Mulberry leaves (Sang Ye) Cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) Apricot seeds (Xing Ren) Fermented soybeans (Dan Dou Chi)

Sang Xing Tang

Chinese: 桑杏汤

Pinyin: Sāng Xìng Tāng

Other names: Mulberry Leaf and Apricot Kernel Decoction

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Dryness

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: PertussisAcute bronchitisChronic bronchitis and one other condition

Main actions: Clears and disperses Dryness

Contraindications: Contraindicated for patients with Yin Deficiency due to the formula's light and... Contraindicated for patients with Yin Deficiency due to the formula's light and disseminating herbs. see more

Source date: 1798 AD

Source book: Systematic Differentiation of Warm Pathogen Diseases

Sang Xing Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Mulberry Leaves (Sang Ye), Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi) and Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1798 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Dryness. Its main action is that it clears and disperses Dryness.

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 Sang Xing Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Dry-Wind or Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as upper respiratory tract infections, acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the seven ingredients in Sang Xing Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Sang Xing Tang helps treat.

The seven ingredients in Sang Xing Tang

Sang Ye is a king ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Mulberry Leaves (Sang Ye)

Part used: Dried leaves

Nature: Cold

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: LiverLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sang Ye light, acrid, cooling, and aromatic. It is effective at resolving Wind Heat from the Exterior and it can also help clearing Lung channel. It achieve these goals without hurting the Yin due to its moistening and sweet feature. Together with the other key herb Apricot seed, they invigorates and moistens the Lung Qi.

Learn more about Mulberry Leaves (Sang Ye)

Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

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

Zhi Zi release Stagnated Heat from the Exterior. Together with Fermented soybeans, they simultaneously prevents the pathogenic influence from penetrating further into the body.

Learn more about Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Xing Ren is a king ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

3. Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: Large intestineLung

Category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

Xing Ren descends Qi and transforms Phlegm so as to stop coughing. It focuses directly on the Interior and the Lung, while the other key herb Mulberry leaves are more on the Exterior. The combination of these two key herbs invigorates and moistens the Lung Qi.

Learn more about Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren)

Dan Dou Chi is a deputy ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Fermented Soybeans (Dan Dou Chi)

Part used: Fermented preparation obtain from the ripe bean

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Dan Dou Chi release Stagnated Heat from the Exterior. Together with Cape jasmine fruit, they simultaneously prevents the pathogenic influence from penetrating further into the body.

Learn more about Fermented Soybeans (Dan Dou Chi)

Chuan Bei Mu is a deputy ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Fritillary Bulbs (Chuan Bei Mu)

Part used: Dried bulb

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLung

Category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Chuan Bei Mu cools and transforms Stagnation to prevent Phlegm. It assists one of the key herb Apricot seed in achieving the above goal.

Learn more about Fritillary Bulbs (Chuan Bei Mu)

Bei Sha Shen is an assistant ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Glehnia Roots (Bei Sha Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Bei Sha Shen nourishes the Yin and clear Heat. Together with the other assistant herb Pear skin, they are cooling and moistening in nature.

Learn more about Glehnia Roots (Bei Sha Shen)

Li Pi is an assistant ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Pear Skins (Li Pi)

Part used: The skin

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

Li Pi nourishes the Yin and clear Heat. Together with the other assistant herb Glehnia root, they are cooling and moistening in nature.

Learn more about Pear Skins (Li Pi)

Conditions and patterns for which Sang Xing Tang 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 Sang Xing Tang 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:

Upper respiratory tract infections Acute bronchitis Chronic bronchitis Pertussis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Sang Xing Tang treats upper respiratory tract infections" for instance. Rather, Sang Xing Tang is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind upper respiratory tract infections.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Sang Xing Tang.

Wind is one of the pathogenic factors in Chinese Medicine. Learn more about Wind in Chinese Medicine

Dry-Wind

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Floating (Fu)

Symptoms: Sweating Dry skin Dry nose Dry mouth Dry cough Dry throat Dry tongue Sore throat Aversion to cold

Sang Xing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Dry-Wind. This pattern leads to symptoms such as aversion to cold, sweating, dry skin and dry nose. Patients with Dry-Wind typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or floating (Fu) pulses.

This pattern is like Wind-Heat but with additional Dryness features. It is because the Heat is so strong that it dries up the Body Fluids. The typical Dryness symptoms are dry skin, nose, mouth, tongue and throat. There will be also dry cough and sore throat. 

As for the symptoms caused by external... read more about Dry-Wind

'Heat' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Heat pattern in Chinese Medicine

Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Floating (Fu)

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Sweating Dry Skin Dry nose Dry cough Dry mouth Dry throat Sore throat Aversion to cold

Sang Xing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, thirst, sweating and sore throat. Patients with Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or floating (Fu) pulses.

Within the Four-Levels theory, Dry-Heat is the first level of invasion of External Pathogens, when it still resides in the body's Exterior.

It is the combination of two pathogens: Heat and Dryness. Both Evils can hurt Body Fluids and as a result injures Yin.  As vicious circle, it makes the... read more about Dry-Heat or Dry-Fire

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