Making Tinctures

Today I started making a tincture composed of Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra berry) and Huang Qi (Astragalus root). Wu Wei Zi is a tonifying and astringing herb, which means that it helps to promote regeneration in the body, and the loss of fluids through sweating or diuresis.

The most unique and intriguing aspect of this herb is that it contains all five flavors—sweet, sour, acrid, bitter and salty. This is indicated in its name (wu/five) (wei/flavor) (zi/seed).—

It can also help to”calm the shen.” The shen is a component of our spirit that manifests through our behavior and thought patterns. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our internal organs have connections to our emotions and behavior. This isn’t so farfetched, as modern science is figuring out how the vagus nerve, microbiome, guts and brain are all intricately involved in one another’s processes. The heart relates to overjoy/anxiety, the lungs to grief, the liver to anger, the spleen to worry, the kidney to fear. These associations can help an herbalist understand how to treat a particular syndrome disorder.

Sheng Mai Yin (生麥飲) takes advantage of wu wei zi’s ability to reign in fluid which is being lost from sweating, urine or diarrhea in patients who are severely deficient or who are in shock. Wu wei zi works alongside of renshen and mai men dong. Renshen and mai men dong strongly generate life saving qi and fluids, while wu wei zi stops further fluid loss. Laboratory research on wu wei zi has demonstrated a strengthening of heart function by improving diastolic and systolic actions. Systolic contractions are stronger and diastolic expansion is more complete. This formula is famous for potential or acute lifesaving situations, especially when the heart or pulse is the focus ofdeficiency.—

Huang qi, the other herb, is well known for its power to increase spleen qi. This type of qi is especially connected to digestive power, stool formation, immunity and motor control over the limbs. Huang qi is sweet and slightly warm, making it a very popular addition to many formulas that increase energy, and help the body moderate dampness. Dampness, which can manifest as edema, can be incredibly irritating to the spleen’s energetic process, as according to 5 element theory. When the spleen qi is deficient or sinking, issues like loose stools, fatigue, bruising, and weakness are typical. A pale tongue with a pale face and listlessness tend to manifest. In severe cases rectal or uterine prolapse, inguinal hernia and and loss of appetite can arise.

Biotechnology firms are working on deriving a telomerase activator from Astragalus. The chemical constituent cycloastragenol (also called TAT2) is being studied to help combatHIV, as well as infections associated with chronic diseases or aging.—

I combined these two herbs based in order to combat excess sweating and fluid loss during these Texas summer days. The logic is based on the formula called Sheng Mai Yin, except there is no Mai Dong, and Huang qi is replacing Ren Shen. Perhaps next time I will try Dang Shen, instead. This formula can be used to help fluid loss due to exercise, too, but one should have their constitution assessed by an acupuncturist or classical herbalist before taking an herbal formula. Always be very careful when taking herbs with prescription medication. If you need help understanding herbs & drugs, please schedule a session. 



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