Finding A Guiding Herb Makes Easier to Find the Most Efficient Formula ⑮ 橘皮 Ju Pi

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△Ju Pi is also used to resolve chest fullness, shortness of breath, and hiccup. imageⓒshutterstock_bonchan

Ju Pi Enhances Smooth Qi Flow And Disperse Dampness

By Hyunchang Cho, L.Ac., Ph.D (c0454445@gmail.com)

Ju Pi: Symptom Indicator Score+++ Frequency of Use ++

 Main Symptoms ①Food stagnation in the chest (chest discomfort due to blockage of food in the esophagus) that is mainly induced by overeating<stress ②Difficulty in swallowing may also occur

Possible Symptoms ③Chest fullness ④Shortness of breath ⑤Hiccup

 Pharmacological Hypothesis of Ju Pi

Weakness of the vagus nerve function, which mainly regulates organs within the chest cavity such as the esophagus, trachea, diaphragms, and smooth muscles

Hypertonicity and decreased motility of smooth muscles in the esophagus, trachea, and diaphragm

Food stagnation in the chest and difficulty in swallowing

Sometimes chest fullness, shortness of breath, and hiccups may occur as well

Ju Pi is a Qi-regulating herb. Such herbs and their patterns seem to be related to weakening the vagus nerve function. Ju Pi treats food stagnation in the chest, chest fullness, shortness of breath, and hiccups caused by hypertonicity and decreased motility of smooth muscles in the esophagus, trachea, and diaphragm. Such are the results of vagus nerve dysfunction that regulates smooth muscles of the organs in the chest cavities.

Ju Pi is classified as a Qi-regulating herb in the Materia Medica. Qi-regulating herbs are aromatic herbs that enhance smooth Qi flow and disperse dampness. Such herbs can treat various disorders caused by vagus nerve dysfunction, resulting in hypertonicity and decreased motility of intestinal smooth muscles.

Vagus nerve dysfunction can lead to hypertonicity and decreased motility of the esophageal smooth muscles and may induce symptoms like food stagnation in the chest and difficulty swallowing, which are the Main Symptoms of Ju Pi.

After swallowing, food travels through the esophagus to reach the stomach. In this process, esophageal smooth muscles must carry out normal peristaltic movement for the food to pass through. If esophageal smooth muscle movement is hampered due to vagus nerve dysfunction, resulting in hypertonicity and decreased motility of the muscles will lead to food stagnation in the chest or discomfort due to blockage of food in the esophagus.

In modern medicine, such symptoms are regarded as dysfunction of esophageal motility and, therefore, may explain why Ju Pi can treat food stagnation in the chest and difficulty swallowing.

  1. Clinical Tips of Ju Pi

(1) Main Symptoms

* Food stagnation in the chest (chest discomfort due to blockage of food in the esophagus) that is mainly induced by overeating or stress. Difficulty in swallowing may also occur.

The main symptoms of Ju Pi are food stagnation in the chest and difficulty swallowing. Discomfort due to food blockage in the esophagus is a characteristic symptom of Ju Pi, which I discovered after studying cases of patients treated with Ju Pi formulas. There are no anatomical sites that retain food in the chest, but patients were still complaining of chest discomfort, saying they felt as if the food was stuck somewhere between their throat and upper stomach. Difficulty in swallowing means having a hard time swallowing and ingesting food as if food is stuck in somewhere in the esophagus. Food stagnation can occur either in the throat or the chest. Ju Pi’s indigestion, which is caused by overeating or stress, is manifested as discomfort in the chest as if food is stuck in it.

Clinical Expressions

* If I eat more than my usual amount or become stressed, I will experience indigestion accompanied by chest discomfort, as if the food is caught in my chest or throat.

* Indigestion is mainly caused by overeating or stress.

* Food seems to get stuck in my throat. I can’t seem to swallow well.

Ju Pi’s food stagnation in the chest mostly appears in formulas with large amounts of Ju Pi. It is more commonly seen in Ju Pi Zhu Ye Tang, Ju Pi Tang, Ju Pi Zhi Shi Sheng Jiang Tang, and rarely seen or absent in Ju Pi Da Huang Po Xiao Tang and Fu Ling Yin.

(2) Possible Symptoms

* Chest fullness, shortness of breath, and hiccups may occur.

Clinical Expressions

* I often experience chest fullness from stress or tension. This can be triggered or aggravated by indigestion that is caused by overeating or stress.

* Patients will often say that chest fullness is accompanied by shortness of breath. This is especially true if they try to sleep at night after indigestion, as lying down will aggravate the chest fullness and shortness of breath. In such cases, they will say sitting in an upright position will make breathing easier.

* Some patients will be actually diagnosed with asthma, and shortness of breath may be their chief complaint. If such shortness of breath is accompanied by indigestion w/ food stagnation in the chest, Ju Pi formulas are very effective.

* For some patients, hiccups will be the chief complaint. Such hiccups are usually accompanied by food stagnation in the chest, chest fullness, and shortness of breath.