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Medicated Leaven - Shen Qu


Medicated Leaven - Shen Qu
photo: E. Reninger

In the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, Shen Qu belongs to the category of herbs that disperse food accumulation.

Taste: sweet, acrid
Temperature: warm
Channels Entered: Spleen, Stomach

(1) Reduces food stagnation, harmonizes the Stomach, strengthens the Spleen.


The following general description of the Chinese herbal medicine category of herbs that relieve food stagnation, is excerpted from Dan Bensky's Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica:

"The actions of this group of herbs reduce or dissolve and guide out. These terms refer to their ability to reduce dissolve, or digest food stagnation, and to guide out accumulation through the digestive tract. An accumulation is a disorder characterized by an abdominal mass, distention, and/or pain. It is often caused by an emotional disturbance which results in stagnant qi or blood, but can also arise from improper dietary habits, phlegm, or hot and cold disorders. Because accumulation disorders often manifest as stagnant qi in the middle burner, the herbs in this group are usually combined with others that regulate the middle qi.

Food stagnation is generally subdivided into hot and cold types. The principal manifestations of the hot type are severe bad breath, a feeling of distention in the abdomen, a preference for cold food and beverages and an aversion to hot ones, a yellow, greasy tongue coating, and a forceful, slippery pulse. This condition usually arises with either externally-contracted diseases or heat from constraint. In such cases, herbs that clear heat are also prescribed.

The cold type of food stagnation is due to Spleen or Stomach deficiency, or ingesting too much cold food. Major symptoms include a brackish feeling in the throat, nausea, spitting up clear fluids, a feeling of distention in the abdomen, preference for hot food and beverages and an aversion to cold ones, a white, greasy tongue coating, and a weak, thin pulse. For this pattern, herbs that warm the interior are added to the prescription. If the food stagnation is severe, purgatives may also be required."

Also Known As:

Common Name: Medicated Leaven
Pharmaceutical: Massa Fermentata
Botanical: Massa Fermentata

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