English Name: massa fermentata, medicated leaven
Pharmaceutical Name: Massa Fermentata
Medica Category: Digestive Herbs
Properties: Shen Qu enters the Spleen and Stomach channels; it is sweet and acrid in nature and warm in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Shen Qu is a mixture of wheat flower, bran, and several different herbs (e.g. fresh xanthium leaves, polygonum, apricot kernels to name a few) which is covered and fermented for a week. It is then sun-dried and cut into chunks for use as medicine.
Shen Qu protects the Stomach and promotes digestion. It is especially effective at aiding in the processing and digestion of dietary starches and is commonly used for addressing epigastric and abdominal pain and bloating and indigestion (as in the formula Bao He Wan and in Curing Pills).
Shen Qu also helps the Stomach to deal with “hard-to-digest” substances and as such is added to TCM formulas that contain medical mineral substances. Along this line of thought, it can also help persons taking pharmaceutical drugs that are hard on the stomach (e.g. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
–safety note: Use with caution during pregnancy.
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