Michael Tierra L.Ac., O.M.D.

The Lungs rule Qi, have a dispersing and descending function and are directly connected to the exterior environment. This makes them vulnerable to external invasion of Pernicious Influences. Because of this, patterns of Lung disharmony include External as well as internal conditions.

Causes for Lung Disharmonies: Pathogenic Influences: The Lungs are the only Internal Organ that has direct contact with the outer environment through breathing, controlling the skin and influencing Defensive Qi. Being vulnerable to External Pernicious Influences, they are regarded as the “sensitive,” or the “princess,” of the Organs. Any of the External Pernicious Influences can invade – Wind, Heat, Fire, Cold, Damp, and Dryness, although Wind 2 generally combines with any of the other factors. Thus, exposure to any of these Influences, or to environments in homes or work places where these are present, can cause any of the external patterns of disharmony.


Emotions: Grief, worry and sadness in excess can have a profoundly debilitating affect on the Lungs, being a precipitating cause of conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, frequent colds and flus or pneumonia.


Diet: Diet is very important to Lung health, as it is to all the Organs. Excessive consumption of cold, raw and damp foods, such as salads, fruits, juices, dairy, wheat, iced or refrigerated drinks and foods, causes Dampness3 in the Spleen which is often “stored” in the Lungs. This is why Lung Dampness, manifested as certain types of bronchitis and asthma, can often be healed by moving to a dryer environment, eliminating foods such as dairy and various fruit juices like orange juice from the diet and taking herbs that contain Citrus and Pinellia (Citrus and Pinellia Combination) that eliminate Spleen Dampness.


Lifestyle Habits: Exercise stimulates Fire in the body and is essential in moving the Iymphatic system and drying Dampness. Those who’s work or inclination involves lack of physical activity will be especially susceptible to Damp accumulation caused by injury to the Spleen and Lungs. Coldness ultimately tends to inhibit circulation, which further slows the Iymphatic system and leads to Dampness. Sudden exposure to Cold, Heat and Damp may not give the body sufficient time to prepare for the climatic changes and eventually can compromise the immune system. Finally, mucus-forming foods such as dairy and flour products, denatured foods such as white sugar and Damp-natured foods such as citrus and fruit juices can weaken the body and cause External invasion.

The Chinese concept of ‘Wind’ implies something that travels or changes. In some instances it suggests the process of infectious diseases, at the same time it suggests the nervous system’s ability to control the dilation and contraction of the pores of the skin. Internal Wind refers to the nervous system, especially the Central nervous system of the brain.

Dampness, or Phlegm, according to Chinese medical theory comes from weak or incomplete digestion and assimilation that refers to Spleen Qi. Since the Lungs require a significant amount of lubrication to offset their constant drying influence from air, it is reasonable that most of the residual Spleen Dampness would first go to the Lungs. If there is too much, therefore, the Lungs are often the first place to be adversely effected.

Physiological explanation for the traditional assignments for the lungs


The Lungs Rule Qi


The process of creating energy is a metabolic process that involves and requires oxygen and in turn produces carbon dioxide as a waste. Oxygen from the lungs combines with iron and is necessary for the creation of oxyhaemoglobin or oxygenated erythrocytes. Energy is stored as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and heat. Heat is necessary to maintain the body for the optimum level of chemical activity (about 98.4 degrees F. or 36.9 degrees C).


The Lungs Control the Channels and the Blood Vessels


The process of inspiration is active and requires energy for muscle contraction. Upon inhalation the diaphragm is pushed down and puts pressure on the abdomen and all its contents including the intra-abdominal veins. At the same time, pressure in the thorax decreases. This includes a decrease of pressure in the intra-thoracic veins and right atrium of the heart. With a decrease of outer thoracic pressure, there is an increase of pressure between the peripheral veins and the heart. The deeper the inspiration as in exercise, Qi Gung and deep breathing exercise, the more blood transported from the peripheral veins to the heart. All of this results in increased oxygen to the cells for the metabolism of energy and the greater the release of carbon dioxide waste.


The Lungs Control Dispersing and Descending


The dispersing function of the lungs refers to the transportation of the bulk of oxygen throughout the body to maintain a continuous oxygen supply to all cells.


The Lungs Control the Skin and body Hair


The bulk of oxygen absorbed from the lungs combines with iron (the metal element) to be transported around the body forms oxyhaemoglobin, giving blood its characteristic red color. Therefore, the level of hemoglobin and the amount of blood circulating in the dermis give the skin its pink color. The condition of the skin and the associated hair follicles are influenced by the hemoglobin circulating in the skin.


The Lungs Open to the Nose


The nose is considered the ‘doorway to the lungs.’ Breathing deeply through the nose has the effect of sending the external air through the nasal passages, resulting in a greater capacity of the body to trap airborne pathogens as well as warm the breath more effectively for better assimilation of oxygen in the lungs. It is obvious that any aspect of the nasal-pharyngeal passages that impairs the intake of air, will have a negative effect on the lungs.


The Lungs Abhor Dryness


From the nasal passages down to through the bronchioles and lungs, the dehydrating effect of air is occurring. As a result the relation of the spleen to the lungs means that any byproduct of non-fully metabolized food is transformed to mucus. Since the bulk of the lubricating effects of mucus are actually needed by these respiratory passages, they tend to accumulate there. Food deprivation, or foods that lack calories and bulk, lighter, more eliminative foods such as fruits, vegetables together with drying and astringent foods and spicy foods, (the flavor of the lungs) will promote lung dryness. Any excess of these can injure the lungs by depriving them of sufficient mucus to maintain proper lubrication (called lung yin).


The Lungs House the Corporeal Spirit


The Corporeal Spirit or “Po” as it is called in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the very spirit of life. This in contrast to the Ethereal soul or “Hun” housed in the liver and is responsible for the pure expression of being. While the Po represents the physical aspect of spirit, the objectifying “what and how we are,” the Hun represents manifestation of the deeper spirit or more closely “who” we are and thus is most closely associated to Shen or spirit. The Po is related to the lungs and is corresponds to the breath of life manifesting as physical energy. The Po is connected to all our life promoting automatic responses, the most fundamental of which is the act of breathing. Of course it does other things as well such as maintaining bodily rhythms, metabolism and homeostasis. As the moment of conception the Po becomes active and controls Hun. In other words, the expression of our feelings and emotions in utero is non-existent as all physiological life processes are governed by PO while Hun is dormant. Upon birth Po and Hun separate and we see that upon the first breath, there is often the expression of crying. Actually this also helps to promote the process of respiration but who could not associate the first tears of birth with an expression of spirit. Upon death, Hun returns to the realm of heaven (pure being) while Po dissolves with the physical body and returns to earth.

The relation of Po to the lungs extends from the control of breathing to the greater sense of moment to moment self maintenance. Po imparts the sense of detachment that allows one to remain in the moment. It is the ability to receive and release whatever is or is not needed with each inhaled and exhaled breath.

An expression of Po may have to do with our ability to experience pleasure or pain without dwelling on either which in the case of pain involves suffering, a negative expression of Hun. Many times if we can separate our pain from our suffering response to it, the pain becomes less and consequently the ability of Po to maintain and regenerate the body is optimized. Po is often called the Animal Spirit exemplified by the ability of animals to remain in the moment with their experience of pain. At the same time, they have a much less developed sense of Hun that requires a higher order of associative intelligence allowing them to suffer as a result of attaching significance to their pain. Dwelling on pleasure on the other hand leads to suffering when it is no longer happening.


The Lungs Loathe Cold


The entire metabolic process involving the creation of energy is slowed under the influence of cold. The effect of cold actually slows the process of alveolar ventilation in the lungs responsible for the assimilation of oxygen into the blood.


The Lungs Govern the Voice


The process of speech is all done on an exhaled breath. Weakness of the lungs, is reflected in general qi or energy deficiency that causes our diaphragmatic muscle to be weaker. As a result we are unable to sufficiently project our voice.


