Pharmaceutical Latin: Rhizoma Atractylodis
Common English: Black Atractylodis Rhizome
Atractylodis Lancea
Gray Atractylodis
Red Atractylodis
Sword-like Atractylodis Rhizome
Aromatic Herbs That Transform Dampness
Taste Temperature Entering Meridians Dosage
Tincture: 2-4ml
Actions Indications/Syndromes

Strongly dries Dampness and tonifies the Spleen

Dampness Obstructing the Middle Jiao and blocking transformative and transportive functions of the Spleen with anorexia, diarrhea, epigastric distention and pressure, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and a thick, greasy tongue coat

Induces sweating and expels Wind-Dampness

Wind-Cold Dampness and Wind-Dampness with chills and fever, headache, body aches and nasal congestion

Painful extremities due to Wind-Damp Bi

Clears Dampness from the Lower Jiao

Damp-Heat Pouring Downward with Leg Qi, some forms of atrophy disorders, vaginal discharge, swollen, sore joints

Improves vision

Night blindness and diminished vision with a rough sensation in the eyes

  • Contraindicated in excessive sweat due to Qi Deficiency.
  • Contraindicated in Yin Deficiency with Interior Heat with dry clumped stools.
  • Caution with loose, watery stools.
  • Older sources say do not mix with peach, watermelon, honeydew melon or pheasant meat.
  • This herb may be an inhibitor of H+,K+-ATPase and may enhance the inhibitory effect of omeprazole on H+,K+-ATPase.
  • Use Cang Zhu with caution with insulin, sulfonylureas and other antidiabetics such as tolbutamide (Orinase), glipizide (Glucotrol) and glyburide (DiaBeta/Micronase).
  • Concurrent use with diuretics such as chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, furmoside (Lasix), bumetinide (Bumex) and torsemide (Demadex) may lead to increased elimination of water and/or electrolytes.

Cx. Magnoliae
Hou Po

Per. Citri Reticulatae
Chen Pi

Rz. Cyperi
Xiang Fu


Flos Lonicerae
Jin Yin Hua


Epigastric fullness, fatigue and discomfort, anorexia, vomiting and/or diarrhea with a turbid, greasy tongue coat due to Dampness Obstructing the Middle Jiao.

Chest, epigastric and abdominal pain, distention and discomfort due to Dampness and Qi Obstruction.

Diarrhea, especially due to Summer Heat with Dampness.

Gypsum Fibrosum
Shi Gao

Dry-fried and Powdered

Dry-fried and Powdered Talcum
Hua Shi

Warm-Damp febrile disease with fever, profuse sweating and generalized body aches.

Serves as a base for treating diarrhea in children.

Infantile diarrhea from Damp-Heat.

Dry-fried and Powdered Fr. Crataegi
Shan Zha

Dry-fried and Powdered Rz. Zingiberis
Gan Jiang

Rz. Ligustici Chuanxiong
Chuan Xiong
Rx. Angelicae Dahuricae
Bai Zhi
Rx. seu Rz. Notopterygii
Qiang Huo
(Hb. Asari)
(Xi Xin)

Food Stagnation.

Infantile diarrhea.

Infantile diarrhea due to Deficiency Cold.

Exterior Wind-Cold-Dampness.

Gypsum Fibrosum
Shi Gao

Rz. Anemarrhenae
Zhi Mu

Sm. Coicis
Yi Yi Ren
(Rx. Stephaniae Tetrandrae)
(Han Fang Ji)

Cx. Phellodendri
Huang Bai

Early-Stage Damp-Heat when Dampness and Heat are of equal strength, marked by fevers that fail to recede, focal distention in the chest, heavy lethargy, and thirst with no desire to drink.

Damp-predominant Bi.

Pain, swelling, and weakness of the lower extremities or skin lesions due to Wind-Dampness.

Used for atrophy disorder, vaginal discharge and Damp-sores.

Sm. Sesame Nigrum
Hei Zhi Ma

Hb. Artemisiae Argyi
Ai Ye

Cx. Magnoliae
Hou Po

Cataracts, glaucoma, and night blindness.

Prevents influenza and treats bronchitis.

Dampness obstructing Spleen Yang with epigastric fullness, abdominal and epigastric distention, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, loss of taste and a thick, greasy tongue coat.

Massa Fermentata
Shen Qu
Per. Zanthoxyli
Chuan Jiao

Fr. Jujube
Da Zao

Rz. Atractylodis Macrocephalae
Bai Zhu

Diarrhea due to Dampness Accumulation.

Chronic accumulation of Dampness in the Spleen with hypochondriac pain, acid reflux and anorexia.

Musculoskeletal disorders of the arms and shoulders due to Phlegm Stagnation.

White Tiger Decoction
Bai Hu Tang


Febrile disorders with Dampness.

  1. This herb is very effective at drying Dampness and can be used alone for this purpose. Although it is warm, when combined with other herbs, it is used for Damp-Heat disorders.
  2. Used whenever there is a failure of the Spleen to properly transform moisture.
  3. It improves vision due to the presence of a substantial amount of Vitamin A.
  4. Cooked with pig or goat liver, it can be taken daily as a food for night blindness.
  5. It is helpful in reducing weight in combination with other herbs.
  6. This herb treats Dampness in all three Jiaos.
  7. If the tongue coat is thick, white, turbid and greasy, this is the most requisite herb.
  8. This herb, along with pig's or sheep's bladder is noted for its treatment of night blindness.
  9. This herb may prove beneficial in the management of food allergies.
  10. It is often used as a component of moxa.
  11. This herb and Cx. Magnoliae Officinalis Hou Po transform Dampness and are often used together in treating abdominal distention, vomiting, and diarrhea. This herb is more effective at drying Dampness and expelling Wind-Dampness while Hou Po is better for dispelling fullness and distention.
  12. Maoshan Atractylodis Mao Shan Cang Zhu dries Dampness without harming the Stomach and strengthens the Spleen  while still expelling Dampness.
  13. Prepared Atractylodis Zhi Cang Zhu is gentle and harmonious and has virtually no Exterior releasing properties. It is used for older or weaker patients with Damp Spleens.
  14. Dry-fried Atractylodis Chao Cang Zhu has reduced acrid, dispersing properties.
  15. Scorched Atractylodis Jiao Cang Zhu is best for stopping diarrhea and warming the Spleen.
  16. Earth-fried Atractylodis Tu Chao Cang Zhu has an enhanced Spleen tonifying effect and alleviates nausea and vomiting and drives out Phlegm and pathogenic water.
  17. Cang Zhu is better at easing the middle and creating sweat, while Rz. Atractylodis Macrocephalae Bai Zhu is better at tonifying the Middle and  eliminating Dampness.