It is a good idea to remember our origins. Understanding the past can shed new light on the present. There is a simple important herbal formula that I have on my shelf that a I find most valuable. Many herbalists do not carry this formula, but I find it to be very useful. The formula is a simple 4 herb formula called Er Chen or "Two Cured".
The "cured in this case does not refer to curing patients, but instead it refers the preparation of the two main herbs. This formula is designed to clear "phlegm and damp" out of the body. In layman's terms this formula clears the heavy clogged feeling that comes from chronically eating too much rich food. This may manifest as allergies, heavy breathing, coughing, and nausea. The formula is very simple in that it mixes a root that clears the digestion (ban xia), with citrus peel (chen pi) which moves energy, with a mushroom (fu ling) which drains that moving energy down and out, with honey fried licorice root (zhi gan cao) which helps the stomach handle the other herbs. The formula very effectively clears that heavy feeling from the body. This formula has been around since 1085CE and highly regarded for its simplicity and effectiveness.
Over the centuries, this formula has found its way into dozens of other formulations. Sometimes Er Chen is the base formula with modifying herbs added for specific reasons. In some cases Er Chen was added to other formulas. The resulting formulas are often more well known than the two original formulas that formed it. Because of this many Herbalists don't keep Er Chen around, but instead use the newer more specific variations.
I keep Er Chen on my shelf, because I find it very helpful. Our American diet is very heavy in sugars and fast food grease, which can make a person feel heavy and "damp". I find that many formulas are simply not up to the task of dealing with our modern diet. So, if I am already prescribing a formula with Er Chen in it, sometimes I will add more. at other times when another formula is not giving the results I expect I will add Er Chen to it to give the formula a kick. This tends to help decrease the influence of the American diet.
— David Bock
This article was from David's LakeCountryOnline.com column, "The Practical Herbalist"
David Bock, C. Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM
Wisconsin Certified Acupuncturist
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine
Fellow American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine
Bock Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
888 Thackeray Trail #206
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 53066