Wu Jia Pi – Eleutherococcus gracilistylus root bark (formerly known as Acanthopanax) – “Bark of Five Additions”

Nature: acrid, bitter, warm

Enters: Liver, Kidney

Actions: Strengthens the tendons and bones; eliminates wind-dampness; transforms dampness and reduces swelling.

• Wind-damp: Bi syndrome with weakness in the lumbar region and knees (particularly when chronic deficiency of the liver and kidneys has led to weak or soft sinews and bones).
• Developmental delays in motor functions in children, especially retardation in walking.
• Urinary difficulty, edema, damp-cold leg qi.
• Good when the smooth flow of Qi and blood is obstructed.
• Especially effective for children and the elderly.
• The genera Acanthopanax and Eleutherococcus are one and the same (with the latter now being the preferred name), as authoritatively confirmed at the taxonomic symposium Biological Nomenclature in the 21st Century (University of MD, 1996). While Wu jia pi and Ci wu jia come from different species – E. gracilistylus and E. senticosus, respectively – E. gracilistylus seems to possess some (if not all) of the tonic properties attributed to E. senticosus (“Siberian Ginseng”). However, since it is the bark of the root that is used from the former (Wu jia pi) as opposed to the whole root, which is used in the case of Ci wu jia, Wu jia pi’s action is focused more on the surface (on dispersion of wind-dampness), than the interior (on tonification).
• A common but inferior substitute for this herb is Xiang jia pi – Periploca – which, although an effective herb at eliminating Wind-Dampness, is toxic and has little or no tonic properties. Unlike Wu jia pi, it is fragrant (slightly cinnamon-ish).
MLT: Often sold as a medicinal wine for neurasthenia, insomnia, excessive dreaming, forgetfulness, dizziness, poor appetite, palpitations, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris.
• Prolonged consumption can treat leukopenia from chemotherapy/ physiotherapy.
HF: A supplement with an anti-Gu nature, possessing acrid, toxin-resolving qualities, useful in Gu Zheng (Gu parasites) formulas.
BF: Good when wind-damp is accompanied by concomitant Qi and blood deficiency.
Hsu: Antiarthritic, antiphlogistic, analgesic, antipyretic, adaptogenic (increases the body’s non-specific resistance to disease and stress), hypotensive.

Dose: 4.5-15g

2 comments on “Wu Jia Pi – Eleutherococcus gracilistylus root bark (formerly known as Acanthopanax) – “Bark of Five Additions”

  1. Lola says:

    Do you know of a formula that contains many or all of the following herbs.
    ligusticum root
    red peony
    lindera root
    carthamus flower
    acanthopanix cortex
    Salvia root
    Thank you

    • Peter Borten says:

      I don’t know. It’s clearly a pain formula. The things that come to mind are Resinall K by Health Concerns, or San Qi 17 by Seven Forests, or a classical formula like Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, etc.

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