Gan Cao (aka: Zhi Gan Cao) - Tonify Qi
HT, LU, SP, ST (3-10g)

Gan Cao (Granny Cow)
Granny Cow loved cooking for others and her cooking sure could moderate and harmonize the properties of others. Then just last summer she got bitten by a poison toxic snake which gave her pain and spasms followed by a phlegm cough!

But she hated Hai Zao (incompatible with Hai Zao) and was incompatible with any kind of harsh expellant (incompatible with harsh expellants such as Gan Sui, Yuan Hua, and Da Ji).

Granny cow is sweet, but too much visiting with Granny Cow can cause (cc: long term use can lead to hypertension or edema) and eating her cooking for too long causes (cc: excess dampness; nausea, and vomiting)
English Name: licorice root
Pharmacuetical Name: Radix Glycyrrhizae
Properties: sweet, neutral

  Explanation of Key Words in this story...
loved cooking for others tonifies SP and HT
phlegm cough dispels phlegm; stops cough
summer she got bitten by a toxic poison snake clears heat; relieves toxicity; treats poison
pain and spasms alleviates pain; relieves spasms
moderate and harmonize the properties of others moderates and harmonizes the properties of other herbs


       Gan Cao Actions and Indications
  • Tonifies SP and HT qi (lassitude, loose stools, qi and blood deficiency with irregular or intermittent pulse and/or palpitations, shortness of breath, zang zao)
  • Dispels phlegm, Stop cough (wheezing with phlegm; coughing; heat or cold in LU; can also moisten LU, use for cough without phlegm)
  • Clears heat; Relieves Toxicity; Treats Poison ( sores throat due to fire toxin, carbuncles, used internally or topically; used as antidote for variety of toxic substances including food, herbs, and drugs)
  • Moderates Spasms; alleviates Pain (abdominal pain due to deficiency or cold of middle jiao, painful spasms of abdomen or legs)
  • Moderates and Harmonizes properties of other herbs (moderates harshness of other herbs; harmonizes middle jiao in combination with other herbs, particularly with sheng jiang)
  • (cc: excess dampness; nausea and vomiting)
  • (cc: incompatible with harsh expellants gan sui, yuan hua, and da ji)
  • (cc: according to shi ba fan incompatible with hai zao)
  • (cc: long term overdose can lead to hypertension or edema)
    Alternate Forms:
  • sheng - clear heat and relieve fire toxicity, dispels phlegm
  • zhi- tonify middle, moderate spasms, moistens LU
    Other Notes:
  • Pharmacologically Gan Cao is a mineralcorticoid (increases re-absorption of sodium and water), glucocorticoid (enhances effect of coritsone), anti-inflammatory, antiarrythmic, immuno-stimulant, gastrointestinal aid, antispasmodic, antitoxin, and is also hepatoprotective.

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