Fang Ji – (Han Fang Ji) – Stephania root

Nature: bitter, acrid, cold

Enters: Bladder, Kidney, Spleen

Actions: Eliminates wind-dampness; drains dampness by promoting urination; relieves pain; reduces edema.

• Wind-damp-heat: Bi syndrome, fever, red, swollen, hot, painful joints.
• Damp accumulation in the lower Jiao: edema (facial, legs, or systemic, but especially good for the lower body), ascites, gurgling sounds in the intestines, abdominal distention, damp leg qi.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Analgesic: 1/4 the strength of Yan hu suo, 1/1000 the potency of morphine, less effect in very high doses.
• Treats dampness in two ways (eliminates from the surface, promotes urination).
• Lowers BP by vasodilation.
• Antiparasitic: against Entamoeba histolytica (stronger than berberine).
DY: Quickens the channels; opens the pores of the skin; opens the nice orifices; disperses swelling; drains evil Qi.
• With Huang qi to simultaneously drain and supplement, to support the correct Qi and drain evil Qi at the same time, to regulate the upbearing and downbearing of the Qi mechanism and strongly promote diuresis. For the following indications, the combination is found in Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang:
– 1. Edema due to wind-water with fever, fear of wind, edema predominantly in the upper body and face, joint pain, scanty urination, and a floating pulse. If wind attacks the exterior and blocks the Lung Qi, this causes a disturbance in the Lungs’ diffusing and downbearing function. Therefore, because the water passageways are not regulated, dampness is not moved downward. Thus, there is accumulation of dampness in the upper body and edema appears.
– 2. Rheumatic pain due to damp Bi with heavy limbs, joint numbness, and sometimes swollen joints.
– 3. Chronic nephritis and cardiac disease with edema due to Qi deficiency and accumulation of dampness.
Han fang ji is usually used for edema and accumulation of damp-heat in the lower half of the body. When combined with Huang qi, Han fang ji can then treat edema in the upper half of the body and of the wind type.

Dose: 3-9g

Guang Fang Ji (Mu Fang Ji) – Aristolochia fangchi is also referred to simply as Fang Ji. It contains aristolochic acid, which has been associated with kidney damage when misused (though no historical sources of Chinese medicine recorded any detrimental effects when properly used). Its use is prohibited by the FDA in the United States.

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