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Aging is a sign of degeneration in an organism's structure, metabolism, and physiological function. It is a physiological phenomenon of the human body that occurs naturally as it enters the middle age. Clinically, aging is often associated with symptoms such as slow thinking, dried skin, slowed movements, decreased memory capacity, forgetfulness, and unstable moods, etc. In traditional Chinese medicine, aging is considered a deficiency syndrome, and more specifically, a kidney deficiency syndrome.


Aging is affected by many factors. Hereditary factors, diet, workplace-related stress, and the surrounding environment all play a role in the aging process. These adverse factors can cause disturbance to the functions of visceral organs, lead to qi and blood irregularities, and upset the balance between yin and yang. Long-term exposure to these factors can weaken the kidney-qi, which in turn leads to upset balances. Meanwhile, traditional Chinese medicine considers the kidney as where life springs from, and as one grows older, the kidney-qi becomes gradually impaired, and the functions of visceral organs begin to decline. Hence, the organism's aging process. (1)

Primary Treatments with Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Ingredients: Shu Di Huang (Processed Rehmannia), Shan Zhu Yu (Cornus), Shan Yao (Dioscorea), Ze Xie (Alisma), Fu Ling (Hoelen), Mu Dan Pi (Moutan)

Clinical Application:
Diabetes: A study treated 53 cases of diabetes with a variation of this formula (one dose daily; treated for 20 days), and reported that the treatment was significantly effective in 46 cases, effective in 5 cases, and with no response in 2 cases. (2) Another study treated 65 cases of noninsulin-dependent diabetes with a variation of this formula. Of the 65 cases, 16 had a blood sugar content of 7.7-8.33mmol/L, 34 of 8.34-13.88mmol/L, and 15 greater than 13.88mmol/L. The patients were treated with one dose daily (water decoction taken orally five times a day), and the results were as follows: the treatment was significantly effective in 30 cases, effective in 28 cases, and with no response in 7 cases. (3)

Nephritis: A study reported of resolving 16 cases of nephritis with this a treatment based on this formula (with two additional ingredients, Ye Mu Cao and Ban Bian Lian, added to the formula). Of the 16 cases, 10 were of chronic and 4 of acute nephritis, with the remaining 2 of latent nephritis. (4)

Kidney and ureter stone: Of 32 cases of urinary system stones treated with a variation of this formula (one dose daily in water decoction), one study reported, 30 cases passed the stone(s), with only 2 cases with no response. (5)

Hyperthyroidism: A study treated 31 cases of hyperthyroidism with a variation of this formula. Of the 31 cases, 28 manifested a diffue goiter, 15 cases a vascular murmur, 13 an exorbitism, 29 a significant weight loss, 28 an abnormal heart rate (higher than normal), and all cases had a higher-than-normal iodine uptake rate. After a treatment of between 15 and 20 doses, most cases experienced a significant improvement in the symptoms, with the iodine uptake rate significantly lowered and returned to normal, and the vascular murmur significantly decreased or disappeared. (6)

Tumor and cancer: One study reported of treating 102 cases of various malignant tumors with this formula. Since day one of their concurrent chemotherapy, all cases started taking the formula orally, three times daily, each time 10ml. A treatment for 20 consecutive days was found to have enhanced the effect of, and lessened the side effects of, the concurrent chemotherapy. (7) Another study reported of using a variation of this formula to treat 48 cases of thyroid adenocarcinoma with satisfactory results. Arrived at by adding with Mu Li, Xia Ku Cao, and Bei Mu (Zhe) to the basic formula, the variation was administered to patients in a water decoction one dose daily (taken twice as first and second decoctions) for one to two months. The results are as follows: 26 cases significantly improved, 21 cases improved, and one case with no response, tallying an overall effective rate of 98%. (8)

Other Treatments with Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Tong Bu I

Zhou, et al. randomly divided up a group of 56 aged patients to study the effects of aging with a formula called Tong Bu I (the ingredients of the formula include Ren Shen Ye, Rou Cong Rong, He Shou Wu, Zhi Shi, processed Da Huang, etc.). The results showed that the formula can improve various aging symptoms, regulate the immune and the endocrine systems, cleanse free radicals, and regulate E. coli. Compared with Tong Bu II (Ren Sheng Ye, Rou Cong Rong, He Shou Wu, etc.), the difference in effectiveness was significant (P

