Ren Shen - Ginseng Root

TCM Materia Medica

Ren Shen TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "ren shen" which in english is "ginseng root", is categorized within the "herbs that tonify qi" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the lung and spleen channels and exhibits bitter (ku), sweet (gan) and warm (wen) taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 1-9g

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Strongly tonify yuan qi - extreme collapse of qi, shortness of breath, cold limbs, profuse sweating, weak pulse (often used alone for this condition after severe blood loss).
  • Tonify lung qi - wheezing, shortness of breath, w/kidneys failing to grasp the qi.
  • Strengthen the middle warmer - lethargy, no appetite, chronic diarrhea, prolapse of organs, distended chest/abdomen.
  • Generates fluids, stops thirst - xiao ke, damaged fluid due to high dever and profuse sweating.
  • Benefits heart qi, calms the spirit - palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, poor memory, restlessness due to qi and/or blood deficiency.

Ren Shen has some precautions to be considered (see our precautions list).

  • Avoid tea and turnips while taking ginseng.
  • Antagonist with Wu Ling Zhi, Incompatible with Li Lu.
  • Avoid with high blood pressure and/or liver yang rising.

Our clinical staff have made the following notes, regarding ren shen:

  • Hong Shen - steamed, warmer, for qi and yang deficiency.
  • Gao Li Shen - (Korean), stronger than one from China.

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, ren shen is generally included in the following 21 formulas:

  • Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Wan (Pinellia, Atractylodis and Gastrodia Combination) - Nausea with possible vomitting from combination of damp wit…
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  • Ba Zhen Wan (Eight Treasure Combination) - For recovery of qi and blood after acute trauma or accident…
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  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Formula) - Coldness of the limbs, borborygmus with loose stools or dia…
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  • Chai Hu Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Bupleurum and Cinnamon Twig Decoction) - A combination of gui zhi tang and xiao chai hu tang - toget…
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  • Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Wan (Bupleurum, Dragon Bone, and Oyster Shell Formula) - Palpitations, anxiety, restlessness, agitation/irritibility…
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  • Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan (Aconite Regulate Middle Pills) - Spleen yang deficiency resulting in coldness of the limbs a…
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  • Gui Pi Wan (Restore the Spleen Formula) - The formula is used to tonify both the spleen and heart whi…
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  • Jiang Tang Wan (Lower Blood Sugar Pill) - Nourish the yin and tonify qi with particular emphasis on d…
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  • Mai Men Dong Yin Zi Wan (Ophiopogon and Trichosanthes Combination) - Lung and stomach yin deficiency - this is a modified versio…
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  • Ren Shen Bai Du Wan (Ginseng Detoxification Pills) - Coming Soon...
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  • Ren Shen Yang Rong Wan (Ginseng Decoction to Nourish the Nutritive Qi) - Tonifies both qi and blood and nourishes the heart and calm…
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  • Sang Piao Xiao Wan (Mantis Egg Case Powder) - Frequent urination, possibly incontinent from weakness in t…
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  • Sheng Mai Yin Wan (Replenish Pulse Pills) - Dry mouth, dry skin, dark or scanty urine from yin and flui…
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  • Shen Ling Bai Zhu Wan (Ginseng, Poria & Atractylodes Pills) - Diarrhea, loose stools, or mucus/greasy stools from damp ac…
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  • Si Jun Zi Tang Wan (Four Gentlemen Teapills) - General qi tonification formula - weak extremities, lassi…
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  • Te Xiao Jing Zhui Tong Wan (Patent Neck Pain Relief Pills) - Stiffness, pain, and/or tightness of the neck.
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  • Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan (Emperor of Heavens Special Pill to Tonify the Heart) - Anxiety, insomnia, irritability, night sweats, hot flashes,…
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  • Wu Mei Wan (Mume Fruit Pill) - Generally used with roundworms - abdominal pain, irritabili…
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  • Xiang Sha Yang Wei Wan (Aucklandia Amomi Nurture Stomach Pills) - Low appetite, apathy towards eating due to spleen qi defici…
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  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan (Minor Bupleurum Decoction) - Shao Yang Syndrome (or "lesser yang stage") - alternating f…
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  • Yu Quan Wan (Jade Spring Pills) - Xiao Ke (wasting and thirsting syndrome), qi and yin defici…
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    As noted above, ren shen is within the herbs that tonify qi functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

    (truncated intro "... herbs in this category are generally sweet and rich. they are most often combined with herbs that move and regulate the qi. )".

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