Functions and applications of Long Yan Rou and Suan Zao Ren By Alexandre Djukanovic

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1 Functions and applications of Long Yan Rou and Suan Zao Ren By Alexandre Djukanovic 龍眼肉 lóng yăn ròu, "dragon eye flesh 酸棗仁 suān zăo rén, "sour date seed"

2 1. Summary In this paper the functions and uses of Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén are investigated via literature research, mainly using the works of Bensky, Maciocia and Yifan Yang. Their combined function is: to calm the mind, promote sleeping, nourish blood and yin and prevent sweating. Looking at the actions, indications and the specific properties of the herbs, it is evident that there is strong relationship to blood. And because blood, the mind (Shen) and the Heart are so closely connected; the Heart Qi and blood are central elements in the functioning of these herbs. A synergistic effect of using these herbs is also shown in this paper. The crux herein is both Qi and blood are tonified and nourished as are the most important organs in blood formation; the Heart, Spleen and Liver. An elegant balance between the harmonization of Qi and blood is shown, which is such an important feature inand of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). With relation to the five Shen, the Hun and Yi are most affected by these herbs. From deductive reasoning it appears that mania could be an appropriate condition from the Hun s impaired functioning. The main patterns, or roots (Ben) of diseases where these herbs might be useful are Heart Qi or blood deficiency, Liver- Spleen- or Yin deficiency. The herbs can be used in cases of deficiency fire, but not for excess fire or constraint (especially with an excess cause). With consideration of the contraindications, the herbs can also be used for other patterns to treat the manifestation (Biao) of an agitated mind. And finally, because of their nourishing and mild properties supporting the mind, the herbs also lend themselves for a more preventative- and long term use as a tea. 2

3 2. Introduction The choice for investigating this herb combination is because of my interest in the mind or Shen. Because of this, I wanted the herbs to have a more direct effect on the mind. E.g. not calming the mind by relieving stasis etc., instead that their main action is towards the mind itself. I came to these specific herbs by asking my teacher 1 what an interesting and clinically relevant combination for calming the mind is The goal of this paper In this paper the functions and uses of Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén are explored. The main goal is to obtain more knowledge about these herbs in their use alone and together. This thesis attempts to answer this research question: What are the functions and clinical applications of Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén? To answer this question the following sub-questions are used: What are the herb properties, actions and cautions? For which patterns can they be used? Do they mainly treat the root (Ben), manifestation (Biao) or both? Are they better used as single herbs or together? What is the effect of these herbs on blood? Which emotions are relevant to the actions of these herbs My initial assumption or hypothesis is that they are used in patterns that affect the heart, either as a root cause, or as a result of other pathologies. Because they work on the mind directly I assume that they might be used more for treating the manifestation than the root. I also assume that these herbs together have a synergistic effect, the main question (again) is for which patterns or situations does this apply Structure and content In the following paragraphs the functions, indications and properties of the herbs are described and explored. This is done in the first part mainly by citing selected references. Towards the second part and end of this section preliminary conclusion are made. One conclusion that is important to mention now is the importance of the relationship to blood and the Heart. Next the relationship between the Heart, blood and Shen is described. And in the next chapter this is followed up with chapters on Blood and Heart patterns, progressing more into the appropriate conditions for applying the herbs. Shen patterns and emotions are explored further in separate paragraphs, emphasizing their importance in the application of these herbs. Finally the paper is ended with a conclusion. 1 Mr. Kris Oosting, Qing Bai Academia 3

