Milkvetch roots (Huang Qi) Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Saposhnikovia roots (Fang Feng)

Chinese: 玉屏风散

Pinyin: Yù Píng Fēng Sǎn

Other names: Jade Windscreen Powder

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that tonify Qi

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Bronchial asthmaAllergic rhinitisGlomerulonephritis and two other conditions

  1. Augments the Qi
  2. Stabilizes the Exterior
  3. Stops sweating

Contraindications: Although the formula disperses pathogenic Wind-Dampness, it is unsuitable for... Although the formula disperses pathogenic Wind-Dampness, it is unsuitable for treating Excess patterns. It is because it focuses on preventing pathogenic Qi from entering the body, not on dispersing pathogenic Qi from the body. Therefore, unless significantly modified, it is not suited for releasing pathogenic Qi from the Exterior in Excess patterns even where such Excess occurs against a background of Qi Deficiency. see more

Source date: 1213 AD

Source book: Researching Original Formulas

Yu Ping Feng San is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1213 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi. Its main actions are: 1) augments the Qi and 2) stabilizes the Exterior.

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 Yu Ping Feng San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Protective Qi Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, glomerulonephritis or allergic rhinitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the three ingredients in Yu Ping Feng San, we review the patterns and conditions that Yu Ping Feng San helps treat.

The three ingredients in Yu Ping Feng San

Huang Qi is a king ingredient in Yu Ping Feng San. 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: LungSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Huang Qi is an extremely powerful in strengthening the Qi and stabilizing the Exterior. It tonifies the superficial or Exterior aspects of the Lungs and Spleen. It enters the Lungs to tonify the Qi, and enters the Exterior to firm up the Protective Qi. It is one of the most important Qi tonifying herbs.

Learn more about Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi)

Bai Zhu is a deputy ingredient in Yu Ping Feng San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Bai Zhu strengthens the Spleen and augments the Qi. It reinforces the actions of the key herb and strengthens the metal Lungs by cultivating the earth Spleen. The combination of the key and deputy herbs generate Qi by tonifying the Spleen, which is the source of Qi and Blood. It also stops sweating. The Exterior is thereby stabilized, and sweat will no longer leak from the interstices and pores. This also prevents pathogenic influences from easily penetrating the outer defenses of the body.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Fang Feng is an assistant ingredient in Yu Ping Feng San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: BladderLiverSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Fang Feng disperses Wind while tonifying at the same time. It circulates in the Exterior of the body where it expels Wind without damaging the Body Fluids, therefore the Lungs is not injured. In concert with key herb, it stabilizes Exterior without causing the pathogenic influences to linger, and expels pathogenic influences without harming the normal Qi.

Learn more about Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Yu Ping Feng San is used to treat Protective 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 Yu Ping Feng San is mostly used to treat the pattern "Protective Qi Deficiency" which we describe below.

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

Recurrent upper respiratory tract infections Glomerulonephritis Allergic rhinitis Chronic urethritis Bronchial asthma

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Yu Ping Feng San treats recurrent upper respiratory tract infections" for instance. Rather, Yu Ping Feng San is used to treat Protective Qi Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind recurrent upper respiratory tract infections.

Now let's look at Protective Qi Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Yu Ping Feng San.

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

Protective Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu), Soggy (Ru)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Symptoms: Pale tongue Recurrent colds Bright-pale face Spontaneous sweating

Yu Ping Feng San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Protective Qi Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as spontaneous sweating, recurrent colds, bright-pale face and pale tongue. Patients with Protective Qi Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu), floating (Fu) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

This pattern is characterized by a weakness in the body's external defenses due to a Deficiency in Protective Qi. The Lungs, which govern qi, skin, and body hair, play a crucial role in guarding the body against pathogenic influences by controlling the protective qi. They regulate the opening and... read more about Protective Qi Deficiency

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