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: Remove impurities and dry
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Expels Cold and relieves pain. Regulates Qi of the Stomach.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Yin Deficiency with Heat signs or by those with Excess Heat.
Source date: 1624 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Warms the Liver and Kidneys. Promotes the movement of Qi. Alleviates pain.
Xiao Hui Xiang is a king ingredient in Nuan Gan Jian. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1228 AD
Number of ingredients: 3 herbs
Formula key actions: Expels water and . Reduces edema. Unblocks the bowels. Moves Qi.
Xiao Hui Xiang is a deputy ingredient in Yu Gong San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Yu Gong San, Xiao Hui Xiang moves Qi and stops pain. Its warmth moderates the Cold nature of the key herb. Meanwhile, its acrid nature aids restoration of the normal Qi dynamic. Hence, it considerably strengthens the power of the formula to drive out Water.
Source date: 1830 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.
In Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, Xiao Hui Xiang warms the Uterus and expels Cold
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Xiao Hui Xiang belongs to the 'Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold' category. Herbs in this category are used for Internal Cold with Qi Deficiency and/or Yang Deficiency. In the Yin and Yang system of thought Yang is Hot in nature. A deficiency of Yang will therefore lead to Internal Coldness since there will as a result be more Yin (Cold in nature) than Yang. In extreme cases this can lead to so-called 'Yang collapse' with convulsions or coma and these herbs are particularly indicated to treat such scenarios.
As suggested by its category Xiao Hui Xiang is Warm in nature. This means that Xiao Hui Xiang tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Xiao Hui Xiang can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Xiao Hui Xiang also tastes Pungent. 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. Pungent ingredients like Xiao Hui Xiang tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Xiao Hui Xiang is thought to target the Kidney, the Liver, the Spleen and the Stomach. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver on the other hand is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. The Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.
Fennel is an effective means to manage the symptoms of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women and is devoid of side effects.1
Fennel tea drinking after laparotomy for gynecological malignancis is safe, well tolerated and associated with faster recovery of bowel motility, shorter hospital stay and fewer complications.2
Fennel can use to relieve dysmenorrheal signs and menstrual duration.3
1. Yaralizadeh M, Abedi P, Najar S, Namjoyan F, Saki A. (2016). Effect of Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) vaginal cream on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Maturitas. , 84:75-80. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.11.005. Epub 2015 Nov 12.
2. Ma HW, Zhao JT, Zhao X. (2015). The Effect of Fennel Tea Drinking on Postoperative Gut Recovery after Gynecological Malignancies Operation. Sichuan Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. , 46(6):940-3.
3. Ghodsi Z, Asltoghiri M. (2014). The effect of fennel on pain quality, symptoms, and menstrual duration in primary dysmenorrhea. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. , 27(5):283-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2013.12.003. Epub 2014 Jul 30.
Xiao Hui Xiang is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Fennel Seed Roasted Cauliflower.