Gui zhi shao yao zhi mu tang
gui zhi 12 bai shao 9 sheng jiang 15 zhi gan cao 6 zhi mu 12 bai zhu 15 fang feng 12 ma huang 6 fu zi 18 (2 pieces)
When there is pain of all extremities and joints, and the body is deteriorated, with the feet swollen as if they are about to fall off, with dizziness, shortness of breath, and warm waves with desire to vomit, then gui zhi shao yao zhi mu tang governs.
It treats all three yin levels with a loss of both yang and yin that generates heat and dampness that affects the joints. It warms yang and moves yin while clearing heat and dampness in the joints and the interior.
This formula is interesting because it shows many basic ideas. It is based on gui zhi jia fu zi tang. Loss of yang function gives rise to accumulations that become chronic and give rise to other accumulations.
Gui zhi, Cinnamomi cassiae ramulus is pungent sweet and warm dispersing of the imperial and ministerial fire. It warms and tonifies the shao yin and jue yin. In doing so it warms and tonifies the whole body.
Warms the vessels and frees the movement of yang qi. It frees the flow of heart yang in the chest and promotes the circulation of heart qi through the channels. Gui zhi opens the vessels and promotes flow of blood, it is one of the most important herbs for moving blood. It warms the vessels and heart and moves stagnant and sluggish blood.
Bai shao, Paeoniae radix lactiflora is sour, bitter and cool. It is sour collecting of yin fluids and blood. It is bitter descending of heat. It nourishes dryness in yang ming and the jue yin. It descends Earth and Metal and calms Wood wind.
Bai shao replenishes and harmonizes the nutritive qi and moves blood, astringes and recollects wind, nourishes tendons and stops pain. There is more gui zhi than bai shao meaning there is dispersion and warming for the surface while ensuring that yang once again descends to warm the interior and move yin.
Sheng jiang, Zingiberis rhizoma recens is pungent dispersing of the liver and pericardium blood and the ministerial fire in the san jiao. Sheng jiang is pungent dispersing of dampness and cold in the stomach domain, spleen and lung. Sheng jiang is pungent connecting of the tai yin with the tai yang. It supports raising of the clear qi to the chest and the 100 vessels.
It stops nausea by harmonizing the stomach and drying dampness and phlegm. It dries the middle burner of dampness that can arise due to spleen obstruction and deficiency and by correcting the counter flow of the stomach.
Zhi gan cao, Glycyrrhizae radix prep is sweet tonifying and nourishing of all organs but especially the heart.
Zhi gan cao is sweet and mildly warm tonifying and nourishing of yin fluids. It nourishes yin fluids in the tai yin and shao yin. It calms wind in the jue yin.
The sweet taste of zhi gan cao moderates and so adds balance to other herbs such as pungent gui zhi, sheng jiang, fu zi and ma huang by anchoring its dispersing nature.
Zhi mu, Anemarrhenae rhizome is bitter draining of heat in the stomach and lungs. It is sweet nourishing of fluids of the stomach, lungs, kidneys, and heart. It clears deficiency heat to preserve the yin blood of liver and heart, for only when yin blood is sufficient can the yang mind be controlled and pacified. It clears the heat in the jue yin liver and pericardium channels.
Zhi mu clears stagnant heat and it moistens and nourishes the joints and prevents drying from the warm pungent herbs.
Bai zhu, Atractylodis macrocephalae rhizome is sweet tonifying of the stomach domain and spleen. Bai zhu is bitter draining of excess fluids in the stomach domain, spleen, lungs and bladder.
Bai zhu assists fang feng in eliminating dampness.
Fang feng, Saposhnikoviae radix is sweet tonifying and nourishing of the spleen and lungs. It is sweet tonifying and nourishing of the tai yang and yang ming channels. It is pungent dispersing of the jue yin ministerial fire. It is called the moisturizer of the wind herbs.
Fang feng is rarely used in the Shang Han Lun and is now used as a wind herb as it assists gui zhi in freeing the surface.
Fang feng treats wind cold and dampness. It disperses cold and arrests pain with pungent strengthening of yang qi but it also contains the yin needed to anchor the yang. It promotes the flow of protective yang qi on the surface while connecting the tai yin to the tai yang.
Ma huang, Ephedrae herba is bitter descending of the lung. It is pungent dispersing of the imperial and ministerial fire. It enters the lung and bladder channel, it opens the surface, and dispels the cold on the surface. Further it dissipates lung qi and pacifies panting through opening the closed lung qi.
Ma huang opens the pores of the surface and internally promotes urination of stagnant fluids. The dose of ma huang is now lower in relation to gui zhi meaning that ma huang supports gui zhi in freeing the surface rather than the normal outward dispersing action.
Fu zi, Aconiti radix lateralis praeparata is pungent dispersing of liver blood and the ministerial fire in the san jiao. It is pungent dispersing of the heart and kidneys. It is pungent dispersing of the tai yang channels. It is pungent dispersing of excess water.
Gui zhi and fu zi are the emperors. Gui zhi rules without causing unrest. Fu zi rules with might and action. Gui zhi nourishes and fu zi does not. Fu zi disperses more than gui zhi and needs to be controlled. Gui zhi warms the tai yang bladder to warm the shao yin kidney water. Fu zi directly warms the shao yin kindey water to create qi.
Fu zi greatly warms the interior and exterior cold and benefits spleen and kidney yang. It is not combined with gan jiang to allow its free range of movement.