Tonify the spleen, the organ of digestion in TCM & eliminate damp heat
Astragalus / Huang Qi黃耆Astragalus membranaceus, Baical skullcap / Huang Qin 黃苓Radix scuttelaria, Liquorice / Gan Cao 甘草Glycyrrhiza glabra, Ginger / Sheng Jiang 生薑 Zingiber officinalis, Barberry / Xiao Bo 小檗 Berberis vulgaris, Siberian ginseng / Ci Wu Jia 刺五加 Eletherococcus senticosus, Wild yam / Shan Yao 山藥, Dioscorea villosa, Condonopsis / Dang Shen 党参Codonopsis pilosula.
Epigastric and/or abdominal pain or oppression
Lack of appetite
heaviness of the four limbs
Thirst with little/no desire to drink
Loose foul smelling stools possibly w/burning anus, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache
Mucous in stool
Thick greasy sticky yellow tongue coat
Slippery, rapid pulse
The Functions of the Spleen According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
The spleen or Pi in TCM is similar to its Western counterpart in that they both have a strong involvement in the production and destruction of red blood cells and storage of blood and a strong immune system. In TCM, the spleen is the foremost organ of digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients and maintenance of physical strength. It turns digested food from the stomach into usable nutrients and Qi. Symptoms of imbalance in the spleen include a lack of appetite, muscular atrophy (wasting), indigestion, abdominal fullness, bloating, jaundice, and inappropriate bleeding or bruising.
The spleen governs transformation and transportation. Once the stomach breaks down and digests food, the spleen transforms it into Qi and then transports this food essence to the other organs. The spleen plays an essential role in the production of blood as well. For this reason, fatigue (Qi deficiency) and anaemia (blood deficiency) are often attributed to a breakdown in the spleen's ability to transform food into qi and blood.
The spleen is also responsible for the "transformation of fluids": It assists in water metabolism, helping the body rid itself of excess fluid and moistening the areas that need it, such as the joints. If this function is disrupted, fluid disorders such as oedema or excessive phlegm can develop.
The spleen governs the blood. Considered the "foundation of postnatal existence," the spleen is the most important organ involved in the production of sufficient blood to maintain health. Healthy blood in TCM means good energy levels. Blood deficiency symptoms include pallor, fatigue, shortness of breath, tachycardia and insomnia. Please see also Carahealth Blood. Spleen Qi is also specifically responsible for keeping blood within the vessels. A weakness in this function can lead to chronic bleeding such as a tendency to bruise easily, or breakthrough bleeding in the middle of the menstrual cycle.
The spleen controls the muscles and four limbs. Since the spleen is responsible for transforming food into Qi and blood and transporting them throughout the body, proper functioning of the organ is essential to maintain muscle mass and strong limbs.
A person with deficient spleen Qi often experiences weakness and fatigue in the limbs. The spleen opens into the mouth and lips. If the spleen Qi is healthy, appetite is good, the lips are red and supple, and the sense of taste is sufficiently sensitive.
Spleen qi is said to move in an upward direction. All organs have a normal direction for their flow of Qi The flow of spleen Qi keeps other organs in their proper place. If spleen Qi is weak, then prolapse, or sagging, of the transverse colon, uterus, rectum, or stomach can result.
The spleen likes warmth and dislikes cold. From a western perspective, the digestive enzymes require warmth as a catalyst to break down food properly, therefore excessive consumption of cold foods and drinks can impair spleen function. Foods that are warming and easy to digest, such as stews, soups and gravies benefit spleen function. The fridge and raw food diets in cold climates are the enemy of the spleen.
Spleen and stomach damp heat syndromes are primarily a yellow-orange complexion, distension and fullness of the epigastrium and abdomen, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, aversion to greasy food, heaviness of the body, yellowish urine, loose stool profuse and yellowish leukorrhoea, yellowish and sticky tongue coating, slippery and rapid pulse. Damp heat accumulates in the skin causing a yellow-orange complexion. It also blocks the middle jiao causing symptoms of distension and fullness of the epigastrium and abdomen, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and version to greasy food. Excessive damp causes heaviness and tiredness of the body. Damp heat descending leads to profuse yellowish leukorrhea. Deep yellow urine, loose stool, yellowish and sticky tongue coating, and slippery pulse are signs of excessive damp heat.
