SI JUN ZI TANG - FOUR GENTLEMEN TEA
Below is an analysis of a an extremely common formula. Qi deficiency is the imbalance/pathology for which it is prescribed so the definition of Qi Deficiency is presented first.
Pathology: Lung and Spleen Qi Deficiency
Breathlessness, weak voice, spontaneous sweating, poor or no appetite, tiredness, loose stools, Pulse: empty, Tongue: somewhat faded in color, SOB, No appetite, cough, abdominal distension, watery sputum, tiredness,weak voice, lassitude, dislike of speaking, pale complexion,day sweating, weakness of the limbs, bright white complexion, loose stools, catches colds easily, tiredness.
Remember: Illness = Imbalance, Health = Balance
A. General Treatment Principle is always: Restore
B. Specifically: Remove excess, Supplement deficiency.
C. Is there an Excess? No.
C. What is Deficient in our situation? Zhen Qi
D. Therefore the specific Treatment Priinciple is supplement/tonify Qi.
SI JUN ZI TANG - ROLES AND PROPERTIES OF INGREDIENTS
NOTE: CX = contra-indications
I. King - Ton Qi Category
A. Name: Ren Shen - Ginseng
B. King Actions: Tonifies Source Qi, Tonifies Lung & Spleen Qi.
C. Also generates fluids, slightly Tonifies Heart Qi, calms Shen.
D. CX - Yin Deficiency w/ Heat, Liver Yang Rising, hypertension.
II. Minister - Ton Qi category
A. Name: Bai Zhu - White Attractylodes
B. Minister Actions: Tonifies Qi, Tonifies Spleen, Resolves Damp.
C. Also: stabilizes the exterior-stops sweating, calms fetus.
D. CX - Yin Deficiency w/ heat.
III. Assistant - Drain Damp Category
A. Name: Fu Ling - Poria
B. Assistant Actions: Drain damp, Tonifies Spleen.
C. Also: Resolves Phlegm, calms Heart and Shen.
D. CX - Cold due to Yang Deficiency.
IV. Guide - Ton Qi Category
A. Name: Gan Cao - Licorice Root
B. Guide & Assistant Actions: enters all 12 main channels,
harmonizes herb combinations (mitigates harsh effects), Tonifies Spleen.
C. Also: Tonifies Heart Qi, Clears Heat & Toxins, Tonifies Lung Qi and stops cough, relaxes tendons and relieves spasms and pain, moderates actions of other herbs.
D. CX - excess Damp, Nausea/Vomiting
Analysis - Actions and Balance
I. Treatment Principles of Si Jun Zi Tang
Tonify the Qi, Regulate Damp.
I. Tonify Qi
This occurs predominantly via the Lungs and Spleen - the two sources of Qi. Ren Shen and Bai Zhu tonify the Spleen & Lung. Ren Shen tonifies Source Qi. Gan Cao assists in tonifying the Spleen.
II. Regulate Damp
1) Damp accumulates when Spleen Qi is deficient.
2) Excess Damp can result from Ren Shen generating fluids.
3) The Minister and both assistants Resolve Damp and Tonify the Spleen.
4)Fu Ling drains damp compensating/balancing for K&M.
The temperatures of the component herbs are sl. warm, warm, neutral, neutral. A Qi Deficient person is probably cool (Qi warms). The Temperatures of the component herbs therefore balance each other.
slightly bitter, bitter, sweet.
A Qi Deficient person is likely to have Excess Damp. Also, Excess Damp results from Ren Shen generating fluids. The energetic actions associated with Bitter are drying and purging. The energetic action associated with Sweet is tonifying. Drying and purging will help to resolve Damp. Sweet and Spleen are both Earth correspondents. Sweet herbs will tonify the Earth Element. When the Spleen is tonified it will regulate Damp more effectively.
Ren Shen enters the Spleen, Stomach, Lung, and Heart channels to tonify those organs. Bai Zhu enters the Spleen and Lung channels to Tonify those organs. Fu Ling enters the Spleen, Stomach, and Heart channels to tonify those organs. Gan Cao enters all twelve channels carrying the Qi of the King, Minster and Assistant herbs along with it.
There are two objectives of this section. The first is to introduce the lay person to Chinese Herbology. The second is to demonstrate the complexity of the formulas. After even a cursory study of the example above it should be apparent that a lay person should consult a professional before using Chinese medicinal herbs.