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Disorders of the Spleen and Stomach - Part One

by Dian Bang Shi

Translated and edited by Attilio D'Alberto and Eunkyung Kim

Pattern differentiation

Pattern differentiation is based upon the patient’s symptom manifestations, leading the practitioner to distinguish the main zangfu (viscera-bowel) organ disorder, whether it is the spleen or stomach or both. The origin of disease can be analysed using wu xing (five phase) theory and zangfu theory.

The spleen and stomach

The spleen, a yin zang, and the stomach, a yang fu, are a paired set of organs with very different characteristics and manifestations, as listed below.

The transformation and transportation functions of the spleen and stomach

The physician Wang Jie Zhai during the Ming dynasty stated that “the stomach receives and digests food whilst the spleen governs transportation and transformation, transforming the food into jing qi”. Many physicians during the Qing dynasty stated that “the function of ‘receiving and digesting’ and ‘transformation’ is different and according to this it is necessary to differentiate between the stomach and spleen”. For example, in the text Zheng Zhi Ji Yao (A Collection of Patterns and Treatments) it is stated that, “if digested food is unable to transform, there is a spleen disorder and treatment should tonify the spleen. However, if a patient is reluctant to eat but feels comfortable after eating, it is a stomach disorder”.

The stomach’s function of receiving food

The stomach is a fu organ and receives food and water. There are numerous factors that can affect the stomach: exogenous pathogens, emotions and stomach qi weakness. For example, if the stomach is invaded by exogenous pathogens such as summer-heat, damp or phlegm-damp, they cause internal blockages. If the stomach qi is deficient the stomach will not be able to receive food. Stomach fluid is stomach yin and stomach qi is stomach yang. Clinically, a stomach fluid (yin) and stomach qi (yang) deficiency can cause a poor appetite with no desire to eat.

The spleen’s function of governing transportation and transformation

The transformation of food into food essence depends upon the function of the spleen. Once transformed, food essence is then transported and dispersed to the zangfu, four extremities, bones and other parts of the body. If the spleen’s transportation function is deficient, the food remains in the stomach and cannot be digested causing abdominal distention and indigestion. If the spleen is deficient and unable to transport and disperse food essence, yuan qi will be insufficient and the whole body will be lethargic.

Treatment strategy based on pattern differentiation

If the patient has a poor appetite, indigestion but no abdominal distention after eating, it indicates that the transportation and transformation function is normal, but that the receiving of food is abnormal. Harmonise the stomach with the formula Er Chen Tang (Two-Cured Decoction). Modify according to the pattern: hot, cold, deficiency, excess, yin and yang, i.e. add Bai Dou Kou (Amomi rotundus Fructus), Mai Ya (Hordei Fructus germinantus), Dao Ya (Oryzae Fructus germinantus), Sha Ren (Amomi Fructus), Shen Qu (Massa medicata fermentata) and Bian Dou (Lablab Semen album).

If the main complaint is food retention with indigestion, abdominal distention and an aversion to excessive eating, but there is a good appetite with no nausea after eating, then the stomach function is normal and the spleen is abnormal. Strengthen the spleen and assist the transformation and transportation function by using the formula Liu Jun Zi Tang(Six-Gentleman Decoction). Additional herbs that can be added include Sha Ren (Amomi Fructus), Gan Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma), Zhi Ke (Aurantii Fructus) and Yi Zhi Ren (Alpiniae oxyphyllae Fructus) etc. They are pungent, sweet and warm in nature and strengthen the spleen qi.

If the spleen and stomach function is abnormal, the practitioner must treat both but analyse which organ is weaker and which stronger. Some herbs can treat both the spleen and stomach at the same time. For example in the classical text Bi Hua Yi Jing, it was stated that “Bai Zhu (Atractylodis macrocephalae Rhizoma), Bian Dou (Semen Dolichoris Lablab), Shan Yao (Dioscoreae Rhizoma), Zhi Ke (Aurantii Fructus), Zhi Shi (Aurantii Fructus Immaturus), Shen Qu (Massa medicata fermentata), Sha Ren (Amomi Fructus), Gan Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma) and Gan Cao (Glycyrrhizae Radix) can treat both the spleen and stomach”.

