Chinese name: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (loo way dee hwahng wahn)
Also known as: Six Flavor Tea; Six Ingredient Rehmannia Pills
Thirst, irritability, night sweats, insomnia, weak low back and knees
This is the classical base formula for all conditions of yin deficiency, especially of the liver and kidneys. Yin is moist, cool, and calm, and it enriches the organs and acts as a lubricant to bodily functions. When yin is deficient, chronic dryness and inflammation can occur. Yin deficiency can be compared with running a car that is low on oil: Under normal operating conditions, the lack of lubrication causes the engine to run hotter than normal; continued operation under these conditions can lead to long-term damage.
A variety of factors can cause yin to become deficient, such as overwork, lack of sufficient rest, insufficient fluid intake, stress, an overly dry environment, and excessive sexual activity. Symptoms of liver and kidney yin deficiency include a warm sensation in the sternum, palms, and soles of the feet; red cheeks; night sweats; a feeling of heat and irritability in the afternoon and evening; sore and weak low back and knees; ringing in the ears; chronic dry mouth; thirst; a reddish tongue with little or no coating; and a thin, rapid pulse.
By focusing on nourishing yin and clearing the heat from the deficiency, this formula subtly and elegantly treats this wide range of seemingly unrelated symptoms. It contains three ingredients that nourish yin and three that clear the deficiency heat.
The chief tonifying herb in the formula is Rehmannia glutinosa (di huang), an extremely important herb in the Materia Medica. In its raw state, it has a cold energy and is used to clear heat and nourish yin, making it useful in the treatment of high fevers and thirst due to diabetes. The prepared form is treated with wine to make it more nourishing to the blood and is used to treat anemia and menstrual difficulties and as an overall tonic to the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Another important ingredient in Rehmannia Teapills is Dioscorea, or Chinese yam (shan yao), a tonic to the lungs, stomach, and kidneys. It also induces the production of interferon, a substance manufactured by the immune system; interferon prevents viruses from replicating without disturbing normal cell function.
The third tonic herb is Cornus officinalis, or dogwood fruit (shan zhu yu), an astringent herb with a variety of actions: It is antiallergic, diuretic, antihypertensive, antitumor, antibacterial, and antifungal, and it increases the production of white blood cells. An astringent, it prevents further depletion of yin, preventing the excessive loss of semen, perspiration, urine, and uterine blood.
Another ingredient, Alisma plantago, or water plantain (ze xie), a strong diuretic and antibacterial herb, lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, another reason this formula is so effective in controlling diabetes. A sedating herb included in the formula is Poria cocos (fu ling), a diuretic herb that also has a calming effect on the body. It is one of the important herbs for stimulating the immune system; it induces interferon production and contains polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system to track down and destroy cells foreign to the body.
The final herb in the formula is moutan, or tree peony root bark (mu dan pi), an aromatic agent that cools the body on a number of levels. It kills Staphylococcus organisms, lowers blood pressure, and decreases body temperature.
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is a highly sophisticated formula that is useful in a wide variety of conditions. Numerous modifications to this base formula are available for specific conditions. Some of the disorders Liu Wei Di Huang Wan treats are diabetes, tuberculosis, hyperthyroidism, nephritis, hypertension, chronic urinary tract infection, and various degenerative diseases of the eyes. With some conditions, such as tuberculosis, Western pharmaceuticals are taken along with the herbs.
Note: Many of these conditions are life-threatening. As with all of the remedies in this book, the care of a qualified physician is essential while working with the herbs.
Manufacturer: Lanzhou Foci
Dosage: 8 to 16 pills, three times a day. Since this is a tonic formula, it should be taken for a few months.
Chinese Great Tonifying Pill, a general tonic for qi, blood, and immune function, lives up to its name. Continue reading for more on this effective Chinese medicine.
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