The Emotion of the Lungs are Grief and Sadness


The movement of air in the lungs is responsible for the expression of a number of emotions including laughing and crying. Laughter pushes the diaphragm and causes upward pressure on the lungs and results in a more forceful and gratuitous expulsion of air. The emotion of sadness and grief often causes one to hold one’s breath for prolonged periods, oxygen uptake is decreased and metabolism is slowed. This may be followed by a compensatory process of sobbing and crying which is an attempt by the body to compensate for the loss of life giving air and oxygen. Stored carbon dioxide, in the tissues is released along with the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles causing stiffness and pain. A greater ease is generated throughout the body. These are perhaps only some of the physiological reasons that either crying or laughing tend to make one feel better. Obviously a prolonged condition of oxygen deprivation may not only slow a part of the process of air and oxygen intake, but lower the immune system, slow digestion and metabolism (the “I’m not hungry” and weight loss accompanying those who are grieving) and the buildup of metabolic waste.


External Patterns


Invasion of the Lungs by Wind-Cold


This pattern is one of Wind and Cold Pernicious Influences invading and obstructing the Lungs. The descending function is disrupted, causing cough and -a runny or stuffed nose, and the dispersing function is impaired, resulting in sneezing. When Wind-Chill attacks the Defensive Qi, the pores try to stay closed in the “battle” against the attack, resulting in lack of perspiration, fever, chills, body aches and aversion to cold. However, in this case the chills are stronger from the Cold invasion.

This pattern occurs from over-exposure to a cold and possibly windy environment, air conditioning, drafts or refrigerated store-rooms. Further, it can occur if there is a weakness of the Defensive, or “Wei”, energy, thus allowing the External Influences to more easily and frequently invade the body. Finally, the nature of External acute conditions is that they can change quickly, and can move back and forth from Wind Heat to Wind Cold, or vice versa.

  • aversion to cold
  • sneezing
  • slight fever strong chills
  • body aches cough with thin, watery sputum
  • lack of sweating
  • itchy throat
  • stuffed or runny nose with clear-watery mucus
  • occipital headache
  • Pulse: floating, tight
  • Tongue: thin white coat


Herbal Therapy: Trikatu, ginger tea, garlic, Nine Herbs with Notopterygii Decoction (Jiu Wei Qiang huo Tang), Ephedra Combination (Ma huang tang) for Excess conformation or when there is no sweating, Pueraria Combination (Ge gen tang) for middle strength constitutions or when there is accompanying tight neck and shoulders, Cinnamon Combination (Gui zhi tang) for Deficient types or when there is sweating. ‘Trikatu’ is a traditional Ayurvedic preparation easily made at home for Coldness and Dampness There are many variations, but all are based on the idea of combining three spices, usually powdered and taken with honey. The standard preparation is equal parts powdered black pepper, pippali pepper (Chinese “bibo”) and dry ginger in a honey-based paste. Anywhere from a half to a full teaspoon is taken two or three times daily. For children, Pippali pepper can be substituted with two parts anise seed.

Food Therapy: Eat all cooked foods, keeping them simple, such as soups of grains or black beans with garlic and onions, vegetables and a little chicken. Avoid all else until healed.

Other Therapies: Avoid exposure to air conditioning, drafts, cold and windy environments; dress warmly to conserve the body’s heat and immune potential. One of the places that are most exposed is the neck and shoulders so that in cold, windy environment, a warm scarf is good protection. Again, to support the immune system that emanates from the power of the Kidneys, a Harimake will be gratefully appreciated in cold environments. In addition, therapies such as cupping and moxibustion over the upper back, chest, kidneys and lower abdomen is useful; breathing exercises; morning saline nasal wash; ginger fomentation, onion poultice or mustard plaster over the chest are traditional methods that can be employed with great benefit.

Exercise: Bed rest

Invasion of Lungs by Wind-Heat

Similar to invasion of the Lungs by Wind-Chill, in this case the Wind enters with Heat5, such as high fever, sweating and aversion to heat as part of the symptom complex. It can be caused by exposure to climatic Heat and possibly Wind, overly heated environments in the home and work place, or Wind-Cold conditions changing to Heat.

  • fever aversion to cold
  • sore throat
  • slight chills stuffy or runny nose with yellow mucus
  • perspiration
  • thirst
  • constipation dark urine swollen tonsils body aches
  • headache cough with yellow mucus
  • Pulse: floating and rapid
  • Tongue: red on the sides or tip with a white or yellow coat

Herbal Therapy: Lonicera and Forsythia (Yin Qiao San),

Heat. of course, refers to bacterial or viral pathogens.

Food Therapy: Keep the diet simple, perhaps fasting on fruit or vegetable juices or soups, such as rice and black or mung beans. Avoid all else until healed. Other Therapies: Avoid exposure to overly heated and perhaps windy environments and climates; do cupping over the upper back, breathing exercises as appropriate and onion poultices over the chest.

Exercise: Bed rest


Cold Dampness Obstructing the Lungs


This pattern can occur from an External Damp Pernicious Influence attacking the body, or from any External Influence invading and mixing with a preexisting chronic disharmony of Deficient Spleen or Kidney Qi. The result is an accumulation of Dampness, causing Phlegm and obstruction of the Lung functions. In this case, the Dampness is accompanied by Cold and thus, Cold signs. It is caused by lowered immunity, Deficient Spleen Qi or Yang and possibly Deficient Kidney Qi, and a diet high in cold, raw foods and drinks.

  • chronic cough with profuse white sputum
  • wheezing or asthma with copious white sputum chest and flank stuffiness
  • distension and soreness difficulty in breathing, especially when Lying down
  • white-pasty complexion shortness of breath or breathlessness
  • Pulse: slippery and weak-floating or fine
  • Tongue: thick, greasy white coat

Herbal Therapy: Citrus and Pinellia Combination (Er chen tang)

Food Therapy: Only eat and drink cooked warm foods and fluids, keeping them simple, such as soups. Some spicy tasting things can be helpful, such as ginger tea or horseradish. Avoid all else until healed. When over the acute stage, eat a diet of only cooked foods and warm drinks, avoiding cold raw and damp foods, such as dairy and flour products, salads, fruits, fruit and vegetable juices (especially orange juice), refined foods such as white sugar, and refrigerated or iced foods and drinks.

The inside juice part of the orange is both Cold and Damp while the outer peel is spicy and drying. For this reason, the Brahman sects in India are taught from a young age to always eat a part of the peel of any fruit that is peeled. In this case, warming and drying citrus peel is an antidote for the Cold Dampness of the inner fruit.

Other Therapies: Onion and/or ginger poultices over the chest; cupping on chest or over upper back; moxibustion in the same areas; nasal wash; keep warmly dressed, with a neck scarf and a harimaki, and avoid exposure to cold, damp and windy environments.

Exercise: Bed rest


Phlegm Heat Obstructing the Lungs


This is similar to Cold Damp Obstructing the Lungs, but it is accompanied by Heat instead. It can be caused by an External Damp or Wind-Heat Pernicious Influence attacking the body and mixing with a preexisting chronic disharmony of Deficient Spleen Qi. It results in an accumulation of Dampness and Heat, causing Phlegm and obstruction of the Lung functions. It is caused by lowered immunity, Deficient Spleen Qi and a diet high in hot, greasy, spicy, fried foods, meat, alcohol and tobacco.

  • cough with profuse yellow or green sputum which is foul-smelling
  • shortness of breath wheezing or asthma with copious yellow or green sputum
  • chest and flank stuffiness, distension and soreness difficulty in breathing, especially when Iying down shortness of breath or breathlessness
  • Pulse: slippery, rapid or slippery, rapid-floating
  • Tongue: thick, greasy yellow coat

Herbal Therapy: MaHuang and Apricot Seed Combination (Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang) and Citrus and Pinellia Combination (Er chen tang) with scutellaria, gardenia, apricot seed and platycodon.

Food Therapy: Simple soups or vegetable juice fast until healed. When over the acute stage, avoid: alcohol, red meat, tobacco, spicy, greasy and fried foods and dairy.

Other Therapies: Cupping over the chest or upper back; onion poultice; nasal wash; breathing exercises as appropriate.

Exercise: Bed rest


Internal Patterns


Deficient Lung Qi


When Lung Qi is Deficient, there is tiredness, weakness, cough, sweating and a propensity to catching colds and flus, because the Qi cannot adequately perform its protecting, dispersing or descending functions. It can be caused by a prolonged External Pernicious Influence (heat, cold, wind, fear, shock, dampness, dryness, summer heat) remaining in the Lungs and injuring the Qi. Excessive use of antibiotics will lock Cold in the Lungs and injures the Qi. Hereditary weakness, especially if one of the parents or grandparents had tuberculosis. Other aggravating factors include excessive stooping or leaning over desks and tables to work, or a diet high in cold raw foods and drinks.

