(above picture courtesy of http://luo-xue.com/HerbsandFormulas/thumbnails.php?album=17)
Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Screen Powder) is well known Chinese herbal formula used primarily to build up one’s resistance to environmental excesses. In plain language, it helps people resist weather changes and thus get less allergies and flus. Jade is long known in oriental culture as a material that preserves and was even used by some ancient chinese royalty as material for coffins – to prevent the body from decaying (supposedly). Anyway now we know where the “Jade Screen” part of the name comes from. The “screen” protecting us from environmental disease factors is reinforced, much like filling in the cracks in a hypothetical great wall of the human body.
The Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy of the Department of Health, Taiwan has an article in it’s 1997 yearbook about Yu Ping Feng San. I am quoting the abstract here for our reference:
Research on Diagnosis and Treatment of TraditionalChinese Medicine(TCM) to Allergic Rhinitis
Jaung – Geng Lin
China Medical College
In order to explain the function of Yu Ping Feng San(prescription of TCM) for treatment on allergic rhinitis and from the action of the role of Yu Ping Feng San and its composition of Huangpi, Baizhu, Fangfeng, and Chingqi in the network of cytokine, Fifteen healthy youths and adults (average age, 23.13¡Ó5.15 years) were selected from the China Medical College Hospital for participation in this study, and each person is blooded 30cc to set in heparined-blood for test in mononuclear cell (MNC) and polymorphonuclear cell (PMN). Add in stimulator (comparison set) separately and five concentrations (5ƒÝ g/ml, 10ƒÝ g/ml, 100ƒÝ g/ml, 250ƒÝ g/ml, and 500ƒÝ g/ml) each of two different prescriptions of Yu Ping Feng San, each containing the same ingredients (Huangqi, Baizhu and Fangfeng) in different proportions and labeled G (1:1:1) and J (3:1:1), as well as the same five concentrations of the individual ingredients of Yu Ping Feng San, Huangqi (an authentic medicinal root used in traditional Chinese medicine), Baizhu, Fangfeng and Chingqi (a non-authentic substitute for Huangqi), totaling 30 samples(Experimental set), for testing and studying. Therefore, the subject of this research: the study of TCM for treatment on allergic rhinitis(1) Prescription of TCM for allergic rhinitis Yu Ping Feng San and its composition and Chingqi In Vitro test to study on their effect on the secretion of interleukin-4 (IL-4) from mononuclear cells and the secretion of histamine from neutrophils, in the test, makes use of Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay(ELISA) to get the concentration. From the data obtained, we use SAS statistic software for analysis.
¡@¡@Results indicated that Yu Ping Feng San prescription G effectively reduced histamine levels (3.22¡Ó0.61 ng/ml vs 1.33¡Ó0.46 ng/ml, P < 0.05 at concentrations of 100ƒÝ g/ml) as well as IL-4 levels (18.43¡Ó5.18 pg/ml vs 10.61¡Ó0.52 pg/ml, P < 0.05 at concentrations of 100ƒÝ g/ml). Yu Ping Feng San prescription J also effectively reduced IL-4 levels (18.43¡Ó5.18 pg/ml vs 6.57¡Ó0.97 pg/ml, P < 0.05 at concentrations of 500m g/ml), however, histamine release increased (3.22¡Ó0.61 ng/ml vs 4.44¡Ó0.77 ng/ml, P < 0.05 at concentrations of 250ƒÝ g/ml). By concentration, Yu Ping Feng San prescription G presented the best inhibitive effect on histamine and IL-4 at the concentration of 100ƒÝ g/ml. Further analysis showed that one component, Fangfeng, played a major role in inhibiting histamine and IL-4 (Dunnett¡¦s t test; P < 0.05); Huangqi actually increased the concentration of histamine (6.64¡Ó2.57 ng/ml vs 14.88¡Ó3.78 ng/ml, P < 0.05 at concentrations of 250ƒÝ g/ml). In addition, we also investigated the effects of Chingqi (a non-authentic substitute for Huangqi, now supplying over 90% of the Huangqi market in Taiwan). In vitro experiments demonstrated that Chingqi produced the least significant effect (LSD ; p< 0.05). Therefore, we believe that Yu Ping Feng San improves conditions of allergic rhinitis mainly by inhibiting the release of histamine and IL-4. This study also provides substantial evidence to support the use of authentic ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine preparations. The fact that among the two prescriptions of Yu Ping Feng San, prescription G, which contained a higher proportion of Fangfeng and a lower proportion of Huangqi than prescription J, effected greater inhibition of histamine and IL-4, can be used as a clinical guide for the effective treatment of allergic rhinitis We hope this investigation will provide a useful research model for the integration of Chinese and western approaches to medicine.
Fangfeng (Ledebouriella Root) is known for expelling Wind. The name itself means to guard against wind. In other words, it is a main herb in relieving symptoms. This research shows it reduces IL-4 and histamine levels.
Huangqi (Astragalus Root) is an herb that we have mentioned in an earlier post. It is known to increase immune function. In this case, it actually increased histamine production. This is not unexpected because histamine triggers the inflammatory response to invaders.
What this study also does is that it helps clinicians make decisions as to how to modify prescriptions as needed. I would assume that rhinitis caused by an allergy would treated with less huangqi and more fangfeng, whereas more huangqi can be used if an active microbiologic pathogen is suspected.
1997 Yearbook, Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy of the Department of Health, Taiwan. 23 October 2009 <http://www.ccmp.gov.tw/en/research/result_detail.asp?relno=51&selno=0&no=86&detailno=204>