Poke Roots (Shang Lu) Water plantain (Ze Xie) Adzuki beans (Chi Xiao Dou) Pricklyash Seeds (Jiao Mu) Akebia stems (Mu Tong) Notopterygium roots (Qiang Huo) Areca peel (Da Fu Pi) Gentian roots (Qin Jiao)

Chinese: 疏凿饮子

Pinyin: Shū Záo Yǐn Zi

Other names: Dredging and Cutting Drink

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that drive out excess water

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Nephritis with EdemaIncreased intracranial pressure

  1. Purges and drives out Water
  2. Clears Wind
  3. Releases from the Exterior

Contraindications: The formula is solely recommended for Yang Excess related Edema. Edema caused... The formula is solely recommended for Yang Excess related Edema. Edema caused by Spleen or Kidney Deficiency must be treated with warming and tonifying formulations. It is not recommended to use the formula during pregnancy or in the absence of obvious indicators of Excess and Damp-Heat. see more

Source date: 1253 AD

Source book: Formulas to Aid the Living

Shu Zao Yin Zi is a 11-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Poke Roots (Shang Lu) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1253 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that drive out excess water. Its main actions are: 1) purges and drives out Water and 2) clears Wind.

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.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as nephritis with edema or increased intracranial pressure for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eleven ingredients in Shu Zao Yin Zi, we review the patterns and conditions that Shu Zao Yin Zi helps treat.

The eleven ingredients in Shu Zao Yin Zi

Shang Lu is a king ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Poke Roots (Shang Lu)

Part used: Root

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: BladderSpleenKidneyLung

Category: Cathartic herbs that drain downward

Shang Lu strongly moves the Qi downward, opening both the urinary passages and then bowels for driving out water. This herb is bitter, cold, and toxic.

Learn more about Poke Roots (Shang Lu)

Ze Xie is a deputy ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Part used: Dried tuber

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Ze Xie's main actions are as follows: "Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat"

In the context of Shu Zao Yin Zi, it is used because it is a diuretic herb that promotes urination and dispels Dampness through the Bladder.

Learn more about Water Plantain (Ze Xie)

Chi Xiao Dou is a deputy ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Adzuki Beans (Chi Xiao Dou)

Part used: Dried ripe fruits

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): SourSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Chi Xiao Dou is a diuretic herb that is specific for pathogens that have acquired form such as visible Edema instead of mere Dampness. It builds up the Spleen along with Red poria. This prevents damage normal Qi of body and supports the Qi dynamic. In combination with the key and deputy herbs, it guide out water from the Interior through the bowels.

Learn more about Adzuki Beans (Chi Xiao Dou)

Jiao Mu is a deputy ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Pricklyash Seeds (Jiao Mu)

Part used: Seeds

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderSpleen

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Jiao Mu's main actions are as follows: "Promotes and regulates urination so as to reduce. Clears Phlegm and relieves dyspnea. "

In the context of Shu Zao Yin Zi, it is used because it is indicated for Abdominal distention in addition to its Diuretic effects.

Learn more about Pricklyash Seeds (Jiao Mu)

Mu Tong is a deputy ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Akebia Stems (Mu Tong)

Part used: Dried stem

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

Mu Tong drains pathogens from the Small Intestine.  Comparing with the other diuretics Adzuki beans which targets pathogens that have visible forms such as edema, Akebia stem also invigorates the Blood. Due to the concerns regarding the potential nephrotoxic side effects of the variations of Akebia stem that is present in the marketplace, it is better to substitute another herb for it. Tetrapanax piths or Plantain seeds might be suitable.

Learn more about Akebia Stems (Mu Tong)

Qiang Huo is an assistant ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo)

Part used: Dried rhizome and root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Qiang Huo clears the Channels and Exterior, opens the pores and interstices, as well as promotes sweating. This results in draining the water clogging the skin and muscles and facilitates the Qi dynamic.

Learn more about Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo)

Da Fu Pi is an assistant ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Areca Peel (Da Fu Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLarge intestineSmall intestine

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Da Fu Pi's main actions are as follows: "Assists in the downward movement of Qi and relieves Food Stagnation. Removes Stagnation of Water by draining downward."

In the context of Shu Zao Yin Zi, it is used because it regulates the Qi by moving it downward.

Learn more about Areca Peel (Da Fu Pi)

Qin Jiao is an assistant ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Gentian Roots (Qin Jiao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderStomachLiver

Category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

Qin Jiao clears the Channels and Exterior, opens the pores and interstices, as well as promotes sweating. This results in draining the water clogging the skin and muscles and facilitates the Qi dynamic.

Learn more about Gentian Roots (Qin Jiao)

Bing Lang is an assistant ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Areca Nuts (Bing Lang)

Part used: Dried ripe seed

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: Large intestineStomach

Category: Herbs that expel parasites

In general Bing Lang's main actions are as follows: "Destroys parasites. Regulates Qi circulation. Promotes urination."

In the context of Shu Zao Yin Zi, it is used because it regulates the Qi by moving it downward.

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Fu Ling Pi is an assistant ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. Poria Skin (Fu Ling Pi)

Part used: Dry skin

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Fu Ling Pi's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness."

In the context of Shu Zao Yin Zi, it is used because it is a diuretic herb that promotes urination and dispels Dampness through the Bladder.

Learn more about Poria Skin (Fu Ling Pi)

Sheng Jiang is an assistant ingredient in Shu Zao Yin Zi. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

11. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang clears the Channels and Exterior, opens the pores and interstices, as well as promotes sweating. This results in draining the water clogging the skin and muscles and facilitates the Qi dynamic.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

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