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.
Shen Fu Tang is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 1445 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that rescue devastated Yang. Its main actions are: 1) restores Yang and 2) strongly tonifies the source Qi.
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 Shen Fu Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Heart Yang Collapsing or Collapse of Yang. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as cardiac failure, myocardial infarction or cardiogenic shock for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the two ingredients in Shen Fu Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Shen Fu Tang helps treat.
Ren Shen is a king ingredient in Shen Fu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried root
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Zhi Fu Zi is a deputy ingredient in Shen Fu Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Processed daughter root
Zhi Fu Zi It is warm and it strengthens the true Yang at the Gate of Vitality (Ming Men).
Together with Ginseng, it assists the Spleen which is responsible for
food and Body Fluids' transformation to Qi. It also support Qi circulating.
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 Shen Fu Tang is used by TCM practitioners to treat two 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:
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Shen Fu Tang treats cardiac failure" for instance. Rather, Shen Fu Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind cardiac failure.
Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Shen Fu Tang.
The Heart is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Heart in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Knotted (Jie), Minute (Wei), Hidden (Fu)
Shen Fu Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heart Yang Collapsing. This pattern leads to symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, shallow respiration and weak breath. Patients with Heart Yang Collapsing typically exhibit knotted (Jie), minute (Wei) or hidden (Fu) pulses.
This pattern is similar to Heart Yang Deficiency, but much severe. Therefore the clinical symptoms are quite similar. The key different manifestation is the cyanosis of the lips. It is because the Blood flow are impaired due to lacking of Yang Qi's moving force.
Coma happens in rare severe cases.... read more about Heart Yang Collapsing
'Yang' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Yang in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Scattered (San), Slow (Chi), Hidden (Fu)
Shen Fu Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Collapse of Yang. This pattern leads to symptoms such as listlessness, feeling of cold, cold limbs and bright-white complexion. Patients with Collapse of Yang typically exhibit scattered (San), slow (Chi) or hidden (Fu) pulses.
This is one of the five patterns of the Blood level, the fourth and last level of the Four Levels theory. This means this is a very serious pattern where an External Pathogen has penetrated deeply within the body.