Ovate Atractylodes Root (Bai Zhu)

Pinyin
Bai Zhu

 

Pharmaceutical
Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae

 

Botanical
Atractylodes macrocephala Koidzumi (Compositae)

 

Other names
Sheng Bai Zhu

 

Origin
Zhejiang, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian, Anhui.

 

Properties (characteristics)
Nature: Warm.
Taste: Bitter, sweet. It is a little sticky when chewed.
Organ: Spleen, Stomach.
Toxicity: Non toxic.  

 

Preparation
The drug is collected in winter while the lower leaf of the plant turns yellow and the upper leaf becomes fragile, removed from soil, baked or sunned to dryness, and then removed from fibrous root. The drug can also be simple stir-fried, or processed with terra (stir-fry the slices of Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae with fine powders of Terra Flova Usta until the outer surface ashen, and sift).  

 

Actions
Traditionally, it is being used in pixu (spleen deficient) with lack of appetite, flatulence with diarrhea, abundance of phlegm, dizziness, palpitation, edema, instant sweating, and  excessive fetus movements.

1. for hardening of liver, liver cancer. In case of yinxu, use raw bai zhu plus other yin enhancing herbs according  to diagnostics.

2. children drooling

3. Meniere's disease

4. constipation

5. chronic back pain

6. acute infection of intestine

7. low white cell count

 

Medical Functions
1. Digestive System

(1) Protects Liver: Extraction of bai zhu  (by boiling with water) was given to lab mice that had liver damage caused by carbon chloride. It lessened the necrosis and mutation of liver cells, and improved the new growth of the liver cells. It lowered the glutamate-pyruvate transaminase (GPT) that was increased

(2) Improves gall secretion

(3) Prevents ulcer of stomach

(4) Improves movements of intestines and bowels

2. Diuretics

3. Improves immune system

4. Anti Cancer

Laboratory tests showed that neutral oil of the vaporizing oil  bai zhu could inhibit esophagus  cancer cells. 10mg/ml/hour could detach all the cancer cells. 5mg/ml/hour could detach most of the cancer cells and damaged the remaining cells. The nucleus became hazy and the cells became empty bubbles.

5. Affects heart and blood vessels

6. Lowers blood sugar

7. Anti coagulation of blood

8. Anti bacteria

 

Indications

A. Spleen qi deficiency syndrome

It is praised as "the most important herb of spleen qi tonifying and spleen invigorating", because it can tonify qi and invigorate spleen. It is especially indicated for poor appetite, loose stool, diarrhea, phlegm-fluid, edema, and leukorrhagia due to spleen deficiency with dampness stagnation, because it can dry dampness, induce diuresis too. For poor appetite, loose stool and diarrhea due to spleen deficiency with dampness, it is commonly combined with qi and spleen tonics, diuretics and damp-eliminating herbs. For instance, it is used with Ren Shen and Fu Ling in Si Jun Zi Tang from He Ji Ju Fang. For phlegm-fluid stagnating internally due to deficiency of middle yang and spleen, it is combined with herbs of warming yang, generating qi, inducing diuresis and eliminating dampness. For instance, it is used with Gui Zhi and Fu Ling in Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang from Jin Gui Yao Lue. For edema due to spleen deficiency, it is combined with herbs of tonifying spleen, inducing diuresis. For instance, it is used with Ren Shen, Fu Ling and Yi Yi Ren in Shen Ling Bai Zhu San from He Ji Ju Fang. For leukorrhagia in thin quality due to dampness-turbid pouring downwards caused by spleen deficiency, it is combined with spleen-tonifying, damp-drying and leukorrhagia-stopping herbs. For instance, it is used with Shan Yao and Cang Zhu in Wan Dai Tang from Fu Qing Zhu Nv Ke. Besides, it can be used with Ren Shen and Huang Qi for bleeding due to spleen deficiency and failure of spleen to control blood, or collapsing of middle qi due to spleen deficiency.

B. Syndrome of spontaneous sweating due to qi deficiency

It is indicated for syndrome of spontaneous sweating due to qi deficiency, because it can strengthen superficies to check sweating through tonifying qi. It is effective when used singly, or combined with qi-tonifying, superficies-strengthening and sweating-astringing herbs. For instance, it is used with Huang Qi and Fu Xiao Mai. For spontaneous sweating, susceptible to wind pathogen due to exterior deficiency caused by lung and spleen qi deficiency, insecurity of defensive qi, it is combined with lung and spleen-tonifying and wind-dispersing herbs. For instance, it is used with Huang Qi and Fang Feng in Yu Ping Feng San from Dan Xi Xin Fa.

C. Threatened abortion, vomiting with poor appetite in pregnancy due to spleen deficiency

It is a key herb for preventing abortion. It is particularly indicated for threatened abortion due to spleen qi deficiency, because it prevents abortion through tonifying qi and invigorating spleen. For threatened abortion due to spleen qi deficiency, it is combined with qi and spleen tonifying, yin and blood nourishing herbs. For instance, it is used with Ren Shen and Fu Ling. For vomiting with poor appetite, weighty and swollen limbs during pregnancy due to damp-turbid stagnation caused by spleen deficiency with dysfunction of transportation, it is combined with qi-tonifying, spleen-invigorating and damp-eliminating herbs. For instance, it is used with Ren Shen, Fu Ling and Chen Pi.

Dosage and Administrations
Decoct 6~12g, 30~60g in large dosage, stir-baked with bran for enhancing action of spleen tonifying and dampness drying, and stir-baked with soil for enhancing action of spleen-tonifying and diarrhea-relieving.

 

Contraindications
Dryness, thirst, and injury to the Fluids.
Internal Heat from Yin Deficiency.
Dampness in the Middle Burner.