Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine

Translations: Gynecology

Rou Cong Rong in the Treatment of Menopausal Syndrome

Women with menopausal syndrome presenting the following symptoms: dizziness, tinnitus, headache, tidal fever, sweating, irritable disposition, easily angered, heart palpitations, vexation, lose sleep, and abnormal menses. We have found in our clinical experience that it is important to use a high dosage of rou cong rong (Herba Cistanches Deserticolae) in order to effectively treat this disease. Below is an example:

Woman, 49 years of age, first visit March 6, 2000:
Suffered from menopausal syndrome for 5 years. The condition became progressively worse each year.

Symptoms: cloudy head with distention and pain, when symptoms get severe, she gets dizziness and tinnitus, tidal fever, sweating both day and night more than ten times, when she does not have tidal fever and sweating, she has aversion to wind, and cool body, heart vexation, agitation, difficulty sleeping with profuse dreams, irregular menses with scanty quantity, exhausted spirit, appears thin, low back aches, weak limbs, poor appetite, constipation, urine yellow and scanty, dry throat and mouth, thirst, but no desire to drink, red tongue with scanty fur, lacks moisture, pulse stringlike, thin, and rapid.

Pattern Identification: Essence-Blood vacuity, detriment to the Yin is affecting the Yang, vacuous Yang is rising, becoming hyperactive, and non-interaction between the Heart and Kidney.

Treatment Method: Supplement the Kidney-Essence while simultaneously supporting the Kidney Yang, nourish the Blood, calm the Liver, calm the Heart and Spirit.

Formula: rou cong rong (Herba Cistanches Deserticolae) 60 grams, shu di huang (Radix Rehmanniae Glutinosae Conquitae) 20 grams, shan zhu yu (Fructus Corni Officinalis) 20 grams, tian men dong (Tuber Asparagi Cochinchinensis) 20 grams, bai shao (Radix Paeoniae Lactiflorae) 20 grams, suan zao ren (Semen Zizyphi Spinosae) 15 grams, zhi he shou wu (fried Radix Polygoni Multiflori) 10 grams, shan yao (Radix Dioscoreae Oppositae) 20 grams, zhi gan cao (honey-fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis) 10 grams, shi jue ming (Concha Haliotidis) 30 grams, long gu (Os Draconis) 30 grams.

The patient took one bag per day. After taking six bags, all symptoms were greatly reduced. Aversion to wind and coolness in the limbs were eliminated. However, she was still fatigued and lacked strength.

The patient continued to take the above formula. Shi jue ming, long gu, rou cong rong were decreased to 30 grams and added 15 grams of ren shen (Radix Ginseng). The patient kept taking the formula for two months. Her physical body strengthened and all symptoms disappeared.

For the next two years, if the patient's emotions were not good, or it was scorching hot, oppressive weather, she would occasionally get tidal fever and dizziness, but the symptoms were mild. The patient took the above formula with modifications and with several packs, she fully recovered.

Menopausal syndrome is primarily a Liver-Kidney Essence-Blood vacuity pattern. Over time as the disease deepens, detriment to the Yin affects the Yang qi's transforming function making it insufficient. This can cause the two qi of the Yin and Yang to become imbalanced in the low burner as well as Zang Fu Qi and Blood disharmony. So nourishing only the Yin and Essence will not yield good results. Zhang Jing-Yue states: "To supplement the yin well, seek the yang within the yin. Thus, one obtains yin and engenders yang, and the source is not exhausted." Select warm, calm, harmonizing rou cong rong to enrich, supplement the yin-essence. Use of this pharmaceutical makes the yang sufficiently engender yin, balances yin and yang, and harmonizes the qi of the bowels and viscera.

Rou Cong Rong is sweet, salty, and warm. It supplements the Kidney, assists the yang, moistens the intestines, frees the stool, and supports the mutual relationship between yin and yang. All of this yields positive results.

The Ben Cao Hui Yan states: "Rou cong rong nourishes the gate of vitality, enriches the Kidney qi, supplements the essence-blood...This herb evenly supplements, warms but is not hot, supplements but is not harsh, warms but does not dry, smoothes but does not drain, thus it is named "cong rong" which means "calm, unhurried, leisurely."

Inger Johnson
Medical Chinese
Winter 2005

Rou Cong Rong in the Treatment of Menopausal Syndrome
Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, February 2003, Vol. 44, No. 2, pg. 93