4 2.2. Description of Suān zăo rén Suān zăo rén translates as sour date seed, see below for a picture of the tree and the dried seeds 2 : Figure 1, Suān zăo rén tree (left) and dried seeds (right). In the table below the properties of Suān zăo rén are depicted (Bensky, p. 928): Information Key characteristics Category Latin name Properties Dosage Caution Description Nourishes the Heart yin and Liver blood, promotes sleep, and inhibits sweating. Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the spirit. Ziziphi spinosae Semen. Sweet, Sour, Gallbladder, Heart, Liver, Spleen meridians entered gr. Use with caution in cases of severe diarrhea or heat from excess. Actions - Nourishes the Heart yin, augments the Liver blood, and quiets the spirit - Prevents abnormal sweating Indications - Irritability, insomnia and palpitations with anxiety to either blood deficiency (inability to nourish the Heart) or yin deficiency (with upward-flaring fire). Table 1, overview of the properties of suān zăo rén. - For both spontaneous sweating and night sweating From the actions and the properties in Table 1 a strong link towards blood can be made. The meridians: Heart, Liver and Spleen all have important functions related to blood, see also paragraph 2.4 for more details on this matter. The action of nourishing Heart yin and augmenting Liver blood also (literally) makes the connection of this herb to blood. So a preliminary conclusion can be made in that there is a strong relation between blood and the actions and indications of this herb. Because of the sweetness it also has tonifying and nourishing properties (Yifan Yang, p.4). Also a moderate quality can be ascribed to sweetness, meaning that this property can reduce stress, harmonize emotions and bring relief from anger (Yifan Yang, p.5). Furthermore, because of the strong relation to blood (a Yin substance) makes that this herb is most suitable in cases of deficiency of yin and blood. This is particularly the case for deficiency to the organs it enters: Liver, Spleen and Heart. It is also interesting that Suān zăo rén enters the Gallbladder. This likely explains the indication it has where yin deficiency leads to an upward-flaring fire

5 The last property to be discussed is Suān zăo rén s sourness. Sourness is said to be astringent and it can stabilize Qi, blood, essence, and body fluids. It also prevents their loss, which is useful knowing that this herb is indicated in cases of deficiency. Because sourness stabilizes the substances described before, it is also said to be nourishing for the body (Yifan Yang, p.5). Combining the properties of Suān zăo rén, it has nourishing, stabilizing properties, benefitting yin and blood. And because of this there is a calming effect it induces. This answers two questions for this research. First: there is a strong relation to blood. Second: it does seem that this herb has intrinsic qualities with which it calms the mind. 3 Combinations The purpose of this paragraph is to provide a broader perspective to which this herb can be used in combination with other herbs and indications. This is not the main purpose of this paper, but from these descriptions the function of Suān zăo rén can possibly be reaffirmed and further clarified. The following combinations are given in Bensky (p. 928) for different indications: With Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae alba), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae sinensis), Zhi He Shou Wu (Polygoni multiflori Radix preparata): for irritability, insomnia, palpitations with anxiety due to Heart blood and Yin deficiency. With Zhi Mu (Anemarrhenae Rhizoma) and Fu Ling (Poria), for insomnia and irritability due to Liver yin deficiency and accompanied heat: as in Spiny Zizyphus Decoction (Suan Zao Ren Tang). With Wu Wei Zi (Schisandrae Fructus) and Huang Qi (Astragali Radix) and Shan Zhu Yu (Corni Fructus) for spontaneous sweating and night sweats. With Ya Dan Zi, (Bensky, p.190) a cold and bitter herb. Together they have the function to eliminate a pathogen (heat) while supporting the normal Qi and protecting the stomach from the cold and bitter properties of Ya Dan Zi. The first combination with added: Bai Shao and Dang Gui, Zhi He Shou Wu, seems appropriate in the sense that these herbs all strengthen the blood. The second combination with Zhi mu and Fu Ling added seems also appropriate in that the pattern described is one of Liver in deficiency. Also there is a formula represented here, this will further discussed in paragraph 2.5. The third combination can be relevant since deficiency of yin can lead to sweat. However, sweating by itself is not a focus of this paper. The fourth and last combination is interesting, it shows the nourishing properties. However eliminating pathogens is not the focus of this paper. 3 In my research question I asked whether or not herbs have an intrinsic quality by which they calm the mind. Now I realize that this can only partly be answered. The properties of the herbs are described and categorized in such detail, that intrinsic is not an applicable concept. The part of the question that can be answered is that the properties align so beautifully towards calming the mind, that is does seem intrinsic. Also in my reasoning intrinsic could perhaps relate more to the effects of treating the Biao than the Ben of a disease. 5

