A robust function of the digestive system ensures the body to obtain sufficient nutrients and, from the view of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), depends on the action of the Spleen. The Spleen is in charge of absorbing and transporting the nutrients from digestion around the body and transforming them into the Yin, Yang, and Qi energy etc, the fundamental elements in regulating our overall body functions. (Please note that the Spleen in TCM does not correspond to today’s anatomical spleen but is rather a digestion functional concept.)
When the Spleen is weak, its transformative and transportive functions are compromised, causing “Spleen deficiency” in TCM terms. The Spleen deficiency is typically marked by signs such as reduced appetite, bloating, abdominal distention, loose stool, a greasy tongue coating which may be slightly yellow, and a frail and deficient pulse.
Jian Pi Pian is a classic Chinese herbal formula that is designed for the complex presentation of Spleen deficiency alongside food stagnation. Jian Pi Pian tonifies the Spleen, regulates Stomach Qi, reduces both dampness and food retention, and mildly clears heat.† Although this formula is mainly tonifying, it also contains dispersing herbs and therefore should be used with signs of both deficiency and stagnation. Jian Pi Pian is an appreciated formula for promoting digestion in cases with the appropriate presentation of Spleen deficiency.
Jian Pi Pian is a powerful digestive aid which contains 14 Chinese herbs. The chief herbs of this formula are Bai Zhu (Atractylodis root), Fu Ling (Poria) and Dang Shen (Codonopsis). Combined with Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel) and Gan Cao (Licorice root), these herbs compose the classical formula Liu Jun Zi Tang, one of the most famous Traditional Chinese formulas used for Spleen deficiency. These herbs powerfully fortify the Spleen, transform dampness, stop loose stool and regulate the middle-burner (Spleen/Stomach).
This action is aided by the assistant herbs Shan Yao (Chinese yam) and Rou Dou Kou (Nutmeg) which further strengthen the middle and bind the intestines. Sha Ren (Cardamom seed) also works by regulating Qi, warming the middle, dissolving dampness and stopping loose stool.
Mu Xiang (Aucklandia) and Zhi Shi (Immature Bitter Orange) are Qi-regulating herbs which unblock stagnation, clear dampness and have a particular ability to improve function of the middle-jiao. Huang Lian (Coptis) is included along with Zhi Shi to clear damp-heat from the middle burner.
Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata), Mai Ya (Barley Sprout) and Shan Zha (Hawthorn Berry) promote digestion, eliminate stasis and resolve food stagnation.
Together, these herbs provide a balanced solution to cases involving co-existing Spleen deficiency with food stagnation.