Spotlight on Herbs: Siler Root

November 30, 2020

Siler root is used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine to

Saposhnikovia is a delightful mouthful that might get mistaken for a Russian profanity if you say it the right way. (No seriously, try it. It’s fun) Siler is much easier to say and type. The Chinese for this herb is Fang Feng 防风. Many of the names given to Chinese herbs make them seem, well, foreign but these names are often descriptive of function or mnemonics for how these plants grow, where they can be found, or how they should be used.

The name Fang Feng 防风 is more about function. Fang here translates to “Protect from” but the character Fang illustrates a hill or the kind of berm that might be built around an outpost on the frontier. Feng literally means “Wind” so the full name gets translated as “Protect from Wind.” This might make you think about hunkering down in the lee of a hill to get out of a cold wind, but this wind is more of a metaphor for external influences. Those kinds of external influences that are invisible and borne on the wind, even in the second century when this herb was first written about. This name was used to remind us to add this to formulas that we would now think of as being for colds and other contagious upper respiratory infections.

 

Siler Root Essentials

  • Scientific Name
    Saposhnikovia divaricata 

    Common Name (Western)
    Siler Root

    Chinese Name (Pin Yin)
    Fang Feng

    Origin
    Cultivated and wild harvested across most of Northeast Asia, where the climate is harsh and unforgiving.

    ⸬ ⸬ ⸬

  • A member of the Apium family, which also includes carrots and celery, Siler is a perennial herb that grows in easily in places not hospitable to other plants, like roadways and other places frequently disturbed. It was first described in the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica in the second century.

     

    ⸬ ⸬ ⸬

  • Siler is in the category of Wind Cold Releasing herbs. This is a group of herbs that is typically indicated for upper respiratory infections. Other notable herbs in this category include herbs like cinnamon twigs, ephedra and fresh ginger. The first therapeutic action listed in most references for this herb is “dispels wind and releases exterior”. This is a very Chinese Medicine way to say that it is useful in treating colds and other upper respiratory infections.

    ⸬ ⸬ ⸬

  • If using the raw herb, follow the dosage of 3 to 10 grams in decoction and do not exceed 30 grams per day.

    ⸬ ⸬ ⸬

Uses in Herbalogic Support System, Support System VZ and Easy Breather

Siler root is used in Support System, Support System VZ and Easy Breather to help the aspects of the immune system that protect the lungs and upper respiratory system from infection. It is one of three ingredients in the traditional herbal formula, Yu Ping Fang San, that is used to fortify the lungs from external influences. The other two herbs are astragalus root and bai zhu atractylodes, all of which are in these Herbalogic formulas.

Herbalogic Support System Herb Drops with Siler root supports a balanced immune system

For Herbalogic Support System and Support System VZ, siler is straight up protection from pernicious external forces, and we're not just talking about your in-laws here.

Herbalogic Easy Breather with siler root

With Easy Breather, it's slightly more subtle. The boosting of the immune system helps avoid secondary infection that so often accompanies seasonal respiratory challenges. 




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The Herbalogic Blog

Suan Zao Ren, Spiny Date Seeds used for insomnia
Spotlight on Herbs: Spiny Date Seed

September 15, 2021

This unassuming pile of seeds actually packs a big punch when it comes to calm. David explains the origin of spiny date seeds and their use.

Continue Reading

Close up of nutgrass herb including flowers
Spotlight on Herbs: Nutgrass

September 01, 2021

While pulling weeds at landscaping around her church, Jeanine learned the irony of the weed/ traditional Chinese herb called nutgrass.

Continue Reading

Grumpy gray cat wearing a hat surrounded by school supplies
3 Tips for Staying Healthy During Back-to-School Season

August 11, 2021

Wondering if there is anything you can do to stay healthy in the face of back to school season? Yes you can! Jeanine offers tips for how to keep yourself and family healthy.

Continue Reading