6 2.3. Description of Lóng yăn ròu Lóng yăn ròu has an imaginative name that translates as dragon eye flesh. The picture on below on the left 4 shows the longan fruit growing on a tree. On the right 5 the resemblance to a dragon eye can be seen: Figure 2, Left: longan fruit hanging from a tree, right: longan fruit cut in half. With a little bit of imagination you can see the dragon s eye in the darkness of the seed. In the table below the properties of Lóng yăn ròu are depicted (Bensky, p. 764): Information Key characteristics Category Latin name Properties Dosage Caution Description Nourishes the blood, tonifies the qi, calms the spirit Tonifying herbs, herbs that tonify the blood Longan Arillus Sweet, warm, Heart, Spleen meridians entered 9-15 gr. Contraindicated with fire from constraint, phlegm with qi stagnation, obstruction due to dampness. Actions - Tonifies and augments heart and spleen, nourishes the blood and calms the spirit. Indications - For insomnia, heart palpitations, forgetfulness, or dizziness due to Heart and Spleen deficiency. Commonly used for problems associated with excessive pensiveness or overwork. Can be taken alone as a tea. Table 2, overview of the properties of lóng yăn ròu. This herb has an evident relationship to blood as it is in the category of blood tonifying herbs. Also the properties of being sweet and warm (i.e. tonifying/nourishing and slightly moving) and entering the Heart and Spleen meridians (important for blood formation). 4 This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. 5 Dimocarpus longan; 2007; author Minha Autoria; permission under GFDL 6

7 Combinations The purpose of this paragraph is to provide a broader perspective to which this herb can be used in combination with other herbs and indications. This is not the main purpose of this paper, but from these descriptions the function of Lóng yăn ròu can possibly be reaffirmed and further clarified. With Dang Gui, Ren Shen and Suan Zao Ren: for palpitations and insomnia due to Heart Qi deficiency and Spleen Qi deficiency as in the formula Gui Pi Tang (discussed in paragraph 2.5). With Bai He: for mild cases of insomnia and excitability With Shi Chang Pu: for forgetfulness, dizziness and fatigue due to Heart Qi and blood deficiency Cooked with white sugar: for insufficiency of Qi and Blood With Sheng Jiang and Da Zao: for postpartum exhaustion of Qi and blood with floating edema The first combination seems very relevant to this paper since there are herbs in it that tonify blood (Dang Gui) and Qi (Ren Shen). Since blood is so relevant to the use of Lóng yăn ròu, the combination with Qi and blood tonics seems very useful for clinical use. Interestingly Suān zăo rén is also named here, the formula will be discussed later. The second and third combination are somewhat specific, but very much in line with the mental indications for Lóng yăn ròu. For that reason it is good to have them in mind. The fourth is interesting, it seems a more short term (Biao) or acute approach to a Qi and blood deficiency compared to the first combination. The last combination is very specific, but does again show a use where Qi is tonified. 7

8 2.4. Relation to organs, blood and Shen In TCM the Shen is related to the Heart, which is said to govern our emotions and to blood, which is said to anchor the Shen. It is very likely that when the Shen is disturbed and needs calming, that blood, or blood related organs, are affected. Below is depicted the relationship between Liver, Spleen and Heart and blood (Maciocia, foundations of Chinese medicine, p. 62). Spleen, makes Liver, stores Heart, governs Blood Figure 3, the relationship between the Spleen, Liver, Heart and blood Functionally these organs are arguably most important for blood. Obviously the Lung and Kidneys are important to. Kidneys provide the essence from which blood is created and the Lungs push the Gu Qi in the Heart where blood is formed. It is interesting to note that Suān zăo rén enters the Spleen, Liver, Gallbladder and Heart meridians. Lóng yăn ròu enters the Spleen and Heart meridians. Are very strong relation with this two herbs to blood is evident at this stage because of the relationship the corresponding organs have to blood. And blood and the Heart both are said to house the Shen. In the same paragraph Maciocia provides this quote from the Su Wen 6,7 : Blood is the mind of a person To summarize for this moment our mental faculties depend on sufficient blood to function correctly. 6 Later it is also described that the Heart and Heart blood house the Shen and that Liver blood houses the Hun specifically (p. 335). 7 The reference to the Su Wen is: Chapter 26, p. 443, of Unschuld s translation of the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, see the literature. 8