  • shortness of breath weak voice bright-white complexion
  • cough watery sputum exhausted appearance
  • Iow voice and lack of desire to talk
  • weak respiration
  • daytime sweats
  • Iowered resistance to colds and flus
  • tiredness
  • Pulse: empty
  • Tongue: pale or normal colored

Herbal Therapy: Four Major ingredients (Si junzi tang) with Astragalus root.

Food Therapy: Eat all cooked foods and warm drinks, plenty of grains, especially rice, sufficient protein at each meal, black bean soup with garlic and onions, cooked vegetables and greens; avoid cold, raw foods and drinks, salads, fruit, juices, alcohol, caffeine.

Other Therapies: Avoid excessive stooping or leaning over tables or desks; rest; dress warmly according to the season, especially with a scarf around the neck; avoid over-exertion in work or sexual activity; get plenty of rest, going to bed early such as 9 – 9:30 at night; moxibustion, especially over the lower abdomen; Harimake; breathing exercises; nasal wash; working on emotional issues such as sadness, grief and worry.

Exercise: Light to moderate exercise within the body’s limits; do not over exercise or do strong aerobics; walking, swimming, cycling, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong are beneficial.


Deficient Lung Yin


Fluids can become depleted in the Lungs from invasion of Exterior Heat and Dryness that remains so long that it injures the Yin. Other causes are from Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys or Stomach, which affects the Lungs, long-term Lung Qi Deficiency, and from excessive and prolonged tobacco smoking. Characteristically, there will be Dry and Empty Heat signs along with Lung symptoms.

  • unproductive dry cough with little or no phlegm or blood-tinged phlegm
  • feeling of heat in the afternoon
  • dry mouth and throat
  • emaciated appearance
  • Iow or hoarse voice
  • malar flush night sweats
  • burning sensation in palms, soles and chest
  • insomnia
  • Pulse: floating, empty and rapid
  • Tongue: red, peeled, dry; possible cracks in the Lung area

Herbal Therapy: Eriobotrya and Ophiopogon Combination (Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang) Food Therapy: Avoid hot, spicy, fried and greasy foods. Eat grains, protein, vegetables and greens and, if digestion is good, some fruit and juices. Include asparagus, duck, black beans, and milk in the diet.

Other Therapies: Oil massage; breathing exercises; Harimake; rest; cupping over upper back; breathing exercises; meditation, contemplation and prayer.

Exercise: Rest is extremely important in replenishing Yin, both during the day and at night, going to bed early, by 9 PM. Avoid aerobic exercise or any activity causing sweating, but do Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other stretches, and light walking and swimming.


Combined Patterns:

Lungs and Liver


The Lungs rule Qi while the Liver stores and regulates Blood. The Lungs are dependent on Liver Qi for the smooth movement of Qi, while the Liver relies on Lung Qi to regulate Blood. A dysfunction of the Lungs in dispersing and descending Qi causes Dryness and Heat to go downward which can stagnate Liver Qi or cause Heat in the Liver. On the other hand, if Liver Qi stagnates in the chest, it can impair the flow of Lung-Qi or turn into fire and burn the Yin of the Lungs.


Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation

  • cough moving pains
  • distension and fullness in the sternocostal or hypochondriac regions
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • depression
  • Listlessness
  • Pulse: empty and tight
  • Tongue: pale or normal colored

Herbal Therapy: Bupleurum and Dang Gui Formula (Xiao Yao San or Rambling Powder) with 9 grams of codonopsis and 6 grams of apricot seed. Food Therapy: The same as for Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. Other Therapies: The same as for Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. Exercise: Four Purifications breathing practices, meditation and Eight Brocades Qi Gong practices.


Liver Qi Stagnation Invading the Lungs

  • cough breathlessness or difficulty breathing
  • asthma distension and fullness in the sternocostal region
  • Pulse: tight, wiry
  • Tongue: normal colored

Herbal Therapy: Minor Bupleurum Combination(Xiao Chai Hu Tang)

Food Therapy: The same as for Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. Other Therapies: The same as for Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. Exercise: The same as for Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. Liver


Fire Invading the Lungs

  • Breathlessness
  • asthma stuffiness and pain of hypochondrium and chest
  • headache irritability cough with painful breathing
  • coughing up of blood or yellow-tinged sputum
  • scanty dark urine
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • Pulse: wiry and slippery
  • Tongue: red, especially on sides; swollen in Lung area; yellow coat

Herbal Therapy: Morus and Lycium Formula (Xie Bai San)

Food Therapy: The same as for Liver Fire rising and Lung Qi Deficiency. Other Therapies: The same as for Liver Fire rising and Lung Qi Deficiency. Exercise: Four Purifications and Shitali Pranayam exercise and the Eight Brocades, especially exercise number 5.


Lungs and Kidneys


The Lungs and Kidneys coordinate to promote movement of respiration. The Lungs rule Qi and respiration, perform the function of respiration and send Qi down to the Kidneys. Kidney Yang holds the Qi down sent by the Lungs and thus controls and promotes inspiration. Therefore, a Deficiency of Lung Qi causes painful and difficult breathing, while a Deficiency of Kidney Yang causes Lung Qi to not be received and results in difficulty of inhaling.

The Lungs also send Fluids down to the Kidneys, which evaporates some of it and sends that vapor back up to the Lungs to keep them moist. A dysfunction of either Organ can impair Fluid metabolism in the body, leading to either urinary incontinence or retention, or a Deficiency of Lung Yin from lack of moisture returning to the Lungs.


Lung Qi and Kidney Yang Deficiency


This is the same as the pattern of Kidneys Failing to Receive Qi under the Kidneys. Refer to that pattern for more details.


Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency

  • dry cough that is worse in the evening
  • feeling of heat in the afternoon night sweating hoarse voice malar flush
  • tidal fever
  • Lassitude of loins and legs soreness of lower back, thin body
  • breathlessness on exertion
  • nocturnal emissions, heat in palms, soles and chest
  • Pulse: empty and floating
  • Tongue: red and peeled with two transverse cracks in Lung area

Herbal Therapy: Ophiopogon Combination (Mai Men Dong Tang) or Rehmannia Six Combination (Liu wei di huang wan) with schizandra, apricot seed and American ginseng.

Food Therapy: The same as for Deficiency of Lung Qi and Kidney Yang.

Other Therapies: The same as for Deficiency of Lung Qi and Kidney Yang. Exercise: The same as for Deficiency of Lung Qi and Kidney Yang.


Spleen and Lungs


The Spleen transforms food and fluids and transports the resulting Grain Qi to the Lungs where it is combined with Air Qi to form True Qi. Thus, they are both crucial to the production of Qi in the body. Furthermore, the Lungs control Qi and have a dispersing and descending function. If impaired, or if there is not enough deep breathing or exercise to bring in sufficient Air Qi, the Spleen is affected and can’t function well in transporting, distributing and transforming nutrients or in performing Fluid metabolism.

On the other hand, an impairment of Spleen function or a diet high in cold raw foods leads to Deficient Qi of the Lungs and creates Dampness in the Lungs with symptoms of cough, excessive mucus and asthma. That is why one major way to treat Lung Dampness is to strengthen and dry the Spleen.


Deficient Lung and Spleen Qi

  • no appetite, tiredness
  • breathlessness
  • Ioose stools
  • weak voice bright-white complexion
  • slight spontaneous sweating
  • Pulse: empty
  • Tongue: pale

Herbal Therapy: Six Major Herbs (Liu junza zi tang) with astragalus

Food Therapy: The same as Deficient Lung Qi and Deficient Spleen Qi.

Other Therapies: The same as Deficient Lung Qi and Deficient Spleen Qi. Exercise: The same as Deficient Lung Qi and Deficient Spleen Qi




Citrus and Pinellia Combination (Er chen tang or Two Cured Decoction)*

Pinellia (Ban Xia) 15gms Pinellia ternata

Citrus Peel (Chen Pi) 15gms Citri reticulatus

Poria (Fu Ling) 9gms Poria cocos

Baked Licorice (Zhi Gan Cao) 4gms Glycyrrhizae uralensis

Preparation: Prepare as a decoction adding 3gms of Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) and 1pc of Umeboshi Plum (dried or salt preserved).


