Gui Zhi – Cinnamon twig

Nature: acrid, sweet, warm

Enters: Heart, Lung, Bladder, Liver

Actions: Releases the exterior by promoting sweats; warms the channels; activates Yang; disperses cold; promotes blood circulation; frees the bladder channel to promote urination; adjusts the Ying and Wei Qi; warms and facilitates the flow of Yang Qi in the chest.

Indications:
• Wind-cold: fever, aversion to cold, headache, sweating or no sweating.
• Wind-cold-damp: Bi syndrome, sore joints, back, limbs, and especially shoulders.
• Heart and spleen Yang deficiency: retention of phlegm and harmful fluid.
• Heart Yang deficiency or obstructed flow of Yang Qi in the chest (shi or deficiency): chest pain, palpitations, irregular pulse, or angina pectoris.
• Cold obstructing the channels/blood: dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, masses in the uterus/abdomen.
• Cold-phlegm accumulation or weak movement of Yang Qi: edema.
• To promote sweating, use with Ma huang (Ma huang opens the pores, Gui zhi pushes the sweat out), especially for Yangming stage.
Wei and Ying imbalance: deficiency patterns where sweating occurs without improvement.
• Diuretic; mild antipyretic (primarily by vasodilation); some antibiotic effects.
• Compared to Ma huang in the treatment of wind-cold: while Ma huang works more directly by opening and disseminating the Lung Qi, Gui zhi works more by aiding the Yang Qi – this gives it the ability to treat either wind-cold excess or deficiency.
• For EPIs, smaller doses are usually used (3-9g) while larger doses (9-15g) are used for dispelling painful obstruction.
Li: Harmonizes the heart and kidneys; warms cold extremities; useful for palpitations.
PFGC: Enters the upper extremities; enters the muscle layer – primary herb to relieve the muscles; opens the energy pathways, raises the ancestral Qi up, descends counterflow of Qi (asthma, coughing), disperses pernicious Qi; keeps the upflaring tendency of liver wood in check; helps collapsed spleen Qi rise and rebellious stomach Qi descend.
• Its pungency disperses while its sweetness tonifies: it is therefore somewhere between dispersing and tonifying.
• By harmonizing the Ying and Wei, it can astringe sweats due to wind injuring the Wei, which in turn cannot attend to the Ying, which becomes weak and cannot secure fluids. it can induce sweating by regulating the Ying, which lets the Wei be harmonious by itself, which then forces sweat out to release the wind.
Hsu: Analgesic (raises pain threshold in brain); alleviates headache due to spasm of blood vessels in the head and relieves abdominal pain due to spasms of smooth muscle of the viscera; stimulates gastric secretions and saliva; markedly inhibits influenza virus.
DY: Promotes perspiration and resolves the exterior without damaging Yin; tropism: the blood division; quickens the network vessels; supplements spleen Yang; relieves the muscles; frees the flow of Yang and promotes urination by stimulating the function of transformation of the bladder.
• Treats edema of the damp type due to deficiency of the transformative function of the bladder.
• With Bai shao to harmonize Yin and Yang, the Qi and the blood, and the constructive and the defensive. This combination drains without damaging Yin, while constraining without retaining evils. They harmonize the vessels, relieve tension and stop pain, as well as support stomach Yin and spleen Yang, while regulating the spleen and stomach. For indications such as:
– 1. Common cold with fever, shivers, slight perspiration, no thirst, headache, thin white tongue fur, and a floating, moderate pulse or, in other words, a wind-cold exterior pattern with disharmony between the constructive and the defensive. (Take Gui Zhi Tang. 10 minutes later, eat very hot rice porridge, and stay well covered in bed to promote perspiration.)
– 2. Spontaneous perspiration and/or night sweats accompanied by fear of wind and cold, a cold feeling in the low back, and frequent catching of colds due to disharmony between the constructive and the defensive. (Use stir-fried Gui zhi.)
– 3. Chest and cardiac area pain due to heart Yang deficiency and disharmony between the Qi and blood. (Use 15-30g Gui zhi. In case of very cold limbs, Fu zi can be added.)
– 4. Abdominal pain with spasms and cramps due to deficiency cold and disharmony between the Qi and blood. (Dose Bai shao:Gui zhi::2:1. Use honey mix-fried Gui zhi and wine mix-fried Bai shao.)
– 5. Pain and/or numbness of the limbs due to disharmony between the Qi and blood. (Use stir-fried Gui zhi and wine mix-fried Bai shao.)
– 6. Vomiting and weakness during pregnancy accompanied by fear of cold, lack of appetite, nausea and a weak pulse in the cubit position due to disharmony of the spleen and stomach and the constructive and defensive. (Use stir-fried Gui zhi and wine mix-fried Bai shao.)
– 7. Weakness in the elderly, during convalescence, postpartum, and post-operatively with fatigue and lack of strength, fear of wind, and slight perspiration due to disharmony between the constructive and the defensive. (Use stir-fried Gui zhi.)
• With Shi gao to clear heat, free the flow of the network vessels, stop pain, and treat heat Bi or impediment. For such indications as rheumatic pain of the heat type with redness, heat, swelling, and severe pain in the joints. (Bai Hu Gui Zhi Tang)
• With Ma huang to mutually reinforce each other’s floating and dispelling characteristics, to effectively open the pores, strongly promote perspiration, resolve the muscle layer, and scatter wind-cold of the excess type. For indications such as:
– 1. Colds, influenza with fever, fear of cold, severe shivering, absence of perspiration, headache, and general body aches caused by wind-cold of the excess type.
– 2. Rheumatic pains due to wind, cold, and dampness. (Ma huang Tang)
– 3. Cough and asthma due to wind-cold obstructing the Lung Qi. (Ma Huang Tang) It is advisable to use honey mix-fried Ma huang for cough and asthma.
Gui zhi communicates with the constructive division [Ying] where it moves fluids. It brings these fluids to the exterior where Ma huang pushes them outward forcefully.
• The fine twigs (Gui zhi jian or Gui zhi shao) are known for their powerful Qi and are very fragrant. They are more powerful (than Gui zhi) for scattering wind-cold, warming and opening the channels and vessels, and quickening the blood.
Gui zhi mu, small twigs of cinnamon from which the external bark has been removed, is less powerful than Gui zhi for resolving the exterior and inducing perspiration, but is more powerful for warming the channels and quickening the network vessels. Gui zhi mu is preferred for the treatment of joint pain and stiffness of the sinews.

Dose: 3-15g

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