9 In the overview below emotions, i.e. mental functioning, are connected to symptoms of Qi and blood disturbances (Maciocia, foundations of Chinese Medicine, p. 301): Emotion Is/effects Qi Disrupts the Qi mechanism Causes: Qi / Blood stagnation Leads to: Damp Phlegm Heat Cold Figure 4, inhibited functioning of the mind (by an emotion) leads to an impaired Qi mechanism, stagnation and creation of pathogenic factors. The latter can cause stagnation by themselves and also disturb the mind. This picture above again shows the relationship between Qi and blood, but now from a pathological perspective. Going from left to right is also a timeline, going from short term (emotions) to midterm (Qi stagnation) to long term (blood stagnation and occurrence of other pathogenic factors). Because the long term effect accompanied with pathogenic factors it is likely that there is a form of excess at that stage. Therefore with chronic cases it is important to keep this in mind because the herbs central in this paper are contraindicated for situations with excess. In such cases other herbs might be needed in the formula to overcome this. 9

10 2.5. Formulas In this paragraph a short overview is given of known formulas where Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén are used. It is meant as an overview, obviously these formulas can be analyzed in great detail, but this is not the purpose of this paper. Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén are both found in the restore the Spleen decoction (Gui Pi Tang), with these herbs (Yifan, herbal formulas, p. 153): Ren Shen Qi tonic Huang Qi Qi tonic Bai Zhu tonifies Qi, dries damp Zhi Gan Cao honey fried Qi tonic Fu Ling Strengthens Spleen, dries damp Suan Zao Ren nourishes yin and Liver blood Long Yan Rou tonifies blood (and Qi) Dang Gui blood tonic Yuan Zhi calms the heart, dispels phlegm Mu Xiang moves Qi (Spleen and Stomach) Sheng Jiang warms the middle Da Zao harmonizes formula, tonifies Spleen and Qi, nourishes blood This formula treats chronic Spleen Qi deficiency, which leads to impaired formation of Qi and blood, which than cannot support the Heart, according to Yifan. It is interesting to see that both Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén are present in this formula. Implying their use as Heart, Liver, Qi and blood strengtheners. The formula further contains mainly Qi strengthening herbs and herbs that are directed towards treating dampness. Dampness is likely to be present in cases of chronic Spleen Qi deficiency. Also a blood tonic is present, complementing the function of generating Qi. And finally also a Qi moving herb is present, most likely to prevent stagnation of Qi as a result of all the tonifying herbs. Suān zăo rén Suān zăo rén tang has these components 8 : Suan Zao Ren nourishes yin and Liver blood Chuan Xiong Moves blood and Qi Fu Ling Strengthens Spleen, dries damp Zhi Mu Clears heat and fire Gan Cao Harmonizes formula, tonifies Heart and Spleen Qi

11 2.6. Summary of the introduction Both Qi and blood are central to the herbs in this paper. Lóng yăn ròu is from the blood tonifying category. Whereas Suān zăo rén is from the calming the mind category. As the mind is anchored in (Heart) blood, both have a direct and indirect effect on calming the mind. Suān zăo rén nourishes Liver blood and Heart yin. Lóng yăn ròu nourishes blood and tonifies Qi. Blood, Qi, and the most important organs in blood formation (Heart, Spleen and Liver) are nourished. The herbs complement each other, as do Qi and blood. In the work of Yifan Yang, Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén are put together with the aim of tonifying Heart Qi (Yifan, herbal formulas, p ) 9. In this pattern Lóng yăn ròu acts as chief and Suān zăo rén acts as a deputy. Very elegantly do these herbs act towards the mind, focusing on nourishing blood, and at the same time strengthen the Qi. With this it fulfills a required balance between Qi and blood. As known their relationship is crucial in CM (Maciocia, foundations of CM, p. 151) 10 : Qi is the commander of blood, blood is the mother of Qi Or in the word of Yifan Yang (herbal formulas p. 144): Qi guides the blood and blood carries the Qi In the herbs described in this paper these quotes appear very relevant, where both Qi and blood are tonified and nourished together. 9 These two herbs are written down with a number of other possibilities. More specific the context in which they are placed is to tonify the Heart Qi, nourish the Heart blood, regulate blood circulation and calm the mind. 10 It was quite hard to find a classical reference for this quote. This quote likely originates from the Nan Jing, classic of difficulties (Unschuld, p. 359). There it looks like this: "The heart masters the blood; the blood is occupied with the constructive [functions]. The lung masters the influences; the influences are occupied with protective [functions]. The flow of blood relies on the [movement of the protective] influences; the movement of these influences depends on the [flow of the] blood. Blood and influences proceed [through the organism] in mutual dependency." NOTE: "influences" should read as: "qi". If this is the original text for Maciocia s quote, there are some differences. Mainly that the original is more elaborate and shows more interdependence between qi and blood. 11

12 3. Pathologies, patterns In this chapter the most important patterns are given and compared with the contraindications the herbs have. Because of their importance to the functioning of the mind (described earlier) separate paragraphs on: Blood, Heart and Liver are used to shed light on this subject Stasis patterns The most important stasis patterns are: Qi stagnation Blood stagnation Qi and blood stagnation Stagnation by damp or phlegm Lóng yăn ròu contraindications: Fire from constraint, Phlegm with qi stagnation, Obstruction due to dampness Suān zăo rén cautions: In cases of severe diarrhea, Heat from excess Stasis patterns are very important to be aware of in cases of a disturbed or agitated Shen. However, the herbs discussed in this paper are not well suited for use in stasis patterns by themselves. They can of course be considered, especially if there is a background of Qi and blood deficiency. But because this is not the main domain of this paper, this stasis part is limited to this short section Blood patterns As described in the previous paragraph (3.7), the herbs discussed in this paper have a strong relationship with blood. For that reason it is useful knowing which blood patterns are described in the literature. These are the ones given by Maciocia (Foundations of CM, p. 447): Deficiency of blood Stasis of blood Heat in the blood Loss of blood Now we will examine the relevancy for the combined use of Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén in these patterns. As stated there is a strong relationship towards blood. Because both herbs are sweet they have a tonifying, nourishing nature and thus applicable for blood and yin deficiency. To add to that lóng yăn ròu is also warm, making it more beneficial towards generating blood with its warmth. For stasis of blood these herbs seems to be less applicable, at least by themselves. Their actions and properties don t provide any blood moving qualities. Rather they are more nourishing and binding making them unsuitable for blood stasis patterns. The warm quality possessed by Lóng yăn ròu makes it a possible aid in blood moving formulas, since warmth will aid movement. Possibly if the stasis is related to a deficiency of blood these herbs can be added to a blood moving formula but, again, not by themselves. For heat in blood caution is advised. Lóng yăn ròu has these contraindications: 12

13 Fire from constraint, Phlegm with qi stagnation, Obstruction due to dampness Suān zăo rén has the following cautions: In cases of severe diarrhea, Heat from excess Regarding heat this means that if there is heat from excess, caution is advised, meaning that possibly other herbs should be added which address the heat and its cause. If there is stagnation and heat related to that, these herbs seem less appropriate. This is likely due to their nourish and tonifying nature, which are not beneficial for stagnation. When heat is caused by deficiency, or not to excessive (i.e. fire) these herbs can be used safely. Loss of blood, has some overlapping causes to what is described earlier it can be caused by (Maciocia, foundations of CM, p. 446): Heat in the blood Stasis of blood Qi deficiency Yin deficiency Most of these are already described, the new one here is Qi deficiency. Because it is a deficiency these herbs can be applied for this situation. Also Lóng yăn ròu is indicated for dizziness due to Heart and Spleen Qi deficiency. Indicating that it is beneficial for Qi deficiency as well. Side note has to be made that if the Qi deficiency is prominent that Qi tonifying herbs like Huang Qi might also be used. Furthermore if the Qi deficiency relates to the Spleen one should be cautious for Damp and/or Phlegm pathogenic influences which renders this herb combination less or not suitable Heart patterns All emotions eventually injure the Heart Qi, so deficient Heart Qi and Heart blood are recurrent patterns overall. Yifan Yang (Chinese herbal medicine p. 192) denotes anxiety, difficulty falling asleep, and palpitation symptoms to be related to the Heart. Bensky (p.1075) lists these different patterns related to the Heart: Heart Qi deficiency (L), yang deficiency Heart blood deficiency (L), yin deficiency (S) Phlegm veiling the Heart Heart fire flaring Heart spirit disturbance (S) Relevance to Suān zăo rén is denoted by (S) and relevance to Lóng yăn ròu is denoted by (L). Of the above patterns, yang deficiency, phlegm veiling the Heart and Heart fire flaring, don t seem to match the functionalities of to Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén. Though yin deficiency fire is an indication of Suān zăo rén, Heart fire flaring is an excess condition, in need of other measures. Heart Qi deficiency is a pattern where both Suān zăo rén and Lóng yăn ròu part are used (Yifan Yang, Formulas p. 144). Heart Qi- is often companied by Spleen Qi- and/or blood-deficiency. These pathomechanisms are described: Heart Qi is too weak to circulate blood leading to palpitations and or stagnation 13

14 Heart Qi is too weak to support Lung Qi leading to shortness of breath on exertion and easily sweating 11 Heart Qi too weak to support Heart Shen leading to anxiety 12, restlessness, restless sleep, waking up at night The effect of the herbs is more towards the deficiency than the stagnation described above. The mental aspects are discussed in the next paragraph Liver Patterns The Liver has been shown to be an important factor in both stasis and blood patterns. Obviously this is related to stagnation in both respective patterns. Liver or rather stagnation, is not shown in Heart patterns. At least not directly 13. The liver symptoms are mostly under the scrutiny of Suān zăo rén, as it is this herb that enters the Liver and Gallbladder meridian. The main symptoms related to it are irritability, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep (Yifan Yang, Formulas p. 144). These are all described in the actions and indications of this herb. Indirectly Lóng yăn ròu contributes to the Liver patterns by nourishing blood, so in this way both herbs complement each other Patterns of a disturbed Shen According to Maciocia (Practice of Chinese Medicine, p. 301) these are the patterns related to a disturbed Shen: Qi Stagnation (Heart, Liver) Blood Stasis (Heart, Liver) Heat or Fire (possible due to long term Qi stagnation) Damp or Phlegm (associated with Spleen function) clouded mind Heat toxicity (from long term EPF, traumatic experience, bad life style: diet and time) Kidney deficiency (yin vacuity fire) Spleen deficiency (yin vacuity fire) Each of these factors can contribute to the formation of the next: Qi stagnation can lead to Blood stasis, both of them can cause Heat or Fire, and the combination of stagnation and Heat can lead to Dampness of Phlegm. Al of them hinder the function of the Qi mechanism, which can cause emotional imbalances or vice versa. Mental functioning and emotions Emotions are not a pattern a, but because of the effect of Lóng yăn ròu and Suān zăo rén on calming the mind extra attention on this subject is appropriate in this section of patterns. In the description from Bensky the following emotions and mental factors are given for each herb: 11 Note that sweating can also be from a Yin deficiency, more at night. 12 A forward reference can be made here to the chapter of the five Shen, where anxiety is one of the view references to the Zhi. 13 The effects of stagnation are present and described in that chapter, however in CM stagnation is not commonly referred to in the context of Heart Qi or Heart blood. I assume that is the reason why I have not seen those types of patterns. 14

