Cang Zhu – Red Atractylodes rhizome (also known as Black Atractylodes)

Nature: acrid, bitter, warm

Enters: Spleen, Stomach

Actions: Strongly dries dampness and strengthens/activates the spleen; eliminates wind- dampness (and cold); eliminates dampness in the lower Jiao; induces sweating, releases exterior syndromes; improves vision.

• Accumulation of dampness in the middle Jiao: distention in the epigastrium and abdomen, poor appetite, diarrhea, epigastric distention and pressure, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, thick and greasy tongue coat.
• Wind-cold-dampness: Bi syndrome with swollen knees and feet, pain in the extremities.
• Wind-damp-cold EPI: headache, body aches, absence of sweating, and/or oozing yin sores.
• Damp skin disease: acute eczema, vitiligo.
• Night blindness or poor vision with a rough sensation in the eyes.
• Damp-heat pouring downward: leg qi, vaginal discharge, swollen, sore joints (use with heat-clearing herbs).
• Increases IgA, IgG, IgM in nose to enhance local immunity.
• Mix with Bai zhi, grind into powder, and hang over the chest to prevent EPIs. Also burn these two herbs as the weather gets warm – on the new moon about early May – to enhance immunity.
Li: 1/3 the strength of Bai zhu to tonify, 3 times the strength to resolve damp. Quite warm and very drying.
DY: One of the most drying substances in the whole Chinese pharmacopeia.
• Upbears the clear and downbears the turbid.
• Stops diarrhea.
• Can be used for damp-heat when combined with bitter, cold herbs.
Cang zhu is incompatible with black carp, peaches, plums, and Chinese cabbage.
• With Huang bai for mutual reinforcement, to clear heat, dry dampness, disperse swelling, and stop pain. For indications such as:
– 1. Wilting of the lower extremities with pain in the sinews and bones due to damp-heat pouring downward. (Er Miao San) Use salt mix-fried Huang bai.
– 2. Abnormal vaginal discharge, external vaginal itching, and cloudy, scanty urination due to damp-heat. (Use Cang zhu which has been stir-fried until scorched.)
– 3. Red, swollen, hot, painful joints due to wind, damp, heat impediment. (Cang Zhu San)
MLT: Possesses no significant diuretic properties despite its strong drying action (does increase secretion of urinary salts).
• Can dramatically lower blood sugar for some kinds of diabetes.
Hsu: Stomachic, diuretic, diaphoretic, tranquilizer, hypoglycemiant, tonic.

Dose: 4.5-9g

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