Properties and Actions:


a) Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm

b) Regulates Qi and harmonizes the middle warmer (Stomach and Spleen).

Indications: Cough with Damp-Cold Phlegm caused by Cold-Damp of the Spleen and Stomach. Symptoms may include chest and epigastric fullness, nausea, vomiting, lassitude, feeling of heaviness (from Excess mucus), possibly vertigo and palpitations in extreme cases. May be considered for upper respiratory tract infection, chronic bronchitis, cough, goiter, chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer and Meniere’s disease.

Tongue: moist, greasy white coat

Pulse: slippery




1. For Damp-Heat of the Upper Warmer add Scutellaria (Huang Qin), Gardenia (Zhi Zi), Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) and Platycodon (Jie Geng).

2. For Damp-Heat in the Lower Warmer add Sophorae (Ku Shen), Phellodendron (Huang Bai) and Talcum (Hua Shi).

3. For Wind-Dampness add Clematis (Wei Ling Xian), Gentiana (Qin Jiao), Xanthium (Cang Er Zi) and Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi).

4. For cough with copious sputum caused by External Cold in the Lungs add Ephedra (Ma Huang) and Apricot Seed (Xing Ren).

5. For vomiting caused by a Cold Stomach add Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang) and Cardamon (Sha Ren).

6. For vomiting of clear fluids add Black Atractylodes (Cang Zhu) and White Atractylodes (Bai Zhu).

7. For chronic Phlegm in the channels and flesh leading to rubbery nodules add Oyster Shell (Mu Li), Scrophularia (Xuan Shen), Laminaria (Kun Bu) and Sargassi (Hai Zao).

8. For Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency characterized by coughing of thin, watery sputum, deep pulse and urinary problems, add Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) and prepared aconite (Fu Zi).

9. For insomnia and sleepiness after meals add White Atractylodes (Bai Zhu) and Sweet Flag (Shi Chang Pu).

10. For severe coughing at night caused by Phlegm and Blood Deficiency add Angelica (Dang Gui).

11. For Damp-Phlegm obstructing the womb with irregular menstruation and copious leukorrhea add Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong) and Angelica (Dang Gui).

12. For Phlegm and dryness together, substitute Trichosanthis (Gua Lou) and Fritillary Bulb (Chuan Bei Mu) for Pinellia (Ban Xia).

13. For dizziness or vertigo, headache, full, stifling feeling in the chest, nausea, vomiting, headache; Tongue: white greasy coat; Pulse: slippery, wiry or bowstring, add: Gastrodia (Tian Ma) and 1 slice of fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) and 3-4 pcs of Jujube Date (Da Zao). This becomes Pinellia and Gastrodia Combination (Ban xia bai zhu tian ma tang)*. It is used to dry and dissolve Phlegm and smooth the Liver and quiet Liver-Wind (antispasmodic).

This formula forms the basis for countless other combinations that deal with Phlegm and fluid accumulation or what in Ayurvedic medicine is called “kapha”, or mucus humour.

For instance Six Gentlemen Decoction (Liu jun zi tang) combines Pinellia, Poria, Licorice and Citrus with Ginseng and White Atractylodes as a Spleen tonic. This reflects the relationship of the Spleen Qi to fluid metabolism.

Another variation is Pinellia and Gastrodia Combination that combines Gastrodia (Tian Ma) and Atractylodes (Bai Zhu) to calm Liver-Wind and dissolve Dampness. It is used for symptoms associated with dizziness, vertigo, heaviness of the head, headache, and other central neurological symptoms caused by Wind and Phlegm.

Minor Bupleurum (Xiao chai hu tang)*

Bupleurum (Chai Hu) 12-15gms Bupleurum falcatum

Scutellaria (Huang Qin) 9-12gms Scutellaria baicalensis

Pinellia (Ban Xia) 9-12gms Pinellia ternata

Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) 3-6gms Zingiberis officinalis

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 6-9gms Panax ginseng

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6gms Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Jujube Dates (Da Zao) 3-5pcs Zizyphus jujuba

Properties and Actions:

a) Treats the Lesser Yang (Shao Yang) channel (Gall Bladder and Triple Warmer)

b) Harmonizing: regulates the Liver and Spleen functions, addresses combined Yin-Yang symptoms of External and Internal, Excess and Deficiency, and Hot and Cold.

Indications: Treats symptoms that may have begun with acute-External complex and have penetrated to an intermediate, lingering stage. Thus there may be alternating fever and chills, stuffy full feeling in the chest, bitter flavor in the mouth, dizziness, lack of appetite, fatigue and nausea. It can be used for lingering colds, coughs, bronchitis and asthma. Because of its broad action it can also be considered for conditions such as malaria, cholecystitis, hepatitis, jaundice and irregular menstruation. Recently it is being viewed as a good general immune tonic and has been studied and beneficially employed for the treatment of HIV and AIDS conditions.

Tongue: thin white coat

Pulse: wiry and tight




1. To strengthen immunity add Astragalus (Huang Qi) 9-12 gms, Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi) 6-9gms, Ligustrum (Nu Zhen Zi) 6-9gms.

2. For malaria add Dichroa Root (Chang Shan) and Cardamom Seed (Cao Guo).

3. For Yin Deficiency add Tortoise Shell (Bie Jia) and Wormwood (Qing Hao).

4. For bloating with abdominal pain add Corydalis (Yan Hu Suo), Cyperus (Xiang Fu) and Immature Bitter Orange (Zhi shi).

Jade Screen Powder (Yu ping feng san)

Astragalus (Huang Qi) 10-15gms Astragalus membranaceus

White Atractylodes (Bai Zhu) 9-12gms Atractylodes alba

Ledebouriella (Fang Feng) 9-12gms Ledebouriella seseloides

Properties and Actions:

a) Tonifies Qi, strengthens the Wei Qi

b) Internal Cold and Deficiency

c) Anti-hydrotic, corrects involuntary and spontaneous perspiration

Indications: For lowered body resistance to colds and flus, spontaneous and involuntary perspiration, pale complexion. It can be considered for common colds, influenza, allergic and chronic rhinitis.

Tongue: light red with a thin white coat

Pulse: weak and floating




1. For chronic or allergic rhinitis add Magnolia Flower (Xin Yi Hua) and Xanthium Fruit (Cang Er Zi).

2. For spontaneous perspiration add Ephedra Root (Ma Huang Gen) and Light wheat (Fu Xiao Mai: Triticum aestivum).

Ding chuan tang (Treat Asthma Decoction)

Ginkgo Seed (Bai Guo) 3-7pcs Ginkgo biloba

Ephedra (Ma Huang) 6-9gms Ephedra sinica

Perilla Seed (Zi Su Zi) 9-12gms Perilla frutescens

Tussilago (Kuan Dong Hua) 9-12gms Tussilago farfara

Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) 9-12gms Prunus armeniaca

Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi) 9-12gms Morus alba

Scutellaria (Huang Qin) 6-9gms Scutellaria baicalensis

Pinellia (Ban Xia) 9-12gms Pinellia ternata

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6gms Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Properties and Actions:

a) Clears Lung Heat

b) Expectorant for asthma

Indications: Asthma caused by Heat in the Lung, chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, pulmonary emphysema possibly with accompanying thirst, restlessness, fever, headache, spontaneous perspiration.

Tongue: red with yellow coat

Pulse: slippery and rapid

Eriobotrya and Ophiopogon Combination(Qing zao jiu fei tang)

Mulberry Leaf (Sang Ye) 3 gms Mori alba

Gypsum (Shi Gao) 10 gms Gypsum fibrosum

Gelatin (E Jiao) 2.4 gms Asini gelatinum corii

Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) 3.6 gms Ophiopogonis japonicus

Sesame (Hu Ma Ren) 2.4 gms Sesami indica

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 2 gms Panax Ginseng

Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) 2 gms Pruni Armeniacae

Eriobotrya (Pi Pa Ye) 3 gms Eriobotryae japonicae

Licorice (Gan Cao) 2 gms Glycyrrhizae uralensis

Properties and Actions:

a) Moistens the Lung and treats Dryness

b) Tonifies Qi

c) Lubricates, cools and nourishes Essence of the Lung

Indications: Symptoms include dry cough with no phlegm, fever, headache, dry throat and nostrils. May be considered for symptoms of upper respiratory infections, hemoptysis, cough with influenza, asthma.