15 Lóng yăn ròu: Pensiveness (and overwork) Emotions in general Aversion to eating Palpitations with anxiety Forgetfulness Suān zăo rén Irritability Anxiety, fear Restlessness The above emotions have the vantage point from the action of the herbs. When we further look into that the most relevant pattern to which apply, blood deficiency, we can add the following mental symptoms (Yifan Yang, p.169): palpitations, restlessness, poor memory, inability to concentrate. These are not necessarily emotions but they are symptoms that are related to mental functioning. Aversion to eating is also put in the list, obviously not an emotion, but very likely to be a possible consequence of an emotion or emotional state rather. It can be imagined that in a very emotional state, one does not feel like eating. In the commentary in Bensky (p. 765) of Lóng yăn ròu it is indirectly said that it can be used long term with beneficial effects. It strengthens the Po and Hun, sharpens intelligence, prevents aging and facilitates enlightenment of the Shen. Long term use is also mentioned in the formula book of Yifan Yang (p. 145), there it is stated that long term use of Lóng yăn ròu is safe because it is not cloying or dry. This is noteworthy because sweetness has a holding function that can have a cloying effect. The combination of the above emotional applications and the beneficial effects of long term use on the mind, make it seem that lóng yăn ròu and suān zăo rén are very suitable in our modern lifestyle! And possibly they can even be used in a preventative or Yang Sheng, manner. The five Shen One of the questions which is addressed in this research paper is which of the five Shen are involved in the function of two herbs discussed. As stated in the previous paragraph, lóng yăn ròu is said to benefit the Hun and Po. It is also said to sharpen the intelligence, so extrapolating from that it is likely to work on the Yi as well. Although there are symptoms addressed like restlessness fear and anxiety 14, there does not appear to be a direct reference to the Zhi. When putting this symptom into context of their actions, the fear in this setting has maybe more to do with a lack of (Heart and or Liver) Qi or blood. Also, both herbs are not entering the Kidney or Bladder meridians, hinting also to an absence of a direct relationship to the Zhi. In an indirect manner however all of the five Shen are involved. Stated in the previous paragraph is that Lóng yăn ròu enlightens the Shen. By the largeness of this statement one can assume that this is the Shen that includes all of the five Shen. The same argument can also be made from the action both herbs have in common: calms the spirit. So in that is calms the larger spirit or Shen, the herbs 14 Yifan Yang Chinese herbal medicines, p. 192: these symptoms are related to the Kidney. 15

