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.
Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm Yang and tonify. Its main action is that it tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.
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 Qi Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Kidney Yang Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as late menstruation, diabetes mellitus or hyperaldosteronism for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eight ingredients in Shen Qi Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Shen Qi Wan helps treat.
Zhi Fu Zi is a king ingredient in Shen Qi Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Processed daughter root
Zhi Fu Zi is acrid and strongly warming. It tonifies the Fire of Gate, dispels Cold, and eliminates Dampness. It also strongly promotes movement and reaches down to the source to warm chronic Cold. Together, Zhi Fu Zi and Cinnamon twigs not only assist the Yang and enhance the metabolism of water, but also promote the unhindered dispersion of Yang throughout the body. The relatively small dosage of these ingredients suggests that they are intended only to slightly generate Yang in order to strengthen the Kidney Qi.
Gui Zhi is a king ingredient in Shen Qi Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried young branches
Gui Zhi is acrid, sweet, and warm. It tonifies Yang, expels Cold and strengthens the Fire of the Gate of Life. It benefits the joints, warms the channels, and unblocks the vessels. It also promotes Qi transformation in the Bladder. Some sources have Rou Gui (Cinnamon bark) instead of Gui Zhi.
Part used: Prepared dried root tuber
Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency
Shu Di huang is sweet and cooling. It enriches the Yin and generates Body Fluids. Its large dosage relative to the other ingredients reflects the importance of tonifying the Kidneys and replenishing the Yin, It also strongly enriches the Kidney Essence.
Part used: Dried ripe sarcocarp
Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind
Shan Zhu Yu tonifies the Liver and Kidneys, thereby helping to preserve the essential Qi while nourishing the Yin and reinforcing the Blood. Strengthening the Kidney Qi is beneficial to its role as repository of the body's Yin and Yang. It also ensures that nourishment will be supplied to the Liver, which derives its Essence from the Kidneys. The supply of Yin and Essence to the Liver serves to facilitate the free and smooth operation of its spreading function. It also restrains the leakage of Essence. It performs this function by inhibiting the improper dispersion and drainage through the Liver, thereby enabling the Essence to build up in the Kidneys.
Part used: Dried rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Shan Yao is Sweet and bland. It stabilizes the Essence by tonifying the Spleen. To reinforce the Essence and improve its function, the Spleen which is the source of postnatal Essence, must function properly. It is effective in treating Deficiency and various consumptive patterns.
Part used: Dried tuber
Category: Herbs that drain Dampness
Ze Xie clears and drains the overabundance of Kidney fire. It is used here to prevent the rich, cloying properties of the chief herb Prepared rehmannia from congesting the mechanisms of the Kidneys, which will induce
even more fire from Deficiency.
Part used: Root barks
Category: Herbs that cool the Blood
Part used: Dried sclerotium
Category: Herbs that drain Dampness
Fu Ling leaches out Dampness from the Spleen. It is paired with Yam to strengthen the transportive functions of the Spleen. This prevents the formula from clogging up the digestive process and reinforces the Spleen's function of nourishing the body. Fu Ling and Water plantain work together to improve the metabolism of Body Fluids an promote urination, thereby preventing a buildup of Stagnant Fluids.
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 Qi Wan is mostly used to treat the pattern "Kidney Yang Deficiency" which we describe below.
But before we delve into Kidney Yang Deficiency here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:
Late menstruation Diabetes mellitus Hyperaldosteronism Hypothyroidism Addison's disease Chronic glomerular Pyelonephritis Renal tuberculosis Nephritis Renal stones Cystitis Chronic urethritis Benign prostatic hypertrophy Paralysis of the detrusor muscle Urinary retention Vitreous opacity Chronic rhinitis Chronic tonsillitis Neurogenic tinnitus Periodontal disease Premature ejaculation Emphysema Chronic bronchitis Bronchial asthma Cataract Glaucoma
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Shen Qi Wan treats late menstruation" for instance. Rather, Shen Qi Wan is used to treat Kidney Yang Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind late menstruation.
Now let's look at Kidney Yang Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Shen Qi Wan.
The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)
Tongue coating: Thin white coating
Tongue color: Pale
Tongue shape: Swollen
Symptoms: Edema Asthma Chills Dysuria Coughing Tinnitus Impotence Sore back Dizziness Pale face Back pain Dark face Tiredness Knee pain Cold limbs Depression Weak Limbs Weak knees Infertility Late period Hot flushes Poor memory Fear of cold Loose stools Incontinence Night sweats Spermatorrhea Poor appetite Abdominal pain Scanty periods Sore lower back Lower back pain Premature aging Feeling of cold Aversion to cold Cold extremities Oedema of ankles Frequent urination Urinary difficulty Pale color periods Abdominal fullness Persistent diarrhea Nocturnal emissions Cold hands and feet Premature menopause Pale menstrual blood Prostatic hypertrophy Scanty clear urination Absence of menstruation Thin and watery periods Lower abdominal pressure Thin body lacking strength Spasms of the lower abdomen Cold in the lower extremities Edema of the lower extremities Weakness and aching in the knees Exhaustion from long-term illness Weakness of the lower extremities Thin and watery vaginal discharge Soreness and weakness in the lower back Cold sensation in the lower half of the body
Shen Qi Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Yang Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as abdominal pain, sore lower back, cold limbs and edema. Patients with Kidney Yang Deficiency typically exhibit deep (Chen) or slow (Chi) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.
Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness. It indicates that the Fire of the Gate of Life, which is located between the two Kidneys and supplies fundamental warmth for the body, is also impaired. Therefore, the Organs lack warmth and cannot fully perform their functions.... read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency