The classic Chinese herbal formula, Yu Ping Feng San also known in English as Jade Windscreen Formula, is estimated to be about eight centuries old. It is sold in ‘san’ or powdered form, (which is added to hot water), ‘tang’ or decoction, or ‘wan’ or capsule/pill form. This formula is made up of three herbs: the much revered astragalus (Wang Qi), saposhnikovia divaricata root or siler root (Fang feng), atractylodes macrocephala rhizome or white atractylodes (Bai Zhu) and root of milk-vetch. Although Jade Windscreen Formula may seem like a simple formula, it has broad applications. While it has mostly been utilized to thwart cold colds (Cold-Wind invasion, not Heat-Wind), studies in recent years, have demonstrated it to have wider therapeutic applications.
Effects of this formula in Chinese Medicine:
• Clears external Wind pathogen.
• Supplements the Wei Qi or Defensive Qi and makes the exterior stable
• Dispels external pathogenic wind
For people exhibiting symptoms (each to different degrees, based on the patient), the Jade Windscreen Formula is an ideal treatment for profuse or spontaneous sweating, as well as for those who easily catch frequent bacterial/viral infections or colds, have a dislike to wind/cold, have a sallow or pale complexion, or have scanty urine. This is a constitutional form referred to as Deficient Qi. If you are diagnosed with Deficient Qi, you may not be able to ward off external evils (called OPIs or Outside Pernicious Influences) from infiltrating your muscle and skin layers, where damp and wind can build up. This causes a chronic problem with Dampness, Wind, and Cold, which infiltrate the body’s external parts (muscle tissue, skin, face, neck, and head).
Recent Uses of Jade Windscreen Formula
These days, the Jade Windscreen Formula is most commonly used for the prevention of colds and for resolving allergies (seasonal allergies, allergic rhinitis, and hay fever). This herbal remedy is no longer that potent once a pathogen has entered the exterior, as it may bring the pathogen deeper into the body, which makes the pathogen more difficult to eliminate.
As with most Chinese herbs, the Jade Windscreen Formula is designed to address the underlying condition (Deficiency Wei Qi, in this case) and is mainly used as a preventive treatment for allergies. In Western medicine, an allergic reaction is seen as a manifestation of a hyperactive immune system. “Hyperactive” is a term that implies excess although a more rightful description would be “over-reaction,” a result not of excess, but by “over-reaction”, and by over-stimulation of the immune system, which, in due time, breaks down the Wei Qi or defenses of the body.
According to Chinese medicine theory, this collapse leads to hypersensitivity to dust, pollen and other stimuli and seems more like an excess because of the symptoms the patient exhibits. In Chinese medicine theory, what actually occurs is that the right Qi body or Zheng qi and probably the Defensive Qi or Wei Qi has all broken down. This weakness may be the result of a single large assault of outside negative factors, stress-inducing factors (environmental, work, chemical exposure, etc.), and an unhealthy life style (too much alcohol, poor choices of food, stress, etc).
In children and adults with asthma, Jade Windscreen can also be a great form of treatment for their condition, particularly during the remission stage. There can be several possible differentiation patterns in Chinese medical diagnosis, but a constitutional deficient Qi is definitely one of them. Wei Qi can be tonified by taking Jade Windscreen. It consolidates the external to hinder the infiltration of external damp, heat, cold, and wind that in turn may set of an asthmatic reaction. The formula also tonifies Lung Qi, which is usually adversely affected by chronic asthma, which thus reduces the need for bronchial dilators and amount of flare-ups. According to the diagnostic pattern of a patient, the formula needs to be augmented to bring about the required therapeutic benefit.
Based on a review of the pharmacological effects of Jade Windscreen in relation to the immune system, it is clear that the formula does not only influence immunoglobulins, but also natural killer cells, mononuclear macrophages, T-lymphocytes, and other aspects of the immune system harmed by trial interventions. In 1989 and 1992, reviews published regarding the clinical usages of Jade Windscreen Powder suggested the following uses:
• Chronic nephritis
• premature beats in coronary heart disease, viral myocarditis and its complications
• Erythema multiforme, allergic dermatitis, urticaria,
• Asthma and cough
• Rhinitis, especially allergic rhinitis
• Bell’s palsy (Facial palsy)
• Hemorrhagic purpura
• Treatment and Prevention of the flu and cold and influenza and of “summer fever” (fever couple with acute infection arises occurs in summer instead of the cold/winter flu/cold season), primarily among children.
• Meniere’s syndrome
UCLA AIDS Institute researchers did a study in 2008 that showed the use of use of wang qi or astragalus can be extremely effective in treating people with high risk of other viral infections associated with aging and chronic diseases, immunodeficiency, and HIV. The body infected with HIV has a very difficult time maintaining several healthy T-cells. New studies show that astragalus can activate the production of telomerase and enhance production of T-lymphocyte cell, significantly increasing the function and strength of the immune system.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue
In both Eastern and Western medicines, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are considered complicated patterns. These conditions have one thing in common in Eastern medicine – deficient wei qi. Since patients are super sensitive to their external environments, since their immune system is compromised, they can be easily infiltrated by external pathogens. The peculiar combination of the three herbs (two is to two is to one ratio) relieves pain caused by damp and wind by unblocking the muscle and skin layers, tonifies Qi, reinforces the digestive center (Spleen and Stomach energies) by bolstering transformation and transportation of activities, and strengthens the immune system. Jade Windscreen can be taken along with other formulas or herbs based on the diagnostic pattern of differentiation of each patient.
All in all, we can consider Jade Windscreen to be a remarkable and simple formula containing herbs that complement the immune system in many ways and has the capacity to eliminate pathogens from the body’s external levels body. It is known for its applications beyond the treatment of asthma and prevention of colds: it treats AIDS/HIV, cancer treatment side effects, the elderly, and for any chronic type of immunodeficiency.