Tongue: red and dry with a thin white coat

Pulse: weak, thin and thready

Ephedra Decoction (Ma huang tang)*

Ephedra(Ma Huang) 6-9gms Ephedra sinica

Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) 6-9gms Cinnamomum cassia

Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) 6-9gms Prunus armeniaca

Prepared Licorice (Zhi Gan Cao) 3-6gms Glycyrrhiza Uralensis

Properties and Actions:

a) Warm stimulating diaphoretic

b) Dispels External Wind-Cold

c) Anti-asthmatic.

Indications: It is used for Greater Yang (Tai Yang) conditions, with Excess conformation, fever, chills with intolerance of Cold, lack of perspiration, general aching feeling throughout the body, headache, asthma. With appropriate presentation it can be considered for a wide variety of upper respiratory conditions including the common cold, asthma, cough and bronchitis.

Tongue: thin white coat

Pulse: floating and slow

Contraindications: It is a warming and stimulating formula and not suitable for those with Internal weakness and Deficiency or for those with the common cold caused by External Wind-Heat attack.


1. For arthritic Wind-Cold-Damp condition add White Atractylodes (Bai Zhu); this is called Ma huang jia zhu tang

2. For common cold with perspiration, headache, nasal obstruction, cough with phlegm, eliminate Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi). This is called San ao tang.

Ma Huang and Apricot Seed Combination (Ma xing shi gan tang) This contains Ephedra (Ma Huang), Apricot Seed (Xing Ren), Licorice (Gan Cao) and Gypsum (Shi Gao) 10-20gms. Because of the addition of Gypsum (Shi Gao) it relieves Internal Heat and thirst. It is useful for common cold with fever, pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, cardiac asthma, whooping cough, measles and hemorrhoids.

Ephedra, Aconite and Asarum Combination (Ma huang fu zi xi xin tang)

Ephedra (Ma Huang) 6-9gms Ephedra sinica

Prepared Aconite (Fu Zi) 3-6gms Aconitum carmichaeli

Wild Ginger (Xi Xin) 1-3gms Asarum heterotropoides

Properties and Actions:

a) Clears External Wind-Cold and induces diaphoresis

b) Tonifies Yang

Indications: For External Wind-Cold (common cold and influenza) with Yang Deficiency. This formula is indicated when there is Cold and Deficiency and may be tried when other formulas seem to be not strong enough. Symptoms include fever, severe cold intolerance, pale complexion, weakness and cold extremities.

Contraindication: Not for individuals with Yin Deficiency.

Major Blue Dragon (Da qing long tang) adds 10-20gms of Gypsum (Shi Gao) to help reduce Internal fever and Heat and 3-6gms of Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) to eliminate External Wind and Cold. It is for more severe fever with restless irritability, intolerance of Cold, headache, muscle-aches, lack of perspiration, asthma, thirst and edema. The pulse is floating, tight and possibly rapid. The tongue has a thin white or yellow coat. This contrasts with the indications of Minor Blue Dragon (Xiao qing long tang) with symptoms of less severe fever with watery phlegm, allergic rhinitis, labored asthmatic breathing
Ophiopogon Combination (Mai men dong tang)

Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) 15-20gms Ophiopogon japonicus

Pinellia (Ban Xia) 6-9gms Pinellia ternata

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 3-6gms Panax ginseng

Rice (Jing Mi) 15-20gms Oryza sativa

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6gms Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Properties and Actions:

a) Nourishes Stomach and Lung Yin

b) Antitussive, lowers the Qi

Indications: Cough with little or no phlegm, hiccup, thirst, dry throat. It can be considered for TB, wasting lung diseases with accompanying dryness, bronchitis.

Tongue: red tip

Pulse: weak and rapid




1. For Lung Yin Deficiency add Glehnia (Bei Sha Shen), Solomon’s Seal (Yu Zhu), Asparagus Root (Tian Men Dong).

2. For Stomach Yin Deficiency add Dendrobium (Shi Hu) and Trichosanthes Root (Tian Hua Fen).

Ophiopogon and Trichosanthes Combination

(Mai men dong yin si)

Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) 7gms Ophiopogon japonicus

Pueraria (Ge Gen) 3gms Pueraria lobata

Licorice (Gan Cao) 1gms Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 2gms Panax ginseng

Unprepared Rehmannia (Sheng Di Huang) 4gms Rehmannia glutinosa

Trichosanthes Root (Tian hua fen) 2gms Trichosanthes kirilowii

Poria (Fu Ling) 6gms Poria cocos

Bamboo Leaf (Zhu Ye) 1gms Phylostachys nigra

Anemarrhena (Zhi Mu) 3gms Anemarrhena asphodeloides

Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi) 1gms Schizandra chinensis

Properties and Actions:

a) Expectorant

b) Tonifies the Yin of the Lung

Indications: It clears evil Phlegm and moistens Dryness of the Lung. It can be used for chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, chronic coughing, and coarse skin caused by diabetes.

Tongue: dry tongue with thin yellow coat

Pulse: rapid and thin

Ginseng and Astragalus Combination ( Bu zhong yi qi tang)*

Astragalus (Huang Qi) 6-15gms Astragalus membranaceus

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 6-9gms Panax ginseng

White Atractylodes (Bai Zhu) 9-12gms Atractylodes alba

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6gms Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Dang Gui (Dang Gui) 6-9gms Angelica sinensis

Black Cohosh (Sheng Ma) 3-6gms Cimicifuga foetida

Bupleurum (Chai Hu) 6-9gms Bupleurum falcatum

Citrus Peel (Chen Pi) 3-6gms Citrus reticulata

Properties and Actions:

a) Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach

b) Raises the Yang

c) Detoxifies

Indications: It may be considered for chronic fatigue and weakness where sub-acute feverish or inflammatory symptoms arise as a result of physical exertion or stress. Symptoms include aversion to cold, poor appetite, preference for warmth including warm food and drink, general tiredness and weakness, shortness of breath, spontaneous perspiration, slow speech, a tendency to huddle up, thirst, loose stool. The complexion tends to be shiny and pale, the tongue light with a thin white coat and the pulse weak and inflated.

This is traditionally considered the supreme tonic of Chinese herbalism. Besides tonifying Qi and Blood, the addition of Bupleurum (Chai Hu) and Cimicifuga(Sheng Ma) combine both anti-inflammatory properties with ascending qualities, which assists the Yang. The formula is designed to treat a condition of exhaustion where the Yang of the Middle and Upper Warmer collapses down into the Yin of the Lower Warmer. The result is a weakening of the immune system where energetically the Yang is unable to circulate and ascend so that it is unable to adequately protect itself from External pathogenic influences. The formula is therefore indicated for intermittent fevers and prolapse and perhaps bleeding of the Internal organs because of weakness and exhaustion.

Tongue: Pale, scalloped on the edges

Pulse: Thin and weak

Lonicera and Forsythia Combination (Yin qiao san) *

Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder (Yin Qiao San)

Source: Systematic Differentiation of Warm diseases (Wen bing tiao bian)

Honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua) 9-15gms Lonicera japonicae

Forsythiae (Lian Qiao) 9-15gms Forsythia suspensae

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 3-6gms Platycodon grandiflori

Burdock Seed (Niu Bang Zi) 9-12gms Arctii lappa

Field Mint (Bo He) 3-6gms Mentha haplocalycis

Schizonepetae (Jing Jie) 6-9gms Schizonepetae tenuifoliae

Prepared Soybeans (Dan Dou Chi) 3-6gms Glycine max

Black Bamboo Leaf (Dan Zhu Ye) 3-6gms Lophatheri gracilis

Phragmitis (Sheng Lu Gen) 15-30gms Phragmitis communis

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6 gms Glycyrrhizae uralensis

Preparation: Originally it was prepared by first cooking the Phragmitis (Lu Gen) long enough for the aroma to become strong. The other herbs are ground into a powder and taken in 9gm doses with the decoction. Today the entire formula is taken in decoction, or more commonly it is taken in patent pill form. If cooking, only add Bo He Mint (Bo He) for the last five minutes.

Properties and Actions:

a) Diaphoretic, disperses External Wind-Heat

b) Alterative, antibiotic and antiviral, clears Internal Heat and relieves toxicity

Indications: It can be used for upper respiratory tract infections, colds, influenza with fever with slight or no chills, headache, thirst, cough, sore throat, acute bronchitis, measles, epidemic parotitis, acute endometritis, and early stage encephalitis or meningitis.