The ascending and descending function of the spleen and stomach

The spleen is a yin zang which governs ascending. The stomach is a yang fu which governs descending.

The spleen’s governing of ascending

The spleen carries the clear essence of food up. If this function is impaired and qi stagnates in the middle jiao, a person may experience indigestion, abdominal distention and chronic diarrhoea. In acute cases use Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang(Six-Gentleman Decoction with Aucklandia and Amomum) andLiu Jun Zi Tang (Six-Gentleman Decoction), with Bai Dou Kou (Amomi Fructus rotundus), Gan Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma), Huang Qi (Astragali Radix), Hou Po (Magnoliae officinalis Cortex), Zhi Shi (Aurantii Fructus Immaturus) and Zhi Ke (Aurantii Fructus), etc., all of which are pungent, sweet and warm in nature and help the spleen’s ascending function.

If spleen qi fails to ascend upwards, the qi will descend causing chronic diarrhoea with prolapse of the rectum, uterus and lower abdomen with haemorrhoids. If the spleen qi descends use Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Decoction) or Sheng Yang Yi Wei Tang (Raise the Yang and Benefit the Stomach Decoction) to raise the clear qi and stop diarrhoea.

The stomach’s governing of descending

The stomach’s function is to descend. Factors that inhibit this include exogenous pathogenic factors, diet, emotions, the liver overwhelming, phlegm, qi and blood disharmonies, etc. If stomach qi fails to descend three types of disorders can arise:

Stomach qi fails to descend

If stomach fluid is damaged it cannot moisten the stomach. This causes a failure of the descending function manifesting as a poor appetite, deficient glomus with inability to eat, constipation or dry stools and difficulty in defecating. Use sweet, cool and moist herbs to tonify the stomach yin and induce the stomach qi to descend. For example Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogonis Radix), Gua Lou Ren (Trichosanthis Semen), Sha Shen (Glehniae Radix), Yu Zhu (Polygonati odorati Rhizoma), Shi Hu (Dendrobii Herba), Huo Ma Ren (Cannabis Semen) and Tian Hua Fen (Trichosanthis Radix).

Stomach qi fails to descend with turbidity

If the stomach qi fails to descend and turbid qi cannot descend, the patient may complain of chest and stomach distention, inability to eat and nausea. If the stomach fluid is not damaged, harmonise the stomach and promote the yang qi by using the formula Er Chen Tang (Two-Cured Decoction), plus herbs such as Hou Po (Magnoliae officinalis Cortex), Zhi Shi (Aurantii Fructus Immaturus), Gan Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma), Huo Xiang (Pogostemonis/ Agastaches Herba), Bai Dou Kou (Amomi Fructus rotundus), Su Geng (Perillae Caulis) etc. Or use the formula Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang (Pinellia Decoction to Drain the Epigastrium) which is pungent and bitter in nature and helps the qi to disperse and descend.

Stomach qi cannot descend with rebellious qi

The symptoms in this category include vomiting, belching, hiccups, nausea, etc. The treatment strategy is to harmonise the stomach and descend the rebellious qi. Formulas that can be prescribed include Wen Dang Tang (Warm the Gallbladder Decoction) or Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang (Tangerine Peel and Bamboo Shaving Decoction from Formulas that Aid the Living) or Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang (Inula and Haematite Decoction). Modify according to hot or cold patterns with the main strategy being to descend the stomach qi.

The characteristics of dry and damp patterns of the spleen and stomach

According to wu xing theory, the spleen is damp earth and dislikes dampness, whilst the stomach is dry earth and dislikes dryness. During the Ming dynasty the physician Fang Guang stated that “the spleen dislikes dampness and prefers dryness”. Therefore many formulas use drying herbs to eliminate dampness in the spleen. However, when stomach fire flares upwards with symptoms of a dry mouth and throat, inability to eat and hiccups, use herbs to moisten the stomach.

Stomach dryness patterns

Stomach dryness can be caused by several factors:

· Febrile disease can damage the stomach fluid.

· Chronic disease can cause a yin deficiency.

· The use of strong diuretic herbs can injure the yin.

· The wrong use of herbs, i.e. hot or dry herbs can also injure the yin.

