Yu Ping Feng San: A Closer Look at the Research

by Dr. Eric Karchmer, PhD, MD (China), LAc |

Yu Ping Feng San: A Closer Look at the Research

Yu Ping Feng San, first mentioned in The Teachings of Zhu Dan-Xi (Dan Xi Xin Fa) in the Song Dynasty, dating back to 920 A.D., is traditionally comprised of three herbs: root of Astragalus (Huang Qi), rhizomes of Atractylodes (Bai Zhu), and root of Saposhnikovia (Fang Feng), though Chinese medicine practitioners will sometimes make adjustments to the patients’ individual constitutions. 

Three Herbs for Better Immunity

According to Chinese herbal medicine theory, herbs are more powerful when blended together. Here is how these herbs act from a Chinese medicine perspective when combined:

Huang Qi: Improves Spleen Qi, raises Yang, and stabilizes the exterior Wei Qi or “Defensive Qi”.

Fang Feng: The literal translation is “Guard against wind”. It warms and circulates Qi and blood out to the surface, firms and closes the exterior, and expels wind.

Bai Zhu: Strengthens Spleen Qi, warms and benefits digestion, stabilizes the exterior and stops spontaneous sweating.

The direct translation of Yu Ping Feng San is "Jade Windscreen", given the core belief that the herbs create a “screen from the wind” around your body that’s as powerful and precious and hard to penetrate as jade - and further research has shown that this formula does work to create a barrier at the cellular level.


A Variety of Applications Beyond Just Cold & Flu

For centuries, Yu Ping Feng San has been used for the treatment of cold and flu for clinical practice. It has also been used in the treatment of lung cancer (Chen, 2013; Chen et al., 2013), and the application of preventing viral infections due to its immunomodulatory effects. Though doctors of Chinese medicine have turned to this common formula for centuries, 6 practitioners set out to understand the research around the effects of this formula. 

Of 500 potential studies conducted between 1990 and 2007 on the effectiveness and immunological effects of Yu Ping Feng San, the group identified 9 randomized controlled studies that fit their stringent criteria: Five studies on respiratory, two studies on renal diseases and two on dermatological diseases, including:

  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Urticaria
  • Shingles

The results were as follows:

"Yu Ping Feng San, when used alone or integrated with western medicine, enhanced immune function and increased the treatment effectiveness in certain respiratory, urinary, and dermatological conditions. Additionally, it also decreased the relapse rate and the occurrence of side effects due to traditional Western treatment."

Ancient Herbs for your Modern Life

Yu Ping Feng San is the inspiration and herbal foundation of our Immunity Support formula.  Complemented with pears and ginger natural flavors in an easy-to drink effervescent powder that you simply mix with water, we recommend everyone have this formula on hand as a preventative for peace of mind during these uncertain times. Who doesn’t need a little extra immunity these days?

To learn more about this foundational formula, you can read how I prescribed it to keep my 90 year old grandmother healthy during the last years of her life here.

Dr. Eric Karchmer is a practicing Chinese medical doctor, medical anthropologist, and co-founder and Chief Doctor of Chinese Medicine for DAO Labs. From 1995-2000, Eric studied at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and today is both a licensed acupuncturist and professor at Appalachian State University. Eric can be reached at drkarchmer@mydaolabs.com.

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