Tongue: red tipped with a thin, white or yellow coat

Pulse: rapid and floating

Note: This is a cooling formula with some mild nourishing properties. One practitioner favors its use along with or in place of antibiotic drugs when they are to be taken long term as in the treatment of certain venereal diseases and Lyme’s disease.

Contraindications: It is contraindicated for colds and influenza caused by Wind-Cold. For this condition, one should consider using Nine Ingredients with Notopterygium (Jiu wei qiang huo tang). It is also not effective for Damp-Heat syndromes for which one would consider Gentiana Combination (Long dan xie gan tang).

Variation: For severe colds and flus add 9-12 grams of Notopterygium (Qiang Huo) and 20-30gms of Isatis (Ban Lan Gen).

Morus and Chrysanthemum Combination (Sang ju yin)*

Mulberry Leaf (Sang Ye) 6-9gms Morus Alba

Chrysanthemum (Ju Hua) 3-6gms Chrysanthemum morifolium

Mentha (Bo He) 3-6gms Mentha arvensis

Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) 6-9gms Prunus Armeniaca

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 6-9gms Platycodon grandiflorum

Forsythia (Lian Qiao) 6-9gms Forsythia Suspensa

Phragmites (Lu Gen) 6-9gms Phragmites communis

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6gms Glycyrrhiza Uralensis

Properties and Actions:

a) Cooling diaphoretic

b) Dispels Wind-Heat

c) Antitussive, relieves cough

Indications: Wind-Heat conditions with symptoms of the common cold, influenza, coughs, acute stages of bronchitis and throat infections, conjunctivitis.

Tongue: thin white coat

Pulse: floating and rapid

Contraindications: Not for upper respiratory conditions associated with Wind-Cold.

Xanthium Powder (Cang er san)

Xanthium Fruit (Cang Er Zi) 6-9gms Xanthium sibiricum

Magnolia Flower (Xin Yi Hua) 3-6gms Magnolia officinalis

Angelica (Bai Zhi) 3-6gms Angelica dahurica

Mint (Bo He) 3-6gms Mentha haplocalyx


Properties and Actions:


a) Disperses Wind

b) Opens the nasal passages

Indications: Relieves allergy symptoms and opens the sinuses. It is useful for nasal sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, allergic rhinitis, relieves temporal and frontal headaches.

Tongue: white coat

Pulse: floating

Note: The Magnolia Flowers (Xin Yi Hua) and Mint (Bo He) should not be boiled, rather they should be added in at the end of the preparation.


1. For increased Lung inflammation add Lycium Bark (Di Gu Pi) and Mulberry Bark (Sang Bai Pi).

2. For excessive nasal discharge add Honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua), Centipeda (E Bu Shi Cao) and Licorice (Gan Cao).

Magnolia Flower Powder (Xin Yi San)

Xin Yi Hua (flow Magnoliae), Angelicae dahuricae (Bai Zhi), Ligustici sinensis (Gao Ben), Ledebouriella (Fang Feng), Ligusticum Wallichii Chuan xiong), Asarum ((xi Xin), Akebiae (Mu tong), licorice (Gan cao), Green tea leaf (Ch Ye) — Indicate for colds and allergies that are worse in cold weather, superficial early stage attack of cold evil, everything goes to the head, sinus congestion.

Rehmannia Six (Liu wei di huang wan)*

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) 20-30gms Rehmannia glutinosa

Cornus (Shan Zhu Yu) 10-15gms Cornus officinalis

Dioscorea (Shan Yao) 10-15gms Dioscorea opposita

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) 9-12gms Alisma plantago-aquatica

Moutan Peony (Mu Dan Pi)6-9gms Paeonia suffruticosa

Poria (Fu Ling) 9-12gms Poria cocos

Properties and Actions:

a. Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)

Indications: Formula for Kidney Yin, Essence Deficiency. This formula and its companion Rehmannia Eight (which, with the mere addition of Prepared Aconite (Fu zi) and Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) is a Kidney Yang tonic) are good for retarded growth or mal-development in children and all chronic degenerative diseases.

Symptoms of Yin Deficiency may include dizziness, tinnitus, chronic sore throat, afternoon tidal fevers, night sweats and spontaneous emissions, thirst and dryness, burning sensation in the palms, soles and chest and toothache.

It is useful for a variety of Deficiency conditions including lower back pain, pulmonary tuberculosis, various eye disorders, chronic urinary infections, hypertension, Addison’s disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, retarded growth and difficulty in maintaining health, tinnitus and deafness.

Tongue: reddish and with a shiny appearance

Pulse: thin and rapid

Contraindication: Not for a person with weak digestion or a lack of Yang


1. For Yin Deficiency with Fire and severe inflammation add Anemarrhena (Zhi Mu) and Phellodendron (Huang Bai) and substitute Unprepared Rehmannia for Prepared Rehmannia. This formula, called Anemarrhena, Phellodendron with Rehmannia Six (Zhi bai di huang wan), is for inflammation and Heat conditions associated with constitutional Yin Deficiency.

2. For visual weakness add Lycii Berries (Gou Qi Zi) and Chrysanthemum Flowers (Ju Hua). This is Lycium, Chrysanthemum and Rehmannia Six Combination (Qi ju di huang wan).

3. For consumptive Lung disorders with cough add Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) and Schizandra Berries (Wu Wei Zi).

4. For Yang Deficiency add Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) and Prepared Aconite (Fu Zi). This becomes Rehmannia Eight Combination (Ba wei di huang wan or what is also known as Jin gui shen qi wan), one of the classic Kidney Yang tonic formulas.

Manna for Detoxification Pill (Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan)

Talc (Hua Shi) 15-20 gm.

Capillaris (Yin Chen Hao) 10-15 gm.

Akebia (Mu Tong) 5-10 gm

Scutellaria (Huang Qin) 10-15 gm

Forsythia (Lian Qiao) 5-10 gm

Fritillary (Chuan Bei Mu 5-10 gm

Belamcanda (She Gan) 5-10 gm

Acorus (Shi Chang Pu) 6-10 gm

Agastache (Huo Xiang) 5-10 gm

Mentha (Bo He) 3-6 gm

Cluster (Bai Dou Kou) 5-10 gm

Properties and Actions:

Resolves dampness and turbidity, clears Heat and toxins.


Interior Heat and Qi Dampness. Fever, malaise, fullness and distention in the chest and abdomen, sore throat, jaundice, thirst, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, amber colored urine.

Tongue: white or yellow and greasy coating

Pulse: soft and rapid

Contraindications: for a person with strong constitution.

Ginseng and Mentha Formula (Ren Shen Bai Du San)

Notopteryium (Qiang Huo) 6-9 gm

Angelica (Du Huo) 6-9 gm

Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong) 6-9 gm

Bupleurum (Chai Hu) 6-9 gm

Mentha (Bo He) 3-6 gm

Bitter orange (Zhi Ke) 6-9 gm

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 6-9 gm

Peucedanum (Qian Hu) 6-9 gm

Poria (Fu Ling) 6-9 gm

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 3-6 gm

Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) 3-6 gm

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6 gm

Properties and Actions:

Dispels external Wind, Cold and Dampness; replenishes Qi.


Qi Deficiency with Wind Cold and Dampness. High fever, aversion to cold, no perspiration, headache, neck pain, muscle-ache, stuffy nose, cough with sputum, fullness sensation in the chest and epigastric region.

Tongue: white greasy coating

Pulse: floating, feeble

Platycodon and Schizonepeta Formula (Zhi Sou San)

Aster root (Zi Wan) 6-9 gm

Semona root (Bai Bu) 6-9 gm

Cynanchum root (Bai Qian) 6-9 gm

Citrus peel (Chen Pi) 3-6 gm

Schizonepeta (Jing Jie) 6-9 gm

Platycodon (Ji Geng) 6-9 gm

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-6 gm

Properties and Actions:

Relieves cough and sputum, and dispels the Exterior Lung Wind.


Cough with sputum sore throat, fever, intolerance of wind.

