主 办:北 京 中 医 药 大 学
ISSN 1006-2157 CN 11-3574/R

JOURNAL OF BEIJING UNIVERSITY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE ›› 2021, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (6): 485-490.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-2157.2021.06.001

• Theoretical Studies •     Next Articles

Analysis of the properties of ancient aromatic Chinese herbs and the application of the theory of “aromatics acting on the spleen” in Huangdi Neijing*

Huang Hsunying, Liu Zhenzhu, Wang Weiguang, Zhai Shuangqing#   

  1. Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
  • Received:2020-12-01 Online:2021-06-30 Published:2021-06-25
  • Contact: Prof. Zhai Shuangqing, Ph.D., Doctoral Supervisor. Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. No.11 Beisanhuan Donglu Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029. E-mail: zsq2098@163.com
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2018YFC1704100, No. 2018YFC1704105),Beijing Natural Science Foundation(No.7192119)

Abstract: The theory that aromatic medicinals act upon the spleen was first put forward in Huangdi Neijing (Huangdi’s Internal Classic). It was believed that aroma primarily acted upon the spleen, so aromatic herbs also had a special regulatory effect on the spleen. In this paper, through classifying commonly used aromatic herbs recorded in ancient books on Chinese materia medica, and making statistical analysis of their nature, taste, meridian tropism and efficacy, we further explored the medicinal characteristics of aromatic herbs and their special effects on the spleen. Statistical results show that most aromatic herbs are warm in nature, and pungent and bitter in taste, and they enter primarily the spleen meridian, and secondarily the liver meridian. In terms of efficacy in modern Chinese materia medica, such herbs serve mostly to rectify qi, invigorate blood, dissolve stasis and dissipate wind-cold. It can be seen that aromatic medicinals do primarily act upon the spleen, and their effects are not limited to resolving dampness and inducing resuscitation. In addition, their pungent taste have dispersing and moving effects, their bitter taste can dry dampness, and their warm nature can raise yang. As pungent medicinals open and bitter medicinals direct things downward, aromatics are especially conducive to restoring spleen and stomach’s physiological function of raising the clear and directing the turbid downward, and then maintaining the qi circulation in the five zang and six fu organs. Therefore, the authors argue that the spleen must have played an important role in aromatic herbs’ clinical application to remove dampness and awaken the spleen and even to open the orifices and resuscitate, which also provides pharmacological evidence for the theory that aromatic medicinals act upon the spleen in Huangdi Neijing.

Key words: Huangdi Neijing, aromatic herbs, aromatic medicinals act upon the spleen

CLC Number: 

  • R221