In Chinese medicine, people who contract airborne allergies, ipso facto, suffer from a defensive qi vacuity. Since the defensive qi issues from the middle burner, this defensive qi vacuity is mostly due to a chronically vacuous and weak spleen failing to engender the lungs and defensive qi. Because of the close reciprocal relationship between the spleen and kidneys, there may also be a kidney qi vacuity. In either case, external wind evils may take advantage of this vacuity to enter the body where they obstruct the lungs’ diffusion and downbearing. Because the patient’s spleen is habitually vacuous, there is a tendency to phlegm dampness. This phlegm may be hidden or deep-lying, meaning that, during ordinary times, it is not apparent. However, whenever the lungs’ diffusion and downbearing of fluids is inhibited, this phlegm backs up and spills over, thus becoming apparent as mucus.
Therefore, this formula is based on the saying, “The spleen is the root of phlegm engenderment; the lungs are the place where phlegm is stored.” Within it, Codonopsis, Astragalus, Coix, and Disocorea supplement the lungs, spleen, and kidneys, the three viscera which govern water metabolism in the body. Terminalia and Schisandra secure the lungs and specifically stop runny nose. Ledebouriella and Schizonepeta relatively gently dispel wind evils from the exterior while not damaging the defensive qi. Flos Magnoliae and Mentha open the orifices and free the flow of the nose, thus relieving nasal congestion. Periostracum Cicadae dispels wind and stops itching. Platycodon guides the other medicinals to the lungs and also transforms phlegm. Dry Ginger warms the lungs and transforms phlegm. The combination of Coix and Alisma seeps dampness via urination and, therefore, helps Atractylodes eliminate dampness. Licorice harmonizes all the other medicinals in the formula at the same time as helping fortify the spleen and supplement the qi.