Xuan Ming Fen (Exsiccated Sodium Sulfate) in Chinese Medicine

English: Exsiccated Sodium Sulfate

Chinese: 玄明粉

Parts used: The mineral powder

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): BitterSalty

Organ affinity: Stomach Large intestine

Scientific name: Sodium sulfate

Other names: Po Xiao, Pu Xiao, Processed Mirabilites

Use of Xuan Ming Fen (exsiccated sodium sulfate) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Wrap unprocessed Mirabilites in paper and leave in dry and shady environment so that the water in mineral evaporates and becomes powder.

Dosage: 3 - 12g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clear Heat and unblock the stools. Reduce swelling.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Xuan Ming Fen may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Constipation Swellings Lumps Appendicitis

Common TCM formulas in which Xuan Ming Fen is used*

Bing Peng San

Source date: 1617 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Toxic-Heat. Dispels putrescence. Reduces swellings and relieves pain.

Conditions targeted*: ThrushGingivitis and others

Xuan Ming Fen is a deputy ingredient in Bing Peng San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Bing Peng San, Xuan Ming Fen softens hardness and drains Fire

Read more about Bing Peng San

Key TCM concepts behind Xuan Ming Fen's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Xuan Ming Fen belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity treat the latter while, at the same time, removing infectious toxins from the body. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Xuan Ming Fen is Cold in nature. This means that Xuan Ming Fen typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Xuan Ming Fen can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Xuan Ming Fen also tastes Bitter and Salty. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like Xuan Ming Fen tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Salty ingredients tend to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove Phlegm and soften hard lumps.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Xuan Ming Fen is thought to target the Stomach and the Large intestine. In TCM the Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces.