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English Name: acorus, grass-leaf sweet-flag rhizome
Pharmaceutical Name: Rhizoma Acori
Medica Category: Orifice-Opening Herbs
Properties: Shi Chang Pu enters the Heart and Stomach channels; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Shi Chang Pu is the dried rhizome of the grass-leaf sweet-flag (Acorus tatarinowii Schott.), a grass-like monocot that grows along rivers, ponds, and lakes, or anywhere the soil is wet enough for it to flourish. The rhizomes, which can run along the ground just below the surface of the soil, are harvested in the fall, cut up into slices and dried for use as medicine.
Shi Chang Pu vaporizes phlegm that is obstructing the orifices to re-open them when they are blocked (causing shen disturbance in varying levels of severity up to and including unconsciousness). For example, it can be added to formulas to aid in addressing insomnia and forgetfulness or used in a more direct way to address unconsciousness, seizures, epilepsy, coma, high fevers, and delirium.
Shi Chang Pu dissolves dampness and resolves turbidity in the middle jiao to help improve the Spleen’s transforming & transportation functions. This action addresses such clinical presentations as chest/abdominal fullness and pain, poor appetite, and damp-heat diarrhea.
Shi Chang Pu benefits the throat to address hoarseness of the voice and laryngitis.
According to TCM theory (and knowledge gained from practical experience), a few things need to be said generally about the use of orifice-opening herbs in situations of loss-of-consciousness:
All of this is to say that discussion of this substance’s use in restoring consciousness is intended to be educational. Their practical use is complex/nuanced; furthermore, the situations for the use of these herbs are often serious and/or life-threatening and should therefore be left to trained TCM healthcare practitioners. See Chen and Chen, pp. 815-7 for a more complete discussion on this topic.
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