In spring, buds burst with potential energy, flowers push up from under the snow, and, according to Chinese medicine, the Wind blows change, energy, and wellness disturbances hither and thither. Spring is associated with the Wood element, in its upward, outward expansion, and infinite possibilities.
The Five Elements of Chinese medicine create a dynamic model of life and health. These Elements include Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Each Element has universal correspondences that range from microscopic movements of time and seasons, to macroscopic influences of colors, sounds, odors, and emotions.
The “Wind” of Chinese medicine is “the origin of the one hundred diseas... Wind can include acute disruptions to our bodies’ systems, sudden body movements, mysterious pains, or widespread wellness threats that comes blowing in from other lands, whipping our lives into a frenzy of discomfort and wellness woes.
“Jade Windscreen,” or Yu Ping Feng San (玉屏風散), is a traditional Chinese herbal formula often used to reinforce our immune system, popularly used in China to prevent respiratory complaints and related conditions. The “windscreen” refers to the formula’s ability to create a screen to protect the body against wind-borne health threats.
Chinese researchers found Jade Windscreen to have “beneficial immunomodulatory effects for preventing viral infections...” during the spring 2003 outbreak in Hong Kong, and “in regulating the releases of cytokines from macrophages” in another 2013 study.
Jade Windscreen includes just three herbs: astragalus root (Huang qi, 黃芪), atractylodes rhizome (Bai zhu, 白朮), and siler root (Fang feng, 防風). Ancient Chinese physicians designed these formulas like families, with individual plants within the formula supporting each other, creating a harmonious whole. Here’s more information about these three plants, including other herbal considerations.
Jade Windscreen is traditionally prepared as a powder blend and taken dissolved in warm water. It can also be taken as a decoction with the raw dried herb, or in granule or capsule form. Astragalus is the “King herb” of the formula, thus the high dose. If the other herbs are not available, then consider simply making an astragalus decoction, or adding it to your broth or healing stews.
I commonly advise my clients to take 9 grams of Jade Windscreen powder blend dissolved in warm water 3 times per day. For the best guidance to support your specific needs, consult a qualified TCM practitioner.
As the winds of spring and change come blowing into our lives, strengthen yourself with Jade Windscreen formula or an astragalus decoction, and keep resting fully, exercising gently, and eating whole foods meals, finding joy, peace, and stability in simple daily living. Stay grounded in the Earth amidst the movement of Wood. Breathe deep, and center.
(For more information and inspiration from the author, visit JilingLin.com.)