, feeling of heaviness of the head and body and sweet taste in the mouth. Patients with Cold-Damp invading the Spleen typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or slow (Chi) pulses.
This is a description of the pattern in its acute stage, when the Spleen is invaded by exterior Dampness. The pattern can also become chronic, in which case the tongue would be more Pale and the pulse partly Weak or Soggy.
What causes the characteristic feeling of heaviness is the fact that... read more about Cold-Damp invading the Spleen
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)
Symptoms: Nausea No appetite Loose stools Irritability Sallow complexion Hypochondrial pain Feeling of heaviness Epigastric distension Hypochondrial distention Dry mouth with no desire to drink Feeling of oppression and fullness of the epigastrium
Ping Wei San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as feeling of oppression and fullness of the epigastrium, nausea, no appetite and loose stools. Patients with Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses.
When the Spleen is deficient and fails in its function of transformation and transportation, Fluids accumulate into Dampness.
Dampness then obstructs the Middle Burner which hampers the proper flow of Qi and results in Liver Qi Stagnation.
The relationship is also described in the Five Phases... read more about Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation
Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Hidden (Fu), Slowed-down (Huan)
Tongue coating: Thick white coating
Symptoms: Fatigue Sore back Sore knees Cold limbs Eye swelling Loose stools Poor appetite Oedema of face Oedema of feet Oedema of legs Oedema of hands Oedema of ankles Oedema of abdomen Labored breathing Abdomen distension Urinary difficulty Feeling of heaviness General sensation of heaviness distention and fullness
Ping Wei San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Oedema. This pattern leads to symptoms such as oedema of abdomen, oedema of ankles, oedema of face and oedema of feet. Patients with Oedema typically exhibit hidden (Fu) or slowed-down (Huan) pulses as well as Pale tongue with white sticky coating or white slippery coating.
Oedema (also spelled "Edema") a retention of Body Fluids that results in swellings, depending where the retention occurs: it can be in the limbs, the legs, the face, etc. The swellings are usually so that if one presses on it with a finger, the resulting dip takes a long time to disappear.
Oedema... read more about Oedema
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