It’s a vicious cycle…
As we age, our digestive system gets weaker. Our stomach produces less gastric juices to break down our food. As a result, we feel bloated and our abdominal area feels like an alien is living inside us. Consequently, our weak digestion results in poor nutrient absorption, which leads to low energy levels.
If only there were a nutritional supplement that could take care of both low energy and poor digestion simultaneously.
The good news is there is a legendary traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herb that may help support both health concerns. The attractive botanical is called Atractylodes, aka Bai Zhu, in TCM.
What Does Atractylodes (Bai Zhu) Do in TCM?
So why is Atractylodes the go-to single herbal extract you should consider to feel more energetic and support your digestion?
Well, there’s only one TCM herb that has the honor of being called “The First Herb of Invigorating Qi and Strengthening Spleen.” And that herb is Bai Zhu.
There’s only one TCM herb that has the honor of being called “The First Herb of Invigorating Qi and Strengthening Spleen.” And that herb is Bai Zhu.
And just in case you don’t know, when the Spleen organ system is strengthened, digestion is improved. This is because the Spleen is the primary organ responsible for taking ripened food from the Stomach and extracting the nutrients from food, and transforming said nutrients into Qi, which gets dispersed and directed to other organs by the Liver.
Bai Zhu For Digestion Support
One of the most widely used herbs in TCM formulas, Bai Zhu directly influences the Stomach, Spleen, and Liver channels. So what does that mean for your health and wellness? Well, as mentioned, the Stomach and Spleen organ systems directly influence digestion. Thus, by taking Atractylodes, you’ll nourish your Spleen and Stomach. This will help overcome the deficiency in one or both channels, which can help support your digestion if you have deficiency symptoms such as diarrhea. In addition, Bai Zhu promotes normal bowel movements if you have loose stools by drying excess dampness in the gastrointestinal tract.
Interestingly, a 2021 research study published in Frontiers of Pharmacology suggested that taking Bai Zhu may support the gut microbiome. “It was found that Baizhu could promote the proliferation of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the intestinal flora and could improve the balance of intestinal flora composition,” said the researchers.
There’s another possible benefit of drinking Atractylodes/Bai Zhu instant herbal tea. We just learned above that this common TCM herb dries excess dampness. And because of this, it may help to eliminate water retention. In addition, in research studies (also reviewed by the aforementioned Frontiers in Pharmacology meta-analysis), intravenous application of Bai Zhu led to increased urine volume.
Bai Zhu For Water Metabolism
Also, if you tend to run on the hot side, Bai Zhu/Atractylodes may help. In TCM applications, it is used to control excess sweating.
Atractylodes for Circulation
Let’s recall that Bai Zhu influences the Stomach, Spleen, and Liver meridians. So by nourishing the Stomach and Spleen, Bai Zhu helps support overall Qi in the body by boosting digestion. And if digestion is optimal in TCM theory, so is the production of Blood. This is because Qi and Blood have a symbiotic relationship (more like Yin/Yang to stay true to TCM theory). So when Qi is nourished, so, too, is Blood, and vice versa.
More specifically, by boosting digestion, Qi helps Blood move through the channels, which can help moisten the tissues and provide enough cooling energy to counter Dampness. Qi and Blood function as a duo of superheroes in the body, helping to provide strength, a balanced mood, a healthy immune system, and a happy spirit.
In addition, Atractylodes may also help support normal blood sugar levels in people who already have serum glucose levels within a healthy range.
Want A Kinder Stomach? Try This Legendary Formula With Bai Zhu
If you need a digestion makeover, consider trying the legendary TCM formula called “The Four Gentlemen.” Along with Bai Zhu (Atractylodes rhizome), it features the King of all TCM herbs, Ren Shen (Ginseng), plus Dang Shen (Codonopsis root), Fu Ling (Poria), and to balance out the taste of the TCM herbs, Zhi Gan Cao (Processed Licorice). So it’s more like the 5 Gentlemen, but who’s counting?
To better support digestion, ActiveHerb.com has introduced the formula Stomakinder, which adds two extra TCM herbs to the 4, er, 5 Gentlemen: Mu Xiang (Aucklandia root) and Sha Ren (Cardamom seed). These two herbs are added for “extra-strength” dampness removal and to promote the movement of Qi, respectively. Stomakinder is available in tablet form under the Guang Ci Tang TCM product line. Learn more about the formula here.