Mudan peony bark (Mu Dan Pi) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Bupleurum roots (Chai Hu) Dong quai (Dang Gui) White peony roots (Bai Shao) Poria-cocos mushrooms (Fu Ling) Atractylodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Chinese: 丹栀逍遥散

Pinyin: Dān Zhī Xiāo Yáo Sàn

Other names: Moutan-Gardenia Free and Easy Wanderer Powder

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Liver-Heat

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Menopausal syndromeSpontaneous flow of breast milk

Main actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi

Source date: 2002 AD

Source book: Study of formulas (方剂学)

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 2002 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Liver-Heat. Its main action is that it clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.

In Chinese Medicine health conditions are thought to arise due to "disharmonies" in the body as a system. These disharmonies are called "patterns" and the very purpose of herbal formulas is to fight them in order to restore the body's harmony.

In this case Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire or Kidney Yin Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as spontaneous flow of breast milk or menopausal syndrome for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eight ingredients in Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, we review the patterns and conditions that Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San helps treat.

The eight ingredients in Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Mu Dan Pi is a king ingredient in Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Part used: Root barks

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that cool the Blood

In general Mu Dan Pi's main actions are as follows: "Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis."

In the context of Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, it is used because it clears Heat.

Learn more about Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

2. Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

In general Zhi Zi's main actions are as follows: "Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory."

In the context of Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, it is used because it clears Heat.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

3. Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiver

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Chai Hu spreads the Liver Qi, relieves Stagnation and helps guide the other herbs into the Liver. Because of its cooling nature, it is also particularly dealing with Qi Stagnation that has started to generate Heat.

Learn more about Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu)

4. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Dang Gui works together with White peony roots (Bai Shao), the other deputy in this formula, to nourish Blood. This nourishing role also in turn helps strengthen the Liver since it stores Blood and is nourished by it.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

5. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Bai Shao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain."

In the context of Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, it is used because it moves Qi and is specific for menstrual issues, especially from emotional stress.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

6. Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

Part used: Dried sclerotium

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLung

Category: Herbs that drain Dampness

In general Fu Ling's main actions are as follows: "Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit."

In the context of Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, it is used because it moves Qi and is specific for menstrual issues, especially from emotional stress.

Learn more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling)

7. Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Bai Zhu works together with Poria mushrooms (Fu Ling) to strengthen the Spleen, which rules transformation and transportation. It has a direct positive impact on Blood Deficiency.

Learn more about Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu)

8. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao tonifies the Spleen and, when combined with White peony roots, helps reduce the spasms that are often a symptoms for patients that adopt this formula.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Conditions and patterns for which Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San may be prescribed

It's important to remember that herbal formulas are meant to treat patterns, not "diseases" as understood in Western Medicine. According to Chinese Medicine patterns, which are disruptions to the body as a system, are the underlying root cause for diseases and conditions.

As such Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is used by TCM practitioners to treat two different patterns which we describe below.

But before we delve into these patterns here is an overview of the Western conditions they're commonly associated with:

Spontaneous flow of breast milk Menopausal syndrome

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San treats spontaneous flow of breast milk" for instance. Rather, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind spontaneous flow of breast milk.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San.

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire. This pattern leads to symptoms such as feeling of distension, irritability, feeling of heat and menstrual cramps. Patients with Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red points on the sides tongue.

This pattern develops from Liver Qi Stagnation, which creates excessive amount of Heat and then turn into Liver Heat. It manifests with a feeling of heat, a red face and desire to drink.

From a mental emotional perspective, patients tend to be irritable, anxious, moody and prone to outbursts of... read more about Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness and night sweats. Patients with Kidney Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can also lead to an insufficient amount of Marrow to fill the Brain, causing poor memory and dizziness. Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys is... read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency

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