Yuan Zhi, also known as Chinese Senega Root, is one of the fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. It is the root of the Polygala, which is a flowering plant that grows in temperate and tropic zones. Yuan Zhi is known to calm the heart and soothes the mind. It also resolves phlegm and clears the orifices (sense organs). It can be used to combat restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. Yuan Zhi also works well to relieve pent-up emotions and solidify the communication between the Kidneys and Heart. When the Heart and Kidneys are weak, Yuan Zhi is used to treat insomnia and severe weakness, as well as sensory disorders. The ability of Yuan Zhi to open orifices and stop coughing also makes it good for improving symptoms of seizures and spasms.
In the presence of painful, swollen breasts or boils and abscesses, Yuan Zhi should be applied topically as a powder or taken with wine. There are many other ways to take Yuan Zhi as well. When it is powdered with liquor or wine, it unobstructs the channels and collaterals that cause the skin conditions listed above. When Yuan Zhi is honey fried (Mi Zhi Yuan Zhi) it is noted to treat excessive dreaming and insomnia. Mi Zhi Yuan Zhi is also stronger at stopping coughs by transforming Phlegm. Rice wine can also be mixed with Chinese Senega Root to apply it topically to early-stage sores.
Some of the most common herbal combinations with Yuan Zhi are Fu Shen, Ren Shen, and Bai Jie Zi. Fu Shen assists with relieving irritability and anxiety, Ren Shen reduces forgetfulness, and Bai Jie Zi eliminates Angina pectoris. The use of the Yuan Zhi herb has also been traditionally been said to benefit wisdom.
High Quality Yuan Zhi: What does it look like?
Yuan Zhi (Polygala Root) has a woody, sweet and slightly bitter taste, and is used to nourish the heart and calm the mind. The physical properties of Polygala Root include a yellowish-brown color, a thin and curved shape, and a rough surface. This cylindrical, knotty root is typically brown on the outside and lighter in color on the inside. The root can range in size from several centimeters to over a foot in length. It is sometimes referred to as "Senega Root" due to its resemblance to the root of the Senega snakeroot plant. The root has a pungent, bitter flavor and a fragrant aroma.
How is Yuan Zhi prepared and processed?
Polygala root, also known as Yuan Zhi, is native to China, Japan, and Korea. It is a perennial plant that belongs to the Polygalaceae family and can grow up to 1 meter in height. The plant has a tall stem with leaves that are oval-shaped and have a green or reddish-green color. The flowers of the plant are small, white or purple in color, and grow in clusters at the ends of the stems. The root of the plant is used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is believed to have several health benefits, including the treatment of anxiety, depression, and memory loss.
Polygala root (Yuan Zhi) is a herb that grows best in well-drained, moist soil and partial shade. It prefers a cool, temperate climate and can tolerate frost. Optimal growing conditions for Polygala root include soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, and temperatures between 10°C to 25°C. Adequate water and nutrient supply, proper pruning and harvesting practices, and pest management are also important for optimal growth of Polygala root.
For use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the Polygala Root is usually harvested in the summer or autumn when the plant is in full growth. After harvesting, the roots are washed, peeled, sliced, and dried in the sun or with low heat. The drying process is carefully controlled to ensure that the root remains pliable and doesn't become brittle. Once dried, the Yuan Zhi is stored in a cool, dry place until it is needed for use in decoctions, infusions, or herbal formulas.
Popular Recipe for Yuan Zhi
Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is a classic traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. A typical recipe for Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan includes the following ingredients:
These ingredients are decocted together in water, strained, and consumed as a tea. The proportions of each ingredient can vary depending on the individual's specific needs and the practitioner's discretion. It is important to note that this formula should only be taken under the guidance of a licensed TCM practitioner.
Safety Precautions for the use of Yuan Zhi
Yuan Zhi, also known as Polygala, is a traditional Chinese herb commonly used to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and forgetfulness. Here are some precautions to take when using Yuan Zhi:
Consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using Yuan Zhi, especially if you have any health conditions or are taking any medications.
Avoid using Yuan Zhi in large amounts, as excessive consumption may cause adverse reactions such as nausea, dizziness, or skin irritation.
Keep Yuan Zhi out of reach of children and pets.
Store Yuan Zhi in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
If you experience any adverse reactions after using Yuan Zhi, discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional.
Be aware that Yuan Zhi may interact with certain medications, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
Use caution when consuming Yuan Zhi if you are sensitive to herbs or have any allergies.
Be aware that the preparation and storage of Yuan Zhi can affect its quality and safety. Always follow proper storage and preparation instructions.
Before consuming Yuan Zhi, be aware that some herbs may contain harmful chemicals or contaminants. Always choose a reputable source and follow proper preparation instructions.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with a healthcare professional before using Yuan Zhi.
Those with Hot Phlegm or pregnancy should use caution when using Yuan Zhi and those with Yin Deficiency and ulcers should avoid using this herb because it is contradictory to those conditions.
Additionally, Polygala Root counteracts the effects of Li Lu and Zhen Zhu. Patients taking diuretics should also use caution when taking Yuan Zhi because it increases water elimination.
It’s important to note that this is a general guideline and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist to determine the right dosage and usage for you.
Additional Information about Yuan Zhi
Common Names: Yuan Zhi (Polygala); Yuan Zhi Herb, Polygala root, Chinese Senega Root, Polygala Sibirica L., Radix Polygalae, 远志
Properties: Acrid, Bitter, Slightly Warm, Pungent
Channels Entered: Heart, Liver, Lung
Functions: Calms Spirit, Reduces Swelling, Expels Phlegm