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Chinese Materia Medica(2)

1. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Warm)

1) ephedra

2) cinnamon twig

3) schizonepeta

4) ledebouriella root

5) perilla leaf

6) fresh ginger

7) notopterygium root

8) dahurian angelica root

9) chinese lovage root

10) spring onion

11) magnolia flower

2. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Cool)

(to be continued)


Qi, the Conductor of the Human Body Orchestra

Herbal Medicine Cures Chronic Fatigue
Chapter 3

Qi, although an imaginary substance, is the energy source of the living body. It resembles the energy of an orchestra conductor. In our bodies, air, water and food essence are transformed into qi through the work of the digestive and absorptive system (DAS).

Qi flows in every corner of the body, issuing various orders to all the organs of the human body, and they work according to these orders. You could say that qi issues orders to the body organs based on individual genetic information input into a body’s DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

While blood flows in the veins, qi flows through “the channels.” The channels will be described in another section. For now, please think of it as a passage that runs in the whole body through which qi flows. Thanks to qi each body organ is able to play its role.

Additionally, qi enables the blood to carry nutrition to all the parts of the body and collect their waste. Of course this function is carried out mainly by blood, the veins and the heart. However, it is certain that qi plays the most important role as a conductor. Qi is the energy which enables the human body to work as a whole.


  • Qi is an imaginary substance.
  • Qi delivers orders to every corner of the body.
  • Qi allows all body parts to carry out their roles by flowing through the whole body.
  • Qi allows the human body to function as a whole.


The formula prescribed to Naomi is called Hochu-Ekki-Tou which is a decoction for reinforcing the stomach and bowels and replenishing qi. The effects of the individual herbs contained in this formula are as follows:

1. Astragalus membranaceus (Radix)

This replenishes qi as well as skin qi together with panax ginseng. Skin qi is also related to the peripheral nerves and the blood vessels. Astragalus membranaceus (Radix) and Panax ginseng (Radix) are the two major herbs which replenish qi. Astragalus membranaceus (Radix) has effects such as supplementing body energy, reinforcing the diuretic system, vasodilating (dilating the blood vessels), lowering high blood pressure, and fighting allergies.

2. Panax ginseng (Radix)

This helps the DAS generate qi. It helps cure fatigue, the weakening of the body, and the decline of physical strength. It mainly replenishes qi for the five control systems of the living body.

3. Atractylodes macrocephala (Rhizoma)

This helps the DAS function. It cures the weakening of the body and helps alleviate fatigue.

4. Citrus reticulata (Pericarpium)

This helps qi flow through the whole body. It helps digestion.

5. Cimicifuga foetida (Rhizoma)

This helps falling qi rise. It readjusts body organs which have shifted below their normal positions.

6. Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Radix)

This replenishes qi. It eases the toxicity of other Chinese herbs taken at the same time.

7. Bupleurum chinense (Radix)

This helps falling qi rise. It readjusts body organs which have shifted below their normal positions.

8. Angelica sinensis (Radix)

This prevents malabsorption of nutrition due to qi-deficiency. It helps activate blood flow.

9. Zingiber Offiinale (Rhizoma)

This has detoxication effects and keeps stomach healthy.

10. Zizyphus jujuba (Fructus)

This stablilizes the mind. It helps increase appetite.

The Effect of Hochu-Ekki-Tou.

Below, the Chinese herbal medicines listed above are put in order of the function of replenishing qi.


Atractylodes macrocephala (Rhizoma) (3)


---> Panax ginseng (Radix) (2) and Astragalus membranaceus (Radix) (1)


---> Citrus reticulata (Pericarpium) (4), Zingiber Offiinale (Rhizoma) (9) and Zizyphus jujuba (Fructus) (10)


---> Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Radix) (6)


---> Angelica sinensis (Radix) (8)


---> Cimicifuga foetida (Rhizoma) (5) and Bupleurum chinense (Radix) (7)



Atractylodes macrocephala (Rhizoma) (3) reinforces the DAS where qi is generated.



Panax ginseng (Radix) (2) helps the DAS generate qi, while Astragalus membranaceus (Radix) (1) replenishes body surface qi. These two herbs complement each other.



Citrus reticulata (Pericarpium) (4) helps replenish qi and helps qi flow through the whole body. Together with both Zingiber Offiinale (Rhizoma) (9) and Zizyphus jujuba (Fructus) (10), Citrus reticulata (Pericarpium) (4) helps increase appetite and absorb nutrients.



Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Radix) (6) works to replenish qi. It eases the toxicity of other Chinese herbs, promoting their harmony.




Angelica sinensis (Radix) (8) improves malnutrition due to qi-deficiency, by activating blood flow.




Both Cimicifuga foetida (Rhizoma) (5) and Bupleurum chinense (Radix) (7) help the body return to its best condition through the replenishment of qi. It helps the body attain the appropriate degree of tension and balance.



Hochu-Ekki-Tou healed Naomi’s chronic fatigue according to the mechanism mentioned above. The doctor cured Naomi’s chronic fatigue by helping replenish her qi, prescribing a formula of Chinese herbs suited for her particular symptoms.

- Preview of the next chapter -

There are various cases of chronic fatigue. The next chapter will introduce a couple of more cases and the formulas to make clear the true power of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Zhang, Enqin. (eds.) "Prescriptions of TCM." A Practical English-Chinese Library of TCM. Publishing House of Shanghai University of TCM.