Atractylodes (Rhizoma Atractylodis; Cang Zhu)


TCM Herbal Story


Atractylodes (Rhizoma Atractylodis; Cang Zhu)


According to legend, there was a famous physician name Xu Shu Wei who was very diligent and studied till midnight everyday in his teenage years.  Since Xu had a habit of drinking some wine before going to sleep, his appetite started to reduced and started to feel pain in the hypochondrium as well after several years.  He also vomited a couple times each month and there was not sweating in the left portion of his body during summer.


Troubled by these symptoms, Xu began to look for medical advices from various doctors, but the symptoms were still not relieved.  Therefore, he decided to treat this illness on his own.  He believed that the root cause was due to the damp heat in this stomach and chose Atratylodes as the main herb to use for treatment.  He took Atractylodes powder, some jujubes, and combined them into pills by mixing with sesame oil.  He then take 50 of this pill every single day and increased into 100 afterwards.  His symptoms were greatly relieved after several months, and were recovered eventually.



Atractylodes is the rhizome of Atractylodes lancea Thunb., or A. chinensis Koidz. Its properties are acrid, bitter, warm, and aromatic.  It enters through the spleen and stomach.


Actions & Indications:

  • Strongly dries dampness and strengthens the Spleen
  • Expels wind-dampness
  • Induces sweating and releases exterior disorders
  • Improves vision


Caution & Contradiction

  • Contraindicated in cases with excessive sweating due to qi deficiency, or yin deficiency with interior heat. Use with caution in cases of loose, watery stools.

The original article is from Brion Research Institute, translated by Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

For Chinese/original version, please go to:

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