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    Dioscorea opposita (山药)
    shanyao1shanyao2Shanyao root, 山藥, Radix Dioscoreae oppositae, falls within the Chinese herbal medicine category of Tonify Qi materia medica.Within this category it has specialized and important properties which make it one of the most important and commonly used materia medica in the Chinese medicine repertoire. As a tonifying herb which enters the kidney organ (Zang) and/or channel (Jing), its role is fundamental, in accordance with the dictum that "the kidney is the root of Yin and Yang of all the organs (Zang-fu). Shanyao is classified as being of neutral temperature, an important property which means that, while it significantly tonifies the Qi, it does not at the same time cause Heat; in this way it is able to tonify Qi without injuring the Yin, an important advantage in the treatment of patients with deficient Yin. In this role of tonifying Qi without injuring the Yin it appears in such classical formulas as Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, 六味地黃丸, the Six Flavours Rehmannia Pill, and its many derivative and related formulas.

    Shan Yao is also used in situations where it is necessary to tonify Qi, but where the Yin is not deficient. In this usage it is usually used prepared by dry-frying (chao, 炒), which alters its temperature property to slightly Warm. The slightly Warm property enables it to Warm the spleen, another organ/channel which it enters, enabling the spleen to Dry Dampness, but without injuring Blood, a dimension of the Yin. A typical formula where dry-fried Shan Yao is used to tonify Spleen Qi is Shen Ling Bai Zhu San, 參苓白術散, Ginseng Poria Atractylodes Powder. It is also frequently found dry-fried in Chinese herbal dermatology[6] in formulas for treating Blood Dryness where it is necessary to warmly tonify Spleen Qi, to enable it to Transform residual Dampness, but without drying Blood or Yin.


    薯蓣,通称山药。在河北等地超市内又被称为麻山药。多年生草本植物,茎蔓生,常带紫色,块根圆柱形,叶子对生,卵形或椭圆形,花乳白色,雌雄异株。块根含淀粉和蛋白质,可以吃。

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