Astragalus / Huang Qi 黃耆Astragalus membranaceus - Astragalus is an adaptogen, antibacterial, anti-cancer, cardiotonic, diuretic, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, pectoral, tonic, uterine tonic and vasodilator. Huang Qi is commonly used in Chinese herbalism. The root is a sweet tonic herb that stimulates the immune system and many organs of the body, whilst lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It is particularly suited to young, physically active people, increasing stamina and endurance and improving resistance to the cold. For younger people it is superior to ginseng in this respect. Huang Qi is used especially for treatment of the kidneys and also to avoid senility. It is used in the treatment of cancer, prolapse of the uterus or anus, abscesses and chronic ulcers, chronic nephritis with oedema and proteinuria. Recent research in the West has shown that the root can increase the production of interferon and macrophages and thus help restore normal immune function in cancer patients. Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy recover faster and live longer if given Huang Qi concurrently. It increases the production of blood cells. In TCM, astragalus 黃耆 is said to tonify spleen & lung Qi, raise Spleen & Stomach Qi and is used to treat prolapse, tonify Wei Qi to boost the immune system, tonify Qi & blood due to loss of blood to treat postpartum fever. Astragalus is specific for chronic cough.
Baical skullcap / Huang qin Radix scuttelaria – Baical skullcap is anti-allergic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, diuretic, sedative and vasodilatory. Radix scuttelaria has been found in clinical trials to inhibiting halitosis-correlated bacteria. There is also scientific evidence to support the use of Baical skullcap for allergies such as asthma, hay fever, eczema and nettle rash. This herb is used to treat fevers, coughs, and gastrointestinal infections that bring on diarrhoea. Modern research has also shown that baical skullcap is specifically anti-cancer as it is a natural RTK inhibitor. It is also a natural Cox inhibitor thereby reducing the inflammation that contributes to genetic mutation responsible for cancer formation. Specifically in regard to breast cancer, baical skullcap is a natural betaglucaronidase inhibitor, therefore inhibits the conversion of weak oestrogen to cancer promoting oestrogen in the bowel. In TCM Baical skullcap黃苓is said to be bitter and cold and to enter the gallbladder, large intestine, lung and stomach channels. It is said to clear heat and drain fire, especially from the upper jiao and is indicated for heat patterns with fever, irritability, thirst, cough, thick, yellow sputum, hot sores and swellings. Huang qin clears heat and dries damp and is indicated for damp heat in the stomach or intestines, diarrhoea, dysentery; damp warm-febrile disease with fever, stifling sensation in the chest, thirst with no desire to drink, lin syndrome (urinary tract infections) and jaundice. It also sedates liver yang rising and treat headache, irritability, red eyes, bitter taste, flushed face. Huang qin is also said to clear heat and calm foetus and is prescribed for restless foetus due to heat. Finally Huang qin sedates liver yang and treats headache, irritability, red eyes bitter taste and halitosis.
Liquorice Glycyrrhiza glabra – Liquorice is alterative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, pectoral and tonic. It is a very sweet, moist, soothing herb that detoxifies and protects the liver and is also powerfully anti-inflammatory, being used in conditions as varied as arthritis and mouth ulcers. The constituents, glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid, inhibit 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. This inhibition blocks metabolism of prostaglandins E and F2 alpha and may be responsible for peptic ulcer healing. Liquorice has also been shown to have a hormonal effect similar to the ovarian hormone. Liquorice root is much used in cough medicines and also in the treatment of catarrhal infections of the urinary tract. It is taken internally in the treatment of Addison's disease, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, peptic ulcers, gastric and duodenal ulcers, arthritis, allergic complaints and following steroidal therapy. In TCM liquorice 甘草 is said to be sweet, neutral and warm. It enters all 12 meridians but mainly the heart, lung, spleen and stomach meridians. Liquorice tonifies the spleen & stomach Qi and is used to treat digestive disorders, moisten the lungs and stops dry cough, tonifies the heart Qi to regulates pulse, clears heat & toxic fire, alleviates pain, stops spasms, harmonise & moderates the characteristics of other herbs and is an antidote for toxicity. It should be used in moderation and should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with high blood pressure, kidney disease or taking digoxin-based medication. Prolonged usage raises the blood pressure and causes water retention.
