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Traditional Chinese Medicine for the Digestive System

Traditional Chinese Codoniopsis, Poria, and Atractylodes Pills

The Chinese have relied on Codoniopsis, Poria, and Atractylodes Pills for years to alleviate diarrhea and other digestive ills. The formulation has even been used to treat chemotherapy patients.

Chinese name: Shen Ling Bai Zhu Pian (shen ling buy zhoo pyen)


Also known as: Codonopsis, Poria, and Atractylodes Pills


Digestive problems due to deficient spleen, such as loose stools, bloating, weak digestion, and belching


Tonifies spleen qi, clears dampness, harmonizes digestion


Shen Ling Bai Zhu Pian is a reliable treatment for chronic diarrhea or loose stools associated with qi deficiency. In such a pattern, the digestive dysfunction is due to internal weakness, not an infection from a virus, bacterium, or parasite.

Typically, the symptoms develop over an extended period and appear as indigestion, poor appetite, loose stools or diarrhea, fatigue, and a pale face. All are classic signs of spleen qi deficiency, an impairment of the body's ability to digest and absorb food. For this reason, the components of the patent either strengthen digestive function and vitality or act as an astringent to the intestines. Drawing fluids out of the colon helps make stools more firm.

This formula derives its name from three major ingredients: Shen refers to dang shen (Codonopsis pilosula), a tonic herb often used as an inexpensive substitute for ginseng. In addition to improving digestion, many herbs that tonify qi also act to fortify the immune system. In other words, these herbs build up the immune system to prevent illness. Dang shen helps the body fight off invading pathogens that threaten the immune system.

It has also shown an ability to increase the production of both red and white blood cells, which is especially significant for chemotherapy patients. Chemotherapy destroys some disease-fighting white blood cells in addition to cancer cells, reducing the body's ability to fight off disease. Chemotherapy often causes diarrhea and other digestive system symptoms as well.

The word Ling in the name refers to fu ling (Poria cocos), a wild fungus that grows around the roots of pine trees. It strengthens the spleen and harmonizes the digestive organs, assisting in fluid metabolism and promoting immune function. The words Bai Zhu refer to Atractylodes macrocephala, which is an aromatic qi tonic that strengthens spleen qi (the qi of digestion) and dries the damp gastrointestinal environment that leads to diarrhea. This herb also increases endurance and immune function.

Manufacturer: Plum Flower

Dosage: 6 to 12 pills, three times a day before meals

A properly functioning liver is essential to good health. For this reason, Chinese medicine has a specific formulation that regulates the liver. Learn more about this liver-soothing pill in the next section.

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