Drugs which are aromatic and tend to drive out or convert excess moisture in the body fall under this category. The spleen is the organ most sensitive to damp excess, which impedes its digestive and distributive functions. Therefore, these herbs are also called “spleen restoratives.”
They are employed against sluggish stagnation of blood and energy, impeded spleen function and other damp excess ailments. Common symptoms of such ailments are oppressive sensations in the chest, vomiting bile, loose bowels, lack of appetite, fatigue, a sweet taste in the mouth, profuse saliva, or white and slippery tongue fur. Injuries of “damp heat” and “damp summer heat,” such as excess phlegm in the respiratory tract, are also remedied with these herbs.
Most of the drugs in this category are “pungent” and “warm” in nature. They are all aromatics which tend to dehydrate the system and thus have adverse effects on yin-energy and fluid balance. Patients with yin-deficiency, fluid-deficiency or qi-deficiency should use them with caution.
Natural distribution: China, Japan, Vietnam, Laos
Parts used: Leaves and stems
Nature: Pungent and sweet; slightly warm
Effects: Drying, stomachic; carminative; diaphoretic
Indications: Damp excess in stomach and spleen: oppression in chest, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea; sluggishness and oppression due to “damp summer heat” excess; external injuries of “wind-cold”
Dosage: 5-7 g
Remarks: A highly effective preventive for heat stroke and summer colds.
Natural distribution: China, Japan
Parts used: Stems and leaves
Nature: Pungent; neutral
Effects: Drying; stomachic; anti-pyretic; diaphoretic
Indications: Ailments of damp excess in spleen and stomach: dyspepsia, oppression in chest, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, pressure and pain in abdomen; summer chills
Dosage: 3-10 g
Remarks: A highly effective preventive remedy for heat stroke and summer colds when mixed with Agastache rugosa.
Natural distribution: China, Japan, Korea
Parts used: Roots
Nature: Bitter; warm
Effects: Drying; stomachic; eliminates “wind-damp” symptoms
Indications: Ailments of damp excess in spleen and stomach: diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, oppression in chest and abdomen, leukorrhoea, gastronenteritis; “damp-heat” injuries: aching joints and muscles, swelling and pain in feet and legs, weakness and sluggishness
Dosage: 5-10 g
Remarks: Effective remedy for night blindness
Natural distribution: Central China
Parts used: Bark
Nature: Bitter and pungent: warm
Effects: Drying; digestive; anti-emetic
Indications: Ailments of damp excess in spleen and stomach: abdominal pressure and pain, oppression in chest, excess phlegm in respiratory tract, shortness of breath
Dosage: 6-10 g
Remarks: Especially effective in relieving pressure, fullness and oppression in abdominal region.
Natural distribution: Southern China, Indochina
Parts used: Seeds
Nature: Pungent; warm
Effects: Drying; stomachic; digestive; carminative; decongestant; sedative to restless fetus
Indications: Damp excess in spleen and stomach: oppression in chest and abdomen, diarrhea, dyspepsia; nausea and vomiting during pregnancy; restless fetus
Dosage: 2-4 g