Ginger Zingiber officinalis – Ginger is antiseptic, antiflatulent, antitussive, antiemetic, antiinflammatory, adjuvant, diaphoretic, carminative, expectorant, peripheral circulatory stimulant, rubefacient, spasmolytic and sialagogue. It is indicated for poor circulation, chilblains and cramp and nausea. In feverish conditions Zingiber's diaphoretic action promotes perspiration. As a carminative it promotes gastric secretion and is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, flatulence and colic. It is also a useful remedy in diarrhoea where there is no inflammation or due to spleen Qi deficiency. It is stimulant to the gastro-intestinal tract, increasing peristalsis and the tone of the intestinal muscle. As an anti-emetic it can be used in cases morning sickness. It is also said to be useful for suppressed menstruation. Extracts of ginger stimulate the vasomotor and respiratory centres. Warming digestive tonic, this remedy will increase hydrochloric acid and improve iron absorption. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour effects on cells. Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavour, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. Lab experiments showed that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagocytosis (self-digestion). In TCM fresh ginger Sheng Jiang 生薑 is said to be pungent and warm and to enters the lung, spleen and stomach meridians. Primarily it protects the spleen from invasion by an overactive liver and tonifies and nourishes the spleen. It is said to release the exterior and disperse cold in middle jiao and is indicated for vomiting. It is also said to disperse cold phlegm in lungs and is indicated for chronic and acute cough. Ginger reduces toxicity of other herbs and adjusts ying and wei Qi for sweating without improvement.
Barberry Berberis vulgaris – Barberry is antibacterial, antipruritic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, appetiser, astringent, anticancer, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, hepatic, laxative, ophthalmic, purgative, refrigerant, stomachic and tonic. It is indicated for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. It ameliorates conditions such as gallbladder pain, gallstones and jaundice. It is indicated when there is cholecystis (inflammation of the gall-bladder) or in the presence of cholelithiasis (gallstones). Barberry is also indicated for jaundice due to a congested state of the liver. As a bitter tonic with mild laxative effects, it is used with weak or debilitated people to strengthen and cleanse the system. An interesting action is its ability to reduce an enlarged spleen. It acts against malaria and is also effective in the treatment of protozoal infection due to Leishmania spp. Barberry contains a constituent called Berberine which is strongly antibiotic, antispasmodic, immunostimulatory, carminative, cholerectic, hypotensive, uterine tonic, & and sedative. Berberine has showed some activity against fungal infections, candida, yeast, parasites, and bacterial/viral infections. It is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. Berberine has also shown anti-tumour activity and is also effective in the treatment of hypersensitive eyes, inflamed lids and conjunctivitis. The root bark has also been used as a purgative and treatment for diarrhoea and is diaphoretic. A tincture of the root bark has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, sciatica etc. In TCM barberry due to its berberine content is closely related to the plant known as Huang Lian or rhizome coptidis that is said to be bitter and cold and to enter the heart, spleen, stomach and large intestine meridians. It is said to be very drying and cold and is indicated to clear heat, dry damp and eliminate toxins from the middle jiao.
Siberian ginseng Eletherococcus senticosus– Siberian ginseng has been used for centuries in Eastern countries, including China and Russia. Prized for its ability to restore vigour, increase longevity, enhance overall health, and stimulate both a healthy appetite and a good memory, it is widely used to help the body adapt to stressful conditions and to enhance productivity. In Chinese medicine, it is valued for its beneficial effects on Qi and its ability to treat Yang deficiency in the spleen and kidney. Siberian ginseng is considered to be an adaptogen. This means it helps in stressful circumstances and also helps return the body to a normal balance. The active ingredients in Siberian ginseng, called eleutherosides, are thought to increase stamina and to stimulate the immune system. Siberian ginseng may help the body deal with physically and mentally stressful exposures, such as heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise, and pollution. In Chinese medicine it is known as cì wǔ jiā (刺五加) In TCM Ci Wu Jia is said to be sweet, slightly bitter and warm and to enter the spleen, lung, heart and kidney meridians. Ci wu jia tonifies Qi and fortifies the spleen and is indicated for lung and spleen Qi deficiency. It not only supplements spleen Qi and boosts lung Qi, but also dispels phlegm and eases shortness of breath. Ci wu jia tonifies the kidney to treat sore lower back and knees in kidney deficiency and warms and assists Yang Qi while strengthening sinew and bone. In TCM Ci wu jia is also used to treat impotence, growth retardation in children, and wind damp invasion (bi) patterns and to calm the spirit and treat heart and spleen deficiency, manifesting in insomnia or forgetfulness. Wild yam