Tongue: whitish with thin coating

Pulse: floating

Ginseng and Scute Combination (Ren Shen Xie Fei Tang)

Ginseng (Ren Shen) 6-9gm

Scutellaria (Huang Qin) 6-9gm

Gardenia (Shan Zhi Zi) 3-6gm

Fructus Aurantii (Zi Ke) 3-6gm

Mint (Bo He) 3gm

Forsythia (Lian Qiao) 3-6gm

Apricot seed (Xing Ren) 3-6gm

Mulberry bark(Sang Bai Pi) 6-9gm

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 6-9gm

Rhubarb (Da Huang) 3-6gm

Licorice root (Gan Cao) 3gm

Clear Lung Decoction/Platycodon and Fritillaria Combination (Qing Fei Tang)

Scutellaria (Huang Qin) 6-9gm

Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) 3-6gm

Fritillaria (Zhe Bei Mu) 6-9gm

Bamboo (Zhu Ru) 6-9gm

Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) 6-9gm

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3gm

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 6-9gm

Gardenia (Zhi Si) 4-6gm

Citrus (Chen Pi) 4-6gm

Hoelen (Fu Ling) 6-9gm

Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi) 6-9gm

Morus (Sang Bai Pi 6-9gm)

Asparagus (Tian Men Dong) 6-9gm

Jujube (Da Zao) 4-6 pieces

Angelica (Dang Gui) 4-6gms

Ginger (Sheng Jiang) 4-6gms

Morus and Platycodon Formula (Du Sou San)

Bupleurum (Chai Hu) 6-9gms

Morus (Sang Bai Pi) 6-9gms

Gypsum (Shi Gao)` 9-15gms

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 6-9gms

Gardenia (Zhi Zi) 4-6gms

Scutellaria (Huang Qin) 6-9gms

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-gms

Clearing Away Lung Phlegm Decoction (Qing Fei Yin)

Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) 6-9gms

Fritillaria (Zhi Bei Mu) 6-9gms

Poria (Fu Ling) 6-9gms

Platycodon (Jie Geng) 6-9gms

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-4gms

Schisandra (Wu Wei Zi) 6-9gms

Citrus peel (Ju Hong) 3-6gms

Fresh Ginger (Sheng jiang) 3-6gms

Function: Clears phlegm from the lungs but it will also moisten the lung and lubricate dry throat.

Bupleurum and Evodia Combination (Shu Gan Tang)

Bupleurum :(Chai Hu) 6-9gms

Peony (Bai Shao) 6-9gms

Coptis (Huang Lian) 6-9gms

Blue citrus peel (Qing Pi) 6-9gms

Angelica (Dang Gui) 6-9gms

Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong) 6-9gms

Carthamus (Hong Hua) 4-6gms

Persica (Tao Ren) 4-6gms

Fructus Aurantii (need common name) (Zi Ke) 4-6gms

Evodia (Wu Zhu Yu) 4-6gms

Hoelen and Schizandra (Ling Gan Jiang Wei Xin Xia Ren Tang)

Hoelen (Fu Ling) 6-9gms

Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi) 6-9gms

Apricot seed (Xing Ren) 4-6gms

Licorice (Gan Cao) 3-4gms

Pinellia (Ban Xia) 6-9gms

Ginger (Gan Jiang) 4-6gms

Asarum (Xi Xin) 4-6gms

Schizonepeta and Pinellia Formula (Jin Fei Cao San)

Inula (Xuan Fu Hua) 6-9gms

Hoelen (Poria Cocos) 6-9gms

Ephedra (Ma Huang) 6-9gms

Licorice (Gan Cao) 4-6gms

Peucedanum (Qian Hu) 6-9gms

Schizonepeta (Jing Jie 6-9gms

Jujube (Da Zao) 4-6 pieces

Asarum (Xi Xin) 3-6gms

Pinellia (Ban Xia) 6-9gms

Ginger (Sheng Jiang) 6-9gms

Peony (Chi Shao) 6-9gms

Phellodendron Combination (Zhi Yin Jiang Hou Tang)

Angelica (Dang Gui) 6-9gms

Asparagus (Tian Men Dong) 6-9gms

Atractylodes (Bai Zhu) 6-9gms

Phellodendron (Huang Bai) 6-9gms

Peony (Bai Shao) 6-9gms

Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) 6-9gms

Anemarrhena (Zhi Mu) 6-9gms

Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) 6-9gms

Citrus (Chen Pi) 6-9gms

Licorice (Gan Cao) 4-6gms

Jujube (Da Zao) 4-6 pieces

Ginger (Sheng Jiang)



Dr. Michael Tierra L.Ac. , OMD






Ma huang, Elecampane, Mullein, Wild cherry bark, Licorice, Platycodon root and extract, Ginger, Cinnamon twigs, Wild ginger root.

This formula is dispersing, decongesting, and good for colds, flu, allergies, asthma, and most upper respiratory problems. It has a neutral to warm energy.

Dosage: Take two or more tablets three or more times daily with warm water. For springtime allergies take three or four tablets at a time. It is also excellent as a general treatment for smokers to help offset the harmful effects on the lungs.

This is one of the most reliable herbal formulas for the relief of asthma and emphysema as well as upper respiratory allergies. Mahuang (Ephedra sinensis) is a primary for the treatment of upper respiratory disorders. It aids in the movement and circulation of Lung qi and as such is effective for rhinitis, allergies, emphysema, asthma and all lung conditions caused by the obstruction of cold. It contains potent natural alkaloids, ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine, which are used to stimulate the dilation of the bronchioles. Platycodon root, a beautiful Chinese herb that is grown as an ornamental in the west opens and circulates Lung qi and helps expel phlegm. It is very effective for the treatment of all phlegm disorders and cough. Elecampane root has a rich tradition of medicinal usage for the treatment of whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis and acts as both a digestive tonic and expectorant. Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) is derived from the green bark of the tree and has a long-time reputation as a sedative on the respiratory nerves that initiate the cough reflex. It is thought that this property is due to the presence of a non-toxic cyanic compound called prunasin. Wild ginger (Asarum sp.) and cinnamon twigs (Cinnamomum ceylanicum) are warming and circulating and aid expectoration. Licorice is added to ameliorate the effects of the more stimulating herbs in the formula such as mahuang and wild ginger.




Old Indian Herbal Syrup


Yerba santa, Echinacea root, Osha, Grindelia, Elecampane root and flowers, Wild ginger (Asarum), White Horehound, Hyssop, Platycodon, White pine bark, Licorice root, Polypodium, Marshmallow root, Xing ren (bitter almond), Irish moss, Mullein, Nettles, Ephedra, Loquat leaf, Fritillary and wild Cherry bark extracted in water, honey, and 20% alcohol.

A decongesting and soothing expectorant syrup for coughs and sore throat. It can be taken freely as needed.

This syrup evolved in homage to the rich herbal tradition of the Native Americans. The original formula evolved strictly from Native herbs selected from the low coastal Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California. One of the most famous indigenous herbs of the area is Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum). Once listed in the official USP National Formulary VI, the leaves are expectorant, bronchial antispasmodic for asthma, colds and all upper respiratory infections associated with excess mucus. The leaves are antibacterial and contain potent resins and eriodin, which is especially effective against gram-positive bacteria and tuberculosis bacteria. Grindelia (G. robusta) also known as gumweed contains a resin and grindelic acid that has a native and early American history of use as an expectorant and antispasmodic. These two herbs are balanced and combined with a number of others from the Western and Chinese herbal traditions which results in one of the most effective and popular cough syrups. It is pleasant tasting and can be safely and freely taken by individuals of all ages.

Elderberry Syrup: Elderberry concentrate in a base of honey, water and alcohol (20%). Full Spectrum Elderberry Extract: 525 mg of the berries and flowers of Elder concentrated in an Elderberry and flower tea decoction.


WELL CHILD (Children’s Elderberry Cold and Flu syrup)

Elderberry Extract, Honeysuckle blossoms, Cinnamon twigs, Lemon balm, Chamomile, Echinacea, Catnip, Licorice, Vitamin C, Potassium sorbate.

Black Elder berries (Sambucus nigra) and flowers are one of the time honored for influenza and the common cold. So great were the remedial powers of the elder that it was called “the medicine chest of the country people” (Ettmueller) and ‘a whole magazine of physic to rustic practitioners.’ The famous physician, Boerhaave, had such a high regard for its manifold curative properties that it is said that he never passed an Elder without raising his hat.