If the stomach fluid is damaged and cannot moisten, it is categorised as stomach dryness, with symptoms of a dry red tongue, thin pulse, dry mouth, dry or hard stools, thirst, fullness, poor appetite, no desire for food when hungry and stomach ache/pain. In these cases pungent, warm, dry, aromatic, qi regulating herbs will have no effect and may worsen the pain. The correct treatment strategy is to use sweet, cooling, moisturising herbs. Use the formula Yu Zhu Mai Men Dong Tang (see note 1), first recorded in the classical text ‘Wen Bing Tiao Bian’ (Systematic Identification of Warm Diseases). In cases of stomach dryness with pain and dry stools use Yi Guan Jian(Linking Decoction). If the bowel movements become drier, harder and difficult to defecate then promote the fluids and moisten the bowels by adding Sheng Di Huang (Rehmanniae Radix), Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogonis Radix), Xuan Shen (Scrophulariae Radix), Huo Ma Ren (Cannabis Semen), Gua Lou Ren (Trichosanthis Semen), Xing Ren (Armeniacae Semen), Bai Zi Ren (Platycladi Semen), etc. If these are administered and the stools are still difficult to pass add Sheng Shou Wu (Raw Polygoni multiflori Radix).

Spleen dampness patterns

The main symptoms of spleen dampness patterns include diarrhoea, abdominal distention and fullness with a thick or watery, greasy tongue coating. In these patterns, use bitter, warm or pungent herbs to dry dampness and strengthen the spleen, for example Ping Wei San (Calm the Stomach Powder). To promote diuresis and resolve dampness use mainly sweet and bland herbs such as Fu Ling (Poria), Hua Shi (Talcum), Che Qian Zi (Plantaginis Semen), Yi Yi Ren (Coicis Semen), and Tong Cao (Tetrapanacis Medulla). To transform dampness, use aromatic herbs such as Huo Xiang (Pogostemonis/Agastaches Herba) and Pei Lan (Eupatorii Herba). Wind expelling herbs can also be used to dry dampness such as Fang Feng (Saposhnikoviae Radix), Qiang Huo (Notopterygii Rhizoma seu Radix) and Du Hou (Angelicae pubescentis Radix), etc. If there is damp heat, add bitter and cold herbs that can dry dampness and clear heat, such as Huang Lian (Coptidis Rhizoma), Xia Ku Cao (Prunellae Spica) and Huang Qin (Scutellariae Radix), etc. If there is cold damp add Wu Zhu Yu (Evodiae Fructus), Gan Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma), Cao Dou Kou (Alpiniae katsumadai Semen), Yi Zhi Ren (Alpiniae oxyphyllae Fructus), etc.

The spleen, stomach and liver relationship

The liver qi exploiting the stomach

Stomach is earth and the liver is wood. When the liver exploits the stomach it is like wood growing up into and through the earth, a form of counter-action.

There are three types of disharmony within this category.

1) Liver fire exploits the stomach

When liver fire exploits the stomach, the main symptoms include acid regurgitation, nausea and epigastric pain. In such instances use a formula to disperse the liver and harmonise the stomach such as Er Chen Tang (Two-Cured Decoction) plus Jin Ling Zi Tang (Melia Toosendan Decoction) and Zuo Jin Tang (Left Metal Deoction) or use Er Chen Tang (Two-Cured Decoction) with Wu Mei (Mume Fructus), Huang Lian (Coptidis Rhizoma) and Chuan Jiao (Zanthoxyli Pericarpium), etc, which makes-up the formula Wu Mei An Wei Wan (see note 2) (Harmonise the Stomach Pill with Mume). During the Qing dynasty, the physician Wang Xu Gao was recorded as stating that “the use of bitter, pungent and sour herbs can disperse liver fire and inhibit its invasion into the stomach”.

2) Liver qi stagnates then exploits the stomach

The main symptoms of this pattern include epigastric and hypochondriac pain and distention and belching. These symptoms are related to emotional upsets. The treatment strategy should soothe the liver and harmonise the stomach. Use the formula Si Ni Tang (Frigid Extremities Decoction). Additional herbs that can be added include Gui Zhi (Cinnamomi Ramulus), Qing Pi (Citri reticulatae viride Pericarpium), Chen Pi (Citri reticulatae Pericarpium), Xiang Fu (Cyperi Rhizoma), Ban Xia (Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum) and Bai Dou Kou (Amomi Fructus rotundus), etc.

