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.
Zuo Gui Yin is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes the Yin and 2) tonifies the Kidneys.
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 Zuo Gui Yin is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency or Kidney Yin Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as absence of menstruation or menopausal syndrome for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the six ingredients in Zuo Gui Yin, we review the patterns and conditions that Zuo Gui Yin helps treat.
Shu Di huang is a king ingredient in Zuo Gui Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Prepared dried root tuber
Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency
Shu Di huang tonifies the true Yin of the five Yin Organs. In case of Yin Deficiency that causes Empty Fire to rise, the heaviness of Shu Di huang can direct it downward sufficiently. It can also be used for settling down restless movement and hard tension.
Shan Zhu Yu is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Gui Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried ripe sarcocarp
Category: Herbs that stabilize and bind
Shan Zhu Yu nourishes the Liver Blood and restrains the leakage of Essence. It performs the latter function by inhibiting the improper dispersion and drainage through the Liver, thereby enabling the Essence to build up in the Kidneys. It work synergistically with Shu Di huang and Goji berries.
Gou Qi Zi is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Gui Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried ripe fruit
Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency
Shan Yao is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Gui Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
In general Shan Yao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing."
Fu Ling is an assistant ingredient in Zuo Gui Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
Part used: Dried sclerotium
Category: Herbs that drain Dampness
In general Fu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit."
In the context of Zuo Gui Yin, it is used because it drains Dampness.
Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Zuo Gui Yin. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
In general Gan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs."
In the context of Zuo Gui Yin, it is used because it harmonizes all ingredients.
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 Zuo Gui Yin 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 "Zuo Gui Yin treats absence of menstruation" for instance. Rather, Zuo Gui Yin is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind absence of menstruation.
Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Zuo Gui Yin.
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)
Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating
Tongue color: Red
Symptoms: Tics Vertigo Fatigue Tinnitus Insomnia Dry eyes Dry hair Dry skin Dizziness Dry mouth Sore back Headaches Dry throat Dry vagina Dry stools Amenorrhea Joint pain Infertility Hot flushes Night sweats Blurred vision Scanty periods Delayed period Lower back pain Lightheadedness Tingling of limbs Diminished hearing Vertical headaches Occipital headaches Nocturnal emissions Chronic sore throat Hot palms and soles Numbness in the limbs Withered and brittle nails Heat in vaginal and vulvar Feeling of heat in the afternoon Spontaneous and nocturnal emissions Soreness and weakness in the lower back
Zuo Gui Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus, diminished hearing and lower back pain. Patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as Normal-coloured without coating or with rootless coating.
Liver Blood depends on Essence for nourishment, while Essence depends on Blood for replenishment. Both have a common source: Grain Qi derived from the Spleen. In terms of Five Elements, the Kidneys nourish the Liver.
The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)
Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating
Tongue color: Red
Tongue shape: Cracked
Symptoms: Anxiety Vertigo Itching Sweating Tinnitus Insomnia Dry hair Dry skin Back pain Tiredness Lassitude Dizziness Bone ache Sore back Dry mouth Depression Sore knees Weak knees Dry throat Dry tongue Dry stools Limbs pain Infertility Malar flush Poor memory Constipation Night sweats Little sperm Irritability Restlnessness Five palm heat Scanty periods Blurred vision Lower back pain Evening anxiety Weak lower back Feeling of heat Poor constitution Diminished hearing Nocturnal emissions Hot palms and soles Scanty dark urination Premature ejaculation Menopausal hot flushes Excessive sexual desire White vaginal discharge Dry mouth and throat at night Feeling of heat in the evening Low-grade fever in the afternoon Thirst with desire to drink in small sips
Zuo Gui Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as sweating, back pain, diminished hearing and dry mouth and throat at night. Patients with Kidney Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as Red tongue without coating, cracked in severe cases.
This pattern often accompanies Kidney Essence Deficiency, as Kidney Yin includes Essence. When both element are depleted in the Kidneys, not enough Marrow is generated to fill the Brain, thus the symptoms of dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo and poor memory. The dizziness is mild and the tinnitus is... read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency
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