Dang Shen – Codonopsis root – “Group Root”

Nature: sweet, neutral

Enters: Spleen, Lung

Actions: Tonifies Lung Qi; tonifies spleen/middle Jiao Qi; mildly nourishes body fluids; mildly nourishes blood.

• Spleen Qi deficiency: fatigue, poor appetite, loose stool, lassitude, diarrhea, vomiting, weak limbs, chronic illness, prolapse of stomach, uterus, or rectum.
• Lung Qi deficiency: chronic, weak cough, shortness of breath, weak voice (also with copious sputum due to spleen Qi deficiency).
• Injury of body fluids and Qi in febrile disease: shortness of breath, thirst, wasting and thirsting disorder.
• Blood deficiency: dizziness, sallow face, palpitations.
• Pathogenic influences with significant concurrent Qi deficiency: combine Dang shen with herbs to release the exterior, drain damp, etc.
• Raises RBC count and hemoglobin.
Dang shen is similar to Ren shen, but not as strong. In most cases of Qi deficiency, it can be effectively substituted for Ren shen. In cases of deficiency of both spleen and Lung Qi, it is even preferred. However, Ren shen is imperative for collapsed Qi or devastated Yang. When replacing Ren shen with Dang shen, use about 3 times as much Dang shen as you would use of Ren shen.
• Compared to Yi tang, Dang shen is indicated for deficiency-induced cough with profuse sputum, while Yi tang is more for a non-productive deficiency-induced cough.
• Heiner Fruehauf believes this herb is what was historically used as Ren shen (not ginseng).
• Heiner Fruehauf believes this herb has some potential to exacerbate Gu parasite infections. If the Gu symptoms worsen after administering Dang shen, consider it as a possible cause.
Hsu: Hypotensive; dilates peripheral blood vessels; inhibits adrenal cortex activity.
SD: May help antidote lead poisoning. Has also been widely used for its immune enhancing effects. It is reported to have the same basic action as ginseng, and it is especially good for building up the red blood cells.
DY: Tends to supplement the middle burner and Yin.
• With Huang qi to powerfully supplement the Qi, to effectively supplement the Qi of the middle burner and the exterior defensive. For indications such as:
– 1. Chronic illness leading to Qi vacuity.
– 2. Rectal and uterine prolapse and gastric ptosis due to central Qi fall. (Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang)
– 3. Lack of appetite, loose stools, fatigue, lack of strength, and spontaneous perspiration due to Qi deficiency.
– 4. Low-grade fever due to Qi vacuity. (Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang)
– To supplement the middle burner, these two herbs should be honey mix-fried. In case of loose stools or diarrhea, one should prescribe rice stir-fried Dang shen. In case of spontaneous sweats, one should prescribe unprepared Huang qi.
Dang shen does not directly nourish the blood and fluids. It supplements the spleen which is the latter heaven or postnatal root, the origin of Qi, blood, fluids and humors, and acquired essence.

Dose: 9-30g

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