Ling Zhi of Fu Zhe

Chen, et al. studied the anti-aging effect of Ling Zhi of Fu Zhe. They randomly divided a group of aged outpatients into a treatment group (Ling Zhi of Fu Zhe group) and a comparison group (regular Ling Zhi group). The results showed that both treatments were effective in treating the clinical symptoms of aging, e.g., they both increased the percentages of T-lymphocyte subgroups CD3, CD4, increased the activity of NK cells, and raised the SOD level. Overall, though, the treatment group had results superior to those of the comparison group. (9)

Huang Qi

Zhao, et al. studied Huang Qi injection's effect on the serum SOD readings of aged patients. The results showed that the treatment significantly raised the patients' SOD levels. (10)

Yu Ping Feng San

Zhang studied the effect of a modification of Yu Ping Feng San on aged patients' immunity, and found that a two-month treatment could significantly improve the patient's cold symptoms and weariness, and increase their lymphocyte transformation rate. (11)

Cong Nao Tang

Yang, et al. treated 44 Alzheimer's disease patients with Cong Nao Tang (modifications made to suit individual patients). The formula consisted of Huang Jin, Bai He, Gui Ban, Han Lian Cao, Wu Wei Zi, Lian Zi, He Shou Wu, Shi Chang Pu, Ci Shi, and Sheng Qu. The results indicated that the treatment was significantly effective in improving the readings of these indicators: HDS, TC, TG, T (male), and E2 (female) (P

Hong Jin Tian Jiao Nang

Hu, et al. used Hong Jin Tian Jiao Nang to treat 160 cases of old-age deficiency syndromes (of both qi and blood deficiencies, or both spleen and kidney deficiencies). Results: the treatment was significantly effective in 54% of the cases, and effective in 87% of the cases. Compared with the control group, both numbers were significantly different (P

Bu Shen Yan Shou Jiao Nang

Wang, et al. studied the effect of Bu Shen Yan Shou Jiao Nang on aging symptoms. They selected 40 patients aged 60 or older who were suffering from kidney and qi deficiencies. Half the patients were treated with the formula, and the other half served as a control group. The results showed that the treatment significantly decreased the aging symptoms (P

Wei Er Ye

Wu, et al. used Wei Er Ye (made from Xi Yang Shen, Dong Chong Xia Cao, Huang Qi, etc.) to treat 50 cases of old-age deficiency syndromes. Results: 48 cases significantly improved, 29 cases improved, and 3 cases with no response. The total effective rate was 96.25%. The treatment effected significant differences in both SOD (increased, P

Liu Wei Di Huang Tang

Bai, et al. used Liu Wei Di Huang Tang to treat 32 cases of liver and kidney-yin deficiencies. The herbal formula consisted of Shou Di, Shan Yu Rou, Shan Yao, Fu Ling, Ze Xie, and Mu Dan Pi. One unit of treatment called for administering one dose of the formula daily for 10 days. The results: 15 cases significantly improved, 15 cases improved, and 2 cases with no response. The effective rate was 93.8%. (12)

Other Treatments

Qiu, et al. studied Shou Wu Jian Shen Cha's effect on regulating lipid metabolism and counteracting aging. The tea formula was made from tea leaves, He Shou Wu, Ju Hua, Sang Shen, etc., and administered twice daily for four weeks. They reported that the treatment notably improved the patients' aging symptoms like weariness and weakness, and that it significantly increased the HDL-C and SOD levels, and significantly decreased APOB100 and the APOB100/APOA-I ratio. (13)

Acupunture & Acupressure

Treatment with Acupuncture
Wei, et al. studied the effect of acupuncture on regulating sexual hormones. Shenshu (B23) and Taixi (K3) were selected as the main acupoints for treatment, while other points were included when appropriate in accordance with TCM's differentiation theory. In manipulating the needles, the lifting-thrusting-twirling method was used. One unit of treatment consisted of 20 daily sessions. Results: the treatment was effective in increasing the testosterone level in the male patients, and the estrogen-2 level in females patients, with the effect being more pronounced on patients of kidney-yang deficiency (as compared to on patients of kidney-yin deficiency). (14)

Treatment with Moxibustion
Xiong, et al. studied the effect of moxibustion on red blood cell immune adherence activity in patients with kidney deficiency. They used the moxa-cone method at the following points: Feishu (B13), Pishu (B20), Shenshu (B23), Zusanli (S36), Dazhui (D14), Guangyuan (Ren4). One unit of treatment called for five moxa-cones on each point every other day for a total of 15 cones. The results showed that the treatment made a significant difference (P


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