Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Coco-grass rhizomes (Xiang Fu) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi)

Yue Ju Wan

Chinese: 越鞠丸

Pinyin: Yuè Jū Wán

Other names: Escape Restraint Pill

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that promote Qi movement

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: MigraineEpilepsyGallstones and eleven other conditions

  1. Promotes the movement of Qi
  2. Releases all types of Stagnation (Qi, Blood, Phlegm, Fire, Food and Dampness)

Contraindications: Contraindicated for Stagnation cases due to Deficiency.

Source date: 1481 AD

Source book: Essential Teachings of [Zhu] Dan-Xi

Yue Ju Wan is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu) and Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement. Its main actions are: 1) promotes the movement of Qi and 2) releases all types of Stagnation (Qi, Blood, Phlegm, Fire, Food and Dampness).

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 Yue Ju Wan is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Liver Qi Stagnation, Phlegm or Qi Stagnation. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as low breast milk supply, menopausal syndrome or peptic ulcers for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Yue Ju Wan, we review the patterns and conditions that Yue Ju Wan helps treat.

The five ingredients in Yue Ju Wan

Bai Zhu is a king ingredient in Yue Ju Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Bai Zhu releases Qi-Stagnation and clears Dampness and Phlegm. It also helps relieve the symptoms of focal distention in the chest and copious sputum.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Chuan Xiong is a king ingredient in Yue Ju Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chuan Xiong's main actions are as follows: "Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches."

In the context of Yue Ju Wan, it is used because it helps remove Blood Stagnation and the pain typically associated with it.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Xiang Fu is a deputy ingredient in Yue Ju Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiverSanjiao

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

Xiang Fu is extremely effective at resolving issues caused by Qi Stagnation. It is a herb that's often used to treat gynecological disorders because it is said to enter the Blood aspect of Qi.

Learn more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Zhi Zi is an assistant ingredient in Yue Ju Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

4. Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

Zhi Zi clears Heat from all the Three Burners and resolves the Heat generated by the Stagnation and its associated symptoms (like the acid reflux).

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Shen Qu is an assistant ingredient in Yue Ju Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

5. Medicated Leaven (Shen Qu)

Part used: This is a fermented combination of wheat flour, Artemisia annua, Xanthium, Polygonum hydropiper and other herbs.

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Herbs that relieve Food Stagnation

In general Shen Qu's main actions are as follows: "Assists the Stomach in removing Food Stagnation. Harmonizes the Earth element and improves digestion."

In the context of Yue Ju Wan, it is used because it helps clear food Stagnation and it harmonizes the Stomach.

Learn more about Medicated Leaven (Shen Qu)

Conditions and patterns for which Yue Ju Wan may be prescribed

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 Yue Ju Wan 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:

Low breast milk supply Menopausal syndrome Peptic ulcers Irritable bowel syndrome Chronic gastritis Biliary tract infections Gallstones Chronic hepatitis Intercostal neuralgia Migraine Globus hystericus Epilepsy Cerebral thrombosis Depression

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Yue Ju Wan treats low breast milk supply" for instance. Rather, Yue Ju Wan is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind low breast milk supply.

Now let's look at the three patterns commonly treated with Yue Ju Wan.

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Qi Stagnation

Yue Ju Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Qi Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as depression, irregular menstruation, menstrual cramps and irritability. Patients with Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a normal (light red) tongue.

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. This affects not only the Liver, but other connected Organs too as well as the Seven Emotions.

Liver Qi Stagnation is not only the most seen Liver disharmony, but also... read more about Liver Qi Stagnation

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm

Yue Ju Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm. This pattern leads to symptoms such as chest pressure, nausea, dizziness and feeling of heaviness. Patients with Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick coating.

Phlegm has a great importance in Chinese Medicine as it is both a condition in and of itself as well as a cause for other diseases.

The main cause for the formation of Phlegm is Spleen Deficiency since the Spleen rules the transformation and transportation of Body Fluids. If this function is... read more about Phlegm

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

Qi Stagnation

Yue Ju Wan is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Qi Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as moving pain, depression, irritability and mood swings. Patients with Qi Stagnation typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red sides tongue with thin white coating.

If the flow of Qi is impeded in any way, it becomes stuck or stagnant. This can be likened to a traffic jam on the freeway. That's why, unlike in the cases of Qi Deficiency or Qi Sinking, tonification is contraindicated: it would be like adding more cars to the traffic jam. Instead, Qi moving or... read more about Qi Stagnation

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