16 will address all the five Shen to some extent. The next section describes the different individual aspects of the five Shen in more detail. 15 Hun is the entering and exiting of the Shen, and is said to be a container of ideas, plans, projects, ideals (Foundations of CM, p. 84). The description entering and exiting is abstract and large. It requires more study to describe it more thoroughly. I summarize the Hun as the source of ideas and movement of the Shen itself. In the same work Maciocia (Foundations of CM, p. 84) describes a balance between the Shen and Hun where the Shen controls the input from the Hun. There can be either to restrict control (depression) or to little control (mania), also called a floating of the Hun 16. Assuming that restriction is more of an excess pattern, and the floating can be caused more of a deficiency pattern. It could be argued that the herbs in this paper are better suited for an excess of ideas scenario (Liver blood deficiency). This also fits the Yi (thinking and overthinking) patterns where the herbs are useful for. Yi is responsible for thinking and memory. The pathology herein is overthinking. Over taxation by thinking injures the Spleen, which needs Qi and blood for its proper functioning (Foundations of CM, p. 100, p. 149). The action of lóng yăn ròu to augment the Spleen, blood and Qi, supports its connection to supporting the thinking capacity or Yi. Po is responsible for physical sensations and expressions. It is Yin in relation to the Hun, which is Yang. Where the Hun has a relation more to the Shen, going in and out, the Po has the same function but than for Jing. Because of this more physical function compared to the Hun, I assume that the Hun is more relevant with regard to the herbs discussed. Zhi corresponds to our mental drive and to the determination to pursuit our goals (Foundations of CM, p. 123). In the Foundations of CM (p. 159) Zhi is also referred to as memory, with the function of controlling recent memories. So again indirectly there is a reference to the Zhi, but I assume the Yi is more important in a direct sense in relation to memory. To conclude: The Shen in a large sense, Hun (by deficiency of blood) and Yi are most relevant. Deficiency of Qi and blood is the most important underlying factor. By tonifying and nourishing the herbs: calm the Shen, nourish the Spleen thus balancing the Yi, nourish Liver blood thus anchoring the Hun and calming the thoughts 15 Maciocia describes the Shen or spirit is the total complex of the Hun, Po, Yi, Zhi and the Shen itself (Foundations of CM, p. 83). 16 An important symptom is excessive dreaming 16

17 4. Conclusion First thing that needs to be confirmed is the strong relation between blood, and the mind. The principal effect of calming the mind has much to do with tonifying and nourishing the blood and yin. It is important to note that the combination of longan fruit and sour dates seed is best suitable for blood (Heart, Liver, Spleen) deficiency, blood and or (Heart) Qi deficiency. It is less suitable where there (also) is Qi- or blood stasis, phlegm or damp. For situation with phlegm and damp this needs careful consideration as blood and Spleen deficiency are also indications, which may have phlegm and or damp present. There appears to by a synergy by applying both herbs together; lóng yăn ròu covers both the nourishment of Qi and blood, as well as entering the Heart and Spleen. Suān zăo rén adds to entering the Liver and Gallbladder meridians to that and a sourness which stabilizes. Together these herbs enter the Heart, Liver and Spleen meridians which are key in blood formation and thus indirectly strongly aid in calming the mind. A synergy is also observed in that Qi and blood are both nourished and tonified together, strengthening each other. With relation to the emotions, the mind is calmed by suān zăo rén and lóng yăn ròu. Manifestations include pensiveness, anxiety, diminished mental functioning (reasoning, memory etc.), irritability and restlessness. Since the herbs are nourishing in nature, the context of the mental impairments is mainly one of deficiency, complaints can be chronic and relatively mild17. However the fact that suān zăo rén is in the calming the mind category implies an acute application as well. Besides the emotions one of the goals of this paper is to assess the involvement of the five Shen. In general it can be said that all of its components benefit from the herbs. However Hun and Yi seem to be most important. Yi is evident in that overwork and thinking is an indication for lóng yăn ròu. The Hun s relationship to the Shen is to provide it with ideas. With the context of a Qi and blood deficient application, this provides the interesting insight that mania 18 could be considered as an appropriate symptom or condition As described by Yifan Yang, Chinese herbal medicine, p The reasoning is explained in the chapter of the five Shen. When Liver blood is empty, the Hun is not restrained by the mind, and keeps providing ideas without checks. I.e. it is floating. 19 Mania in this context can be compared with depression, the other end of the spectrum where ideas arguably are more suppressed. 17

18 5. Literature Bensky, D. (2004). Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica (3 rd edition). Seattle: Eastland press Maciocia, G. (1994).The Practice of Chinese Medicine (2 nd edition). New York: Churchill Livingstone Maciocia, G. (2005). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine (2 nd edition). New York: Churchill Livingstone Unschuld, P. (2011). Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (). Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California press. Yifan Yang. (2009). Chinese Herbal Medicines. Comparisons and Characteristics (2 nd edition). Churchill- Livingston Yifan Yang. (2010). Chinese Herbal Formulas. Churchill-Livingston 18

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