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Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 141-143

The cream formula on winter solstice

Research Institute of Science, Technology and Humanities, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China

Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2019

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Zhang Ruqing
Research Institute of Science, Technology and Humanities, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CMAC.CMAC_40_18

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This study introduces the application of cream formula in Traditional Chinese medicine. When the phase of Yin extremity comes, yang qi starts to generate itself. Winter solstice is the optimum period for the application of cream formula. Formula refers to the thick liquid further simmered from medical decoction to benefit and nourish the human body and rectify imbalance to cure diseases, which can achieve excellent effect on not only health preservation, body strengthening, and sub-optimal conditioning but also recuperative care of chronic diseases.

Keywords: Cream formula, rectifying imbalance to cure disease, tonification and supplementation

How to cite this article:
Ruqing Z. The cream formula on winter solstice. Chin Med Cult 2018;1:141-3

How to cite this URL:
Ruqing Z. The cream formula on winter solstice. Chin Med Cult [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 May 22];1:141-3. Available from: http://www.cmaconweb.org/text.asp?2018/1/3/141/249585

“Tonifying the body” in winter can help one fight against the tiger in spring, “Tonifying the body” in Sanjiu (三九) period would spare one from pain, the catchy phrases in the neighboring cities of the Yangtze river have been very popular even for now. It has become a hit to take the formula to preserve one's health in winter and has gained popularity among the people in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai and has expanded to its neighboring cities and even across the country [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Production process of cream formula

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What is the time span of winter in terms of tonifying the body? Does it mean the beginning of winter or winter solstice, or just general winter? I believe the definition of winter varies in its broad and narrow sense. In its broad sense, winter refers to the season of winter, from October to December on the lunar calendar. In the narrow sense, winter refers to the period from solstice to the beginning of spring.

As is known to all that when the sun directly hits the Tropic of Capricorn, the sunshine inclines to the most to the Northern Hemisphere. This is when the day time of the Northern Hemisphere becomes the shortest and the night time longest. The sunshine moves slowly toward the Tropic of Cancer with the daytime lingering and night shortening. When it comes to winter solstice, the yin qi (阴气) of the nature has reached a climax and the yang qi (阳气) has reached its weakest point. When the day is the shortest, everything will be in its storage. When things happen oppositely, with extremely cold weather and dim of sunlight, new life breeds. Shao Yong (邵雍) in the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127 A. D.)[1] once said that winter solstice is like the midnight with everything in a tranquil state. Once the tranquility is disturbed, it is the time for everything to get started [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Chinese materia medica

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The role of cream formula for body strengthening is obvious to all, and the method of supplementation belongs to one of the eight treatment methods of Traditional Chinese medicine. Thus, the cream formulas mainly for nourishing and supplementing can be used to treat diseases.[2] From the beginning of winter solstice to the spring of the following year, most of the places in China enter the period of the coldest of the year. With a dim of sunshine covered in the cold weather, it presents itself with Vivid Vitality. The beginning of spring marks the ending of winter and the beginning of spring. The 45 days starting from winter solstice to the beginning of spring is the season for yang qi to grow and develop. It marks that the coldest winter has passed, and the breath of spring has come quietly. It is the time to store the essence, cultivate yang qi, and strengthen the storage to improve the function of the well-being. It is also the best time to tonify the body [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Production process of cream formula

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Tonifying the body includes dietetic tonification and medicinal tonification. As an old saying goes that the medicinal drug is not as good as dietetic tonification in terms of the efficacy, which has played down the functions of the cream formula. Actually, people holding the view may have not experienced some major diseases as they believe medicinal drugs would bring up side effects, whereas it is always safer and more effective to turn to dietetic tonification. However, for patients suffering from chronic diseases or those with sub-healthy conditions, it is not enough for them to experience the efficacy only by relying on dietetic tonification. It is suggested to make full use of the winter timing to use cream formula to tonify the body, which can achieve satisfactory results.