3) Stomach yin depletion allows the liver qi to exploit

In this category the main symptoms include prolonged epigastric pain, dry stools, dry mouth and a deep red tongue. The use of warm, pungent herbs to regulate qi will make the symptoms worse because the liver is a hard organ and needs herbs to soften and harmonise it. The treatment strategy should be directed towards softening the liver and nourishing the stomach yin. Use Yi Guan Jian (Linking Decoction) or Di Ding Tang (see note 3), which nourishes the stomach yin and stomach qi, controls the liver, stops pain and vomiting and regulates qi. These formulas are not too dry and nourish the yin without being too greasy. If there is constipation remove Wu Wei Zi (Schisandrae Fructus) and Wu Mei (Mume Fructus) as they astringe.

The Liver qi exploits the spleen’s deficiency

In this category the spleen is primarily deficient and allows itself to be exploited by the liver qi. The main manifestations include diarrhoea, abdominal distention and pain:

1) Diarrhoea

When a deficient spleen allows itself to be invaded by the liver with symptoms of diarrhoea, it is by definition a chronic condition. Other symptoms will include abdominal pain, the need to defecate accompanied by pain which is relieved after defecating. During the Ming dynasty it was stated in the text ‘Yi Fang Kao’ (‘Medical Remedies Researched’) that “the pain is caused by the liver whilst the diarrhoea is caused by the spleen”. The liver disease is primarily characterised by excess and therefore exploits the deficient spleen. In such cases use Tong Xie Yao Fang (Important Formula for Painful Diarrhoea) to control wood and assist earth. Prof. Shi likes to use the physician Li Dong Yuan’s formula Sheng Yang Yi Wei Tang (Raise the Yang to Benefit the Stomach Decoction) and add or remove herbs to tonify qi, ascend yang qi and strengthen the spleen to remove dampness. If the abdominal pain is severe add Rou Gui (Cinnamomi Cortex) and Wu Zhu Yu (Evodiae Fructus). For diarrhoea, it is also possible to use Pao Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma preparata) instead of Sheng Jiang (Zingiberis Rhizoma recens).

1) Abdominal distention and pain

There are many pathogenic factors that can cause abdominal distention and pain, the most common of which is liver qi invading the spleen. In the Qing dynasty, Hua Xiu Yun stated that “the liver exploits the spleen causing abdominal distention”. Sometimes the patient will have alternating constipation or loose stools. Abdominal distention is caused by a failure of the spleen’s role in transformation and transportation. Deficient cold and qi dissipating also causes distention. The main treatment strategy is to strengthen the spleen to assist its transportation function. If this is not successful, add sour herbs to soothe the liver thus inhibiting its invasion into the spleen. Use the formulas Li Zhong Tang(Regulate the Middle Decoction) and Liu Jun Zi Tang (Six-Gentlemen Decoction). It is also possible to add Bai Shao (Paeoniae Radix Alba), Rou Gui (Cinnamomi Cortex), Mu Gua (Chaenomelis Fructus), Wu Mei (Mume Fructus) etc. For abdominal pain due to spleen and stomach deficient cold, warm the middle jiao and regulate qi. If this is not effective use Liu Jun Zi Tang (Six-Gentlemen Decoction) and Wu Zhu Yu (Evodiae Fructus), Rou Gui (Cinnamomi Cortex), Bai Shao (Paeoniae Radix Alba), Mu Xiang (Aucklandiae Radix) and Chuan Jiao (Zanthoxyli Pericarpium). If this is still not effective, then change the main formula to Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang (Astragalus Decoction to Construct the Middle). If this again is not successful use Xiao Chai Hu Tang(Minor Bupleurum Decoction) and Xiao Jian Zhong Tang (Minor Construct the Middle Decoction) plus and minus various herbs. Clinically, Prof. Shi likes to use Xiao Jian Zhong Tang (Minor Construct the Middle Decoction) plus Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Minor Bupleurum Decoction), modified, for hunger pains relieved by eating, epigastric discomfort with excessive eating and an aversion to cold food.

