The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as a principal ingredient.
Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood. Its main actions are: 1) nourishes the Blood and augments the Yin and 2) moderates painful spasms.
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 Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as ligament spasm pain, tissue spam pain or skeletal muscle spam pain for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the two ingredients in Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang helps treat.
Bai Shao is a king ingredient in Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried root
Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency
Bai Shao nourishes the Blood and preserves the Yin. It enters the Spleen,
softens the Liver, and alleviates pain. It thereby addresses the
primary aspects of spams condition. The Liver is a hard, 'edgy' organ, and its Qi has a tendency to rebel transversely. This herb is effective in moderating the wayward inclinations of the Liver Qi, especially when it overacts on the Spleen. It also preserves the Liver Yin by 'softening of the
Gan Cao is a deputy ingredient in Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Gan Cao augments the Qi of the Middle Burner, especially that of the Spleen, and moderates urgency. Together, these two herbs regulate the relationship between the Liver and Spleen and nourish the sinews and Blood, which in turn stops the spasms and pain.
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 Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency" which we describe below.
But before we delve into Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:
Ligament spasm pain Tissue spam pain Skeletal muscle spam pain Trigeminal neuralgia Intercostal neuralgia Postherpetic neuralgia Sciatica Diabetic neuropathy Recalcitrant hiccups Restless leg syndrome Bruxism Facial tics Parkinson's disease Essential tremor Atrial fibrillation Night terrors Enuresis Thrombocytopenic purpura Allergic purpura Upper GI bleeding Bronchiectasis Recurrent nosebleeds Infertility in male Infertility in female Hypotestosteronemia Impotence Myasthenia gravis
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang treats ligament spasm pain" for instance. Rather, Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang is used to treat Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency, which is sometimes the root cause behind ligament spasm pain.
Now let's look at Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang.
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)
Symptoms: Cramps Insomnia Dry hair Dry skin Tiredness Lassitude Thin body Dizziness Pale lips Weak Limbs Amenorrhea Depression Loose stools Poor appetite Scanty periods Blurred vision Muscle weakness Floaters in eyes Dull-pale complexion Numbness in the limbs Feeling of aimlessness Diminished night vision Withered and brittle nails Slight abdominal distention after eating
Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency. This pattern leads to symptoms such as poor appetite, slight abdominal distention after eating, tiredness and lassitude. Patients with Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency typically exhibit choppy (Se) or fine (Xi) pulses.
The Spleen is the origin of Blood because Grain Qi (Gu Qi) produced by the Spleen is Blood's key component. As a result if Spleen Qi is Deficient (an indispensable precondition for Spleen Blood Deficiency), not enough Blood is produced which is what leads to the Blood Deficiency.
Quite a few of... read more about Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency
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