It is regarded as the most sacred herb of the gypsies and indeed, there is hardly a more fascinating herb steeped with ancient lore than the elder. In the mid-1980’s upon the suggestion of Dr. Jean Lindenman, the developer of interferon, that researchers confirmed the active anti-influenza ingredients in elderberry. They found that the bioflavonoids in elderberry were able to bind and disarm the tiny viral spikes called hemagglutinin which are covered with an enzyme called neuraminidase that allow viruses to invade by piercing a cell’s membrane. Later, in 1992 a team of Israeli scientists and physicians formulated a syrup and a lozenge that contained elderberry. They found that the syrup worked in the laboratory with most common strains of viruses. They were subsequently approved by the Helsinki committee, a worldwide organization that approves patient studies, to carry out a double blind clinical study of patients infected with the flu virus during an epidemic in southern Israel. Half of the patients were given four tablespoons of the syrup per day and the other half a placebo. The results were that within twenty-four hours, the symptoms of fever, cough, and muscle pain had improved in 20% of the patients. After the second day, another 75% were much improved and in three days a complete cure was effected in 90% of the patients studied. This was highly significant compared with the control group who had not taken elderberry syrup were only 8% of patients showed improvement after 24 hours and for the remainder, it took 6 days to show improvement in the remaining 92%.

Further tests were conducted on patients to determine the presence of influenza antibodies. Antibodies are substances the body naturally manufactures to combat invading pathogens such as cold and flu viruses. It was found that patients who took the elderberry extract had a higher level of cold and flu antibodies, which indicated an enhanced immune system response.

Viruses cause both colds and flus. Typically influenza is characterized by high fever while colds are without fever. Influenza is therefore, an acute febrile infection with Type A and B viruses that tend to outbreak every winter. The attack rate may be as high as 40% of the population over a five to six week period. Influenza represents the most common epidemic that occurs yearly and for many, especially the elderly can result in death as a result of pulmonary complications.

So far there has been no significantly successful treatment in mainstream medicine to doing more than affording temporary symptomatic relief for these, easily the most troublesome of all recurring diseases. Because the antigens of these viruses easily change form each year, the population has little or no resistance to the disease.

These products combine both the berries with the flowers. Elder flowers are a popular herbal treatment for all bronchial and pulmonary affections, scarlet fever, measles and other eruptive diseases. They are a good old-fashioned remedy for colds and throat trouble, taken hot on going to bed. The combination of the berries with the flowers in these products as well as other herbs to enhance the anti-biotic and antiviral effects makes these two of the very best herbs for the treatment of the common cold and influenza. Their mildness and delicious flavor should make them perfect to administer to young children suffering from these conditions.




Equal parts Ginger root, Piper nigrum, Bibo (Piper longum), Honey

This formula has a hot, spicy energy and is dispersing and drying for damp conditions. It helps overcome mucus (making it very useful for allergies), treats colds, helps reduce fat, aids digestion and circulation, and warms internally. A specific remedy for clear damp discharges that often occur in cold, damp climates, it should be taken by nearly everyone living in such environments and then suspended during the warm summer months. It is also good for stomach pains caused by coldness.

Dosage: Take one or two tablets three times a day. Cut down on overall fluid intake.






Lonicera, Forsythia, Mint, Phragmites, Arctium, Platycodon, Prepared Sojae, Licorice, Schizonepeta, Lophatherum

This is the classic formula combines antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be used for the treatment of colds and flus caused by “wind-heat” with symptoms of high fever and sore throat. It can also be taken long term for the treatment of Lyme’s disease.


Yin Chiao Plus


Phragmites, Lonicera, Forsythia, Notopterygium, Echinacea root, Schizonepeta, Burdock seed, Bamboo leaf, Horehound, Boneset, Semen sojae, Platycodon, Isatis root, Isatis leaf, Elecampane, Licorice & Mint

This is a variation of the famous Yin Chiao Classic and combines Western herbs including echinacea together with the famous Chinese formula to provide a wider application for the treatment of colds and flus.


Prevention of colds and flus




Immune system tonic for the prevention of colds and flus

Astragalus, Atractylodes alba, Ledebouriella

This Chinese herb food is for the immune system and internal coldness. Tonifying the immune system, it protects the body from sickness. It energizes and warms all the internal vital organs, strengthens the qi of protection (Wei qi) and is good for general poor health with frequent colds, flus and a tendency to sickness, perspiration from weakness and poor health. It is a delicious tonic suitable for young and old and is generally safe to take year round on a regular basis. Remember that most warm-natured tonics are not taken during active acute inflammatory conditions unless specially prescribed.

Dosage: One half to one teaspoon once or twice daily.


Other herbs:


Respiratory herbs: lobelia inflata and ephedra sinica.

Mucilaginous herbs: marshmallow root, licorice, comfrey, slippery elm, ophiopogon, asparagus root, coltsfoot, mullein

Expectorants: lobelia, ipecacuanha, elecampane and hyssop

Khella (Ammi visnaga)

Its use in the Middle East dates back centuries, but in modern times it was first noted in the early 1930’s, when it was observed in controlled settings to relax the spasm in muscle fibers caused by kidney stones and thereby reduce pain. It was subsequently found to be capable of dilating the coronary arteries and thereby reduce the pain of angina pectoris.

It was then researched in England for potential use as a drug to treat angina. Khella in strong enough doses to form a drug for angina also had potentially dangerous side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. The researchers then sought to detoxify the plant. By accident they discovered a certain constituent called khellin, which had antiasthma actions. It also seemed to be able to prevent asthma attacks. Further research revealed that the best preparation was two chromone molecules hooked together across and oxygen bridge. The chromone molecule was nothing more than the khellin itself. It was called cromolyn sodium.

As a result there has been a whole period of research on khella which culminated in the production of various drugs containing cromolyn sodium, which has been found to be effective in preventing asthma attachds, especially in childhood asthma. They also prevent allergic reactions, hay fever, and related conditions. They will not, however, stop an asthma attack.

As a result there are a number of European and American products and extracts that use khella and are purported to be able to prevent asthma attacks without the side effects of the whole plant.

Most common upper respiratory herbs:

Ephedra, lobelia inflata and coltsfoot

Mucilaginous plants: marshmallow, coltsfoot, mullein, plantain

Expectorant plants: lobelia, ipecacuanha, elecampane

Antibiotic herbs include Thyme and petasites.

Cough remedies include poppy and celandine

Khella (Ammi visnaga) The source for the asthma preventive drug called cromolyn sodium. Considerable western research since the 30’s has established its use to treat angina because it dilates the coronary arteries and prevent asthma. It is now available homeopathically and in various preparations as an asthma preventive.

Garlic (allium sativum)

Was described by Dioscorides according to the doctrine of signatures. This is the idea that the medicinal properties of a plant will reveal its properties symbolically by its outer form. Garlic had a hollow stalk so it would be good for diseases of the windpipe.

Garlic is natural antibiotic without any of the deleterious side effects of drug antibiotics. During the great plague people in Europe ate huge amounts of garlic and wore it to protect themselves from the ravages of the disease. It worked. Some took advantage of this fact by wearing the garlic and robbing the dead victims. While missing the plague they did not miss the hangman’s noose.

Garlic lowers serum cholesterol, and triglycerides, raises HDL and is therefore effective for preventing coronary heart disease. It dissolves LDL (harmful) cholesterol and lowers triglycerides while increasing HDL (beneficial) cholesterol levels.

It owes most of its aroma to allicin which is produced when garlic is crushed or bruised and there is a subsequent enzyme action of allinase on alliin (a sulfur containing amino acid). Most of the beneficial effects of garlic are considered to be from its sulfur compounds which help the plant to ward off destructive insects.

Garlic stimulates the lymphatic system and helps it to throw off toxins. It has a long used in treating upper respiratory problems of all kinds. A combination of garlic, vitamin C and Cayenne taken at the first sign of a cold is very effective to prevent its onslaught. It is a superior expectorant, helping to expel phlegm from the lungs. It also protects against cancer-causing agents from pollution and bad air. The Russians call garlic “Russian penicillin.” It improves circulation and stimulates the immune system. It contains anti-coagulant that normalizes blood platelet adhesion by reducing the “stickiness of the blood.” It is a potent antifungal even more powerful than the drug Nystatin. Garlic taken by mouth and as an enema is an effective anti-parasite herb.

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