The spleen, stomach and kidney relationship

According to wu xing theory, the spleen and stomach are earth. The kidney has two characteristics, fire (kidney yang, the gate of vitality, which warms) and water (kidney yin). In spleen and stomach disorders, some common patterns of the spleen, stomach and kidney’s pathomechanisms are related.

The spleen, stomach and kidney yang deficiency

Fire generates earth because kidney yang can warm the spleen earth. When the stomach and spleen yang qi are deficient, the practitioner should tonify not only the spleen and stomach but also warm and nourish the kidney yang. This method is known as ‘tonifying fire to generate earth’.

Chronic diarrhoea

When the spleen, stomach and kidney are deficient there will be symptoms of chronic diarrhoea and distention. The chronic diarrhoea presents as loose stools as well as undigested food. Symptoms will include four limbs that are cold and tire easy, pale tongue and face, a lack of shen, an aversion to cold and wind and a thin, small, deep pulse. During the consultation the physician should ask the patient if there is any undigested food present in the stools. This may indicate that the patient has a deficiency of kidney fire. The treatment strategy should warm and tonify kidney yang (fire). Use Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan(Prepared Aconite Pill to Regulate the Middle) plus Si Shen Wan (Four-Miracle Pill). If the tongue is tender (fresh), use Pi Shen Shuang Bu Wan (see note 4) to tonify the spleen and kidney. The practitioner can also use Wei Guan Jian (see note 5). Additionally add Rou Dou Kou (Myristicae Semen) and Bu Gu Zhi (Psoraleae Fructus) to tonify the kidney.

Abdominal distension

When the spleen and stomach yang are deficient, the main symptoms will include a poor appetite, epigastric distension which is worse after eating, an aversion to cold food, an aversion to cold, a white tongue coating and a deep, thin pulse. Use the formula Li Yin Jian (see note 6) plus Bai Zhu (Atractylodis macrocephalae Rhizoma), Dang Shen (Codonopsitis Radix), Sha Ren (Amomi Fructus), Cao Dou Kou (Alpiniae katsumadai Semen) and Mu Xiang (Aucklandiae Radix) to warm and tonify the spleen and kidney.

The physician Yu Ting Hong stated in the text ‘Zhen Yu Ji’ (Medical Case Records of Yu Ting Hong), that “in deficient distention cases use herbs to warm and tonify the spleen and kidney”, for example Huang Qi (Astragali Radix), Bai Zhu (Atractylodis macrocephalae Rhizoma), Ren Shen (Ginseng Radix), Fu Zi (Aconiti Radix lateralis preparata), Rou Gui (Cinnamomi Cortex), Ba Ji Tian (Morindae officinalis Radix), Tu Si Zi (Cuscutae Semen), Gou Qi Zi (Lycii Fructus), Shu Di Huang (Rehmanniae Radix preparata), Du Zhong (Eucommiae Cortex), Yi Zhi Ren (Alpiniae oxyphyllae Fructus) and Bu Gu Zhi (Psoraleae Fructus). Clinically therefore, for deficiency distension a practitioner should use tonifying herbs accompanied by symptoms of obstruction, a therapeutic method contrary to the usual strategy. Another physician Yan Yong He stated in the text ‘Ji Sheng Fang’ that “tonifying the spleen method is inferior to tonifying the kidney”.

The spleen, stomach and kidney yin deficiency

Spleen and stomach disorders have four different patterns: yin, yang, heat and cold. If there is a spleen and stomach yin deficiency, invigorate and nourish kidney yin. The physician Gao Gu Feng stated that “if the kidney is vigorous then the stomach yin will be abundant”. Another physician Jiang Wen Zhai stated that “tonifying the kidney can help the appetite and the stomach function”. If there is stomach pain due to stomach yin deficiency, nourish the liver and kidney yin. For example, in cases of dysphagia with a kidney yin deficiency leading to the spleen and stomach’s fluid to dry out, it will be unable to moisten with food being difficult to pass down. The patient will usually be thin and the stools like pellets. Use the formula Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six-Ingredient Pill with Rehmannia). However, if there is a case where a patient has kidney yin deficiency which causes a deficiency of stomach yin and the treatment strategy used does not nourish the kidney yin, the treatment will not be successful. Use the formula Yi Guan Jian (Linking Decoction) or Shu Gan Yi Shen Tang [Liu Wei Di Huang Tang plus Chai Hu (Bupleuri Radix) and Bai Shao (Paeoniae Radix alba)].

The spleen, stomach and heart relationship

The heart is fire and in general fire generates earth. However, clinically if the spleen and stomach yang is deficient it is necessary to tonify fire to generate earth as mentioned in the category ‘the spleen, stomach and kidney yang deficiency’. To generate spleen earth, one should tonify kidney fire. To generate stomach earth, one should tonify heart fire. If there is a stomach deficiency with prolonged epigastric pain, use Gui Pi Tang (Restore the Spleen Decoction) or Miao Xiang San (Marvellously Fragrant Powder) to warm and tonify the heart and spleen. If there is poor appetite, epigastric distention after eating and diarrhoea caused by spleen or stomach deficiency, Prof. Shi believes that tonifying the kidney fire is a better method. If there is heart blood deficiency, one can also warm and tonify heart fire. If there is excessive heart fire it can lead to a spleen and stomach disorder with symptoms such as irritability, palpitations, insomnia, mouth ulcers and a thin, rapid pulse. In such cases use Tian Wang Bu Xin Tang (Emperor of Heaven’s Special Decoction to Tonify the Heart) to nourish heart yin.


1. Yu Zhu Mai Men Dong Tang: Yu Zhu (Rhizoma Polygonati Odorati), Mai Men Dong (Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici), Sha Shen (Radix Adenophorae seu Glehniae) and Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis).

2. Wu Mei An Wei Wan: Wu Mei (Fructus Mume), Chuan Jiao (Pericarpium Zanthoxyli Bungeani), Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Praeparata), Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi), Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis), Huang Bai (Cortex Phellodendri), Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis), Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae), Qing Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae Viride), Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Lactiflorae), Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng), Chuan Lian Zi (Fructus Meliae Toosendan).

3. Di Ding Tang: Sheng Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Glutinosae), Ding Xiang (Flos Caryophylli), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae), Hou Po Hua (Flos Magnoliae Officinalis), (milder than Hou Po (Cortex Magnoliae Officinalis), not too dry), Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsitis Pilosulae), Mai Men Dong (Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici), Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis), Wu Mei (Fructus Pruni Mume), Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis) and Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis).

4. Pi Shen Shuang Bu Wan: Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng-Dang Shen), Shan Yao (Radix Dioscoreae Oppositae), Lian Rou (Semen Nelumbinis Nuciferae), Sha Ren (Fructus Amomi), Ju Hong (Pars Rubra Epicarpii Citri Erythrocarpae), Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni Officinalis), Ba Ji Tian (Radix Morindae Officinalis), Tu Si Zi (Semen Cuscutae Chinensis), Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis), Bu Gu Zhi (Fructus Psoraleae Corylifoliae), Rou Dou Kou (Semen Myristicae Fragrantis) and Che Qian Zi (Semen Plantaginis).

5. Wei Guan Jian: Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Glutinosae Conquitae), Shan Yao (Radix Dioscoreae Oppositae), Bai Bian Dou (Semen Dolichoris Lablab), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Zhi Gan Cao (Processed Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis), Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae Rutaecarpae) and Pao Jiang (Quick-fried Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis).

6. Li Yin Jian: Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Glutinosae Conquitae), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis) and Zhi Gan Cao (Processed Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis).

This article was first published in The Lantern, Sep 2005.


Dian Bang Shi opened his own clinic in 1942,graduated from Beijing University of TCM in1957 and is the retired director of China Academy of TCM. He specialises in spleen and stomach disorders and still practices at the age of 83 in Xi Yuan hospital, Beijing, China.

Attilio D’Alberto graduated from a jointly run program at Middlesex and Beijing Universities in with a BSc (Hons) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Middlesex University) and a Bachelor of Medicine (Beijing University of TCM). He currently practices in various busy clinics in London. Correspondence:

Eunkyung Kim received a BA in Chinese Literature. Later she graduated from a jointly run program at Middlesex and Beijing Universities with an honours degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Middlesex University) and a Bachelor of Medicine (Beijing University of TCM). She currently practices at The Earth Health Clinic in London. Correspondence:

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