The formula is usually made up of multilipid nourishing tonic herbs such as rehmannia (Di huang 地黄 Radix Rehmanniae), ophiopogon tuber (Maidong 麦冬 Radix Ophiopogonis), cornus (Yu Rou 萸肉 Fructus Corni), Polygonati (Huangjing 黄精 Rhizoma Polygonati), Chinese wolfberry (Gou Qi 枸杞 Fructus Lycii), mulberry root-bark (Sangshen桑椹 Fructus Mori), and privet fruit (Nvzhen 女贞 Fructus Ligustri Lucidi), in combination with herbs such as ginseng (Ren shen人参 Radix et Rhizoma ginseng), astragalus root (Huang Qi 黄芪 Radix Astragali), Chinese angelica (Dang Gui 当归 Radix Angelicae Sinensis), common yam rhizome (Shanyao 山药 Rhizoma Dioscoreae), (Shashen 沙参 Radix Adenophorae seu Glehniae), dendrobium (Shihu 石斛 Caulis Dendrobii), (Xianlinpi 仙灵脾 Herba Epimedii), psoralea fruit (Buguzhi 补骨脂 Fructus Psoraleae), and desert cistanche (Roucongrong 肉苁蓉 Herba Cistanches) to tonify yang and nourish yin. It is to soak the herbs into the water for 24 h, decoct the soaked herbs three times and extract the medicinal juice and decoct it until condensed. Add the gelatin-like medicinal drugs such as donkey-hide gelatin (E'jiao 阿胶 Colla Corii Adini), glue of tortoise plastron (Guibanjiao 龟板胶 Colla Testudinis Plastri), deer antler glue (Lujiaojiao 鹿角胶 Colla Cornus Cervi), turtle carapace glue (Bio Jiajiao 鳖甲胶 Colla Carapacis Trionycis), and ox hide gelatin (Huangmingjiao 黄明胶), as well as taste supplement of sugar. In the long-term of immersing and repetitive cooking of the medicinal drugs, the essence of various drugs gradually dissolves completely, and condenses into the essence of all the medicinal drugs, which is the thick paste.

The nutrient fluids from food crops, which can harmonize with each other and transform into paste, will infiltrate into the articular cavities to supplement and replenish the brain essence.[3] The modern Chinese medicine physician Qin Bowei (秦伯未) once said that the cream formula that condensed from the medicinal drugs would nourish the zang-fu (脏腑) organs and thus named as nourishing medicine[4] [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Production process of cream formula

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Cream formula can moisturize and nourish the body and tonify the zang-fu organs and the four limbs of the body at the best timing of winter. It is not a simple tonic, as it tonifies the deficiency and treats diseases as well. As time develops, cream formula is increasingly used in chronic diseases such as chronic bronchitis of the respiratory system, asthma, chronic gastritis of the digestive system, gastric ulcer, chronic enteritis and menopausal syndrome, insomnia, and postoperative treatment of cancer. The application of the cream formula has achieved great results. However, the formula should be applied in accordance with the principle of pattern differentiation. The specific therapies vary in the level from being gentle-to-strong. Likewise, individual's disease conditions should also be considered to select different therapies, which include generating saliva, tonifying qi, holding essence, and nourishing blood. Medicinal drugs should also be added if one suffers from chronic diseases.

In summary, cream formula is mainly used to supplement deficiency and preserve one's health. It is used to prevent diseases and to nourish those with subhealthy conditions and for the elderly. Furthermore, it can treat chronic diseases with deficiency syndrome by the individually designed formula. It is the best time to take the cream formula from winter solstice to spring.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Shao Y, Guo Y. Punctuation Collating in the Year of Tian Bao. Complete Works of Shao Yong-4-Volume Two of Yichuan Jihuai Collection. Shanghai: Shanghai Publisher of Ancient Books; 2015. p. 380.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zhang RQ. Research on the Origin of Cream Formulas. Chin Med Cult 2011;6:21-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Huang Di (Yellow Emperor). Miraculous Pivot. Beijing: People's Medical Publisher; 2012. p. 73.  Back to cited text no. 3
Qin BW. Punctuation Collating by Zhang Yuping and Bao Jianxin. Fuzhou: Fuzhou Science and Technology Press; 2007. p. 4.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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