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Nourish Your Yin with Yi Guan Jian

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I've already addressed strengthening Kidney Yang with Two Immortals in an earlier blog post. Now that we've shifted from Kidney time of year to the Liver season, people may experience more Yin depletion, particularly if they haven't gotten the rest they've needed this winter.

If there's Kidney Yin Deficiency, then there's often Liver Yin Deficiency as well, because the Kidneys (Water) are the mother of the Liver (Wood). This can present as typical Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency symptoms with restlessness, irritability, dry mouth and throat at night, hot at night, possible constipation or dry stools, red eyes and the typical general Yin Deficiency signs.

At the same time, however, Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency may also cause an uprising of Liver Yang resulting in dizziness, headaches (especially on the top of the head), hypertension, difficulty falling asleep or 'in and out' sleep, tinnitus, red eyes, a tongue that's depressed in the rear and red on the sides, and a pulse that's wiry, possibly rapid and empty in the Kidney Yin position (left rear).

A perfect formula I've found to treat both Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency is Glehnia and Rehmannia Combination, or Yi Guan Jian. It is composed of:

10-15 g     sheng di huang, raw rehmannia         (Rehmannia glutinosa)

6-9 g        bai sha shen, glehnia/adenophora      (Glehnia adenophora)

6-9 g        mai men dong, ophiopogon              (Ophiopogon japonicus)

6-9 g        dang gui                                      (Angelica sinensis)

6-9 g        gou qi zi, lycii berry                        (Lycium barbarum)

3-6 g        chuan lian zi, chinaberry                 (Melia toosendan)

This formula also treats Liver Qi Stagnation accompanying the Liver/Kidney Yin Deficiency with signs of pain in the chest and hypochondrium, acid regurgitation, dry throat, bitter taste in the mouth, dry mouth, thready and wiry pulse, and red and dry tongue.

Raw rehmannia clears Heat from the nutritive level and cools Blood; glehnia nourishes the Yin of the Lungs and Stomach; ophiopogon nourishes the Yin of the Stomach, Heart and Lungs; and dang gui nourishes Blood of the Liver and Heart; and lycii nourishes the Blood of the Liver, Lung and Kidney. Melia is a fabulous herb here to regulate Qi because it's cooling and doesn't damage the Yin, as most Qi-regulating herbs do.

This formula follows the Five Elements process by replenishing Water (Kidneys) to nourish Wood (Liver) and benefits Metal (Lungs) to restrict Wood (Liver).

If there are also Liver Yang Rising symptoms, then include:

6-9 g         tian ma, gastrodia                    (Gastrodia elata)

3-6 g         shi jue ming, abalone shell          (Haliotidis concha)

3-6 g         gou ten, gambir                       (Uncaria ramulus cum uncis)

Contraindications: This formula is contraindicated in cases with hypochondriac pain caused by Liver Fire, Qi and Blood Stagnation or retention of Phlegm and Fluids.

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