Wild Yam Dioscorea villosa – Wild yam is anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, hepatic, cholagogue and diaphoretic. In western herbal medicine wild yam is used to relieve intestinal colic, to soothe diverticulitis, ease dysmenorrhoea and ovarian and uterine pains. It is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially the acute phase where there is intense inflammation. Wild yam was once the sole source of the raw materials for contraceptive pill, which is nowadays made from pregnant horses urine. In TCM Dioscorea is known as or Shanyao, 山藥, or Huai Shan 淮山. It is primarily known as a herb that drains damp. It is bitter and neutral and said to enter the liver and stomach, kidney and urinary bladder channels. Shanyao tonifies the Qi and Yin of the spleen and stomach and is indicated for deficiency of the spleen and stomach with lack of appetite and energy, loose stools, spontaneous sweating, abdominal distension after eating, and a pale tongue. Shanyao also tonifies the Lung Qi and Yin and is indicated for lung Qi and Yin deficiency syndromes characterised by chronic coughing and wheezing and no sputum or very small amounts of sticky sputum. Shanyao tonifies Yin and is nourishing, slightly astringent and not drying, therefore this herb is effective at treating Xiao Ke (wasting and thirsting syndrome). Shanyao also expels wind damp (cold and hot bi syndromes), relaxes the sinews and clears damp heat and is indicated for skin disorders including exudative eczema and pustular sores).
Condonopsis Codonopsis pilosula - Condonopsis is also known as dang shen 党参or poor man's ginseng. It is said to be sweet and neutral and enter the lung and spleen channels. Condonopsis is said to tonify the middle jiao, tonify blood to treat blood deficiency and enhances qi to treat lack of appetite, fatigue, thirst, diarrhoea, vomiting and polapse of uterus, stomach or rectum due to spleen deficiency. Medically it is found to stimulates nervous system, improves immune system, increases red blood cells, white blood cells, increases macrofage activity and raises blood sugar.
Purchasing and additional information
All herbs are 40 euro per bottle except for Carahealth Memory, Carahealth Antiageing, Carahealth Immune, Carahealth Male, Carahealth Adapt and Carahealth Anticancer, Carahealth Chemotherapy support and Carahealth Partus Prep which are 45 euro. Herbs are sold in a miniumum of 2 bottles at a time or one month supply (this can be a combination of 2 different tonics such as a Partus Prep and Birth Aid). This is because you will need a minimum of one month to see a real effect in chronic conditions, although if the herbal tonic is right for you, you should expect to see some improvement of your condition within the 2 weeks. Postage and packaging is 10 euro for 2 bottles to Ireland and UK. Contact me for postage rates to other countries. As a rough guide, I say for every year you have had a condition you need a month of treatment. The shop is in the process of being built, meanwhile, please email me your order and I will send you an invoice via PayPal. Herbs are posted on receipt of payment and delivery is 3-5 days.
All herbal tinctures come in 200ml bottles, taken at either 5ml 3 x day or 7 1/2 ml 2 x day. One bottle taken at this therapeutic dose will last 2 weeks. All herbs are either 1 in 1s or 1 in 2s meaning they are 1 part herb in 1 or 2 parts liquid respectively, as opposed to other herbs on the Irish and UK market which are either 1 in 3s or 1 in 5s. Therefore my tinctures are at least 2 x greater in strength and effectiveness. They are also organic or wildcrafted where available and I do not use endangered species.
Whilst the Carahealth Herbal Tincture range has been formulated to have no negative drug/herb interactions. If you are on medication, pregnant or breastfeeding, I recommend getting expert naturopathic advice on herbal contraindications and drug/herb interactions by booking a Skype consult. I accept no resposibility if you self-prescribe my herbs whilst taking medication or are pregnant or breastfeeding (although my Carahealth Partus Prep and Carahealth Birth Aid can be self-prescribed as they are specific for pregnancy). I can make a herbal tincture specifically for you that is safe in pregnancy, breastfeeding or if you are on medication. Or perhaps you are not on medications but would like a consult to ensure your self-prescription is correct and would like advice on diet, lifestyle and supplements.
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