Perilla leaves (Zi Su Ye) Tangerine peel (Chen Pi) Coco-grass rhizomes (Xiang Fu) Ephedra (Ma Huang) Kudzu roots (Ge Gen) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Angelica roots (Bai Zhi) Red peony roots (Chi Shao)

Chinese: 十神汤

Pinyin: Shí Shén Tāng

Other names: Ten-Miracle Decoction

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Wind-Cold

Mother formula: Xing Su San

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: InfluenzaCommon cold

  1. Releases pathogens from the Exterior
  2. Regulates Qi
  3. Descends the Lung Qi
  4. Relieves coughing

Source date: 1107 AD

Source book: Formulary of the Pharmacy Service for Benefiting the People in the Taiping Era

Shi Shen Tang is a 11-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Perilla Leaves (Zi Su Ye) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Wind-Cold. Its main actions are: 1) releases pathogens from the Exterior and 2) regulates 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.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as common cold or influenza for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the eleven ingredients in Shi Shen Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Shi Shen Tang helps treat.

The eleven ingredients in Shi Shen Tang

Zi Su Ye is a king ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Perilla Leaves (Zi Su Ye)

Part used: Dried leaf (or bearing young branches)

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Zi Su Ye acrid and warm. It opens Stagnant Lung Qi and spreads Qi in the Exterior. It also warms and disperses the Cold Evil in the Exterior, so as to free the Lung Qi, the Body Fluids and Defensive Qi. Thus it relieves
the symptoms of Exterior patterns such as chills and fever and the lack of sweating. In addition, activates the Spleen and transforms Dampness, thus it 
assists to remove focal distention and stifling chest oppression.

Learn more about Perilla Leaves (Zi Su Ye)

Chen Pi is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Part used: Dried pericarp of the ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleen

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Chen Pi's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs."

In the context of Shi Shen Tang, it is used because it assists the key herb in circulating Qi and transforming Dampness..

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Xiang Fu is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterPungentSweet

Meridian affinity: LiverSanjiaoSpleen

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Xiang Fu's main actions are as follows: "Unblocks Stagnant Liver Qi and relieves pain. Regulates the Liver and Spleen. Assists the regulation of menses and relieves pain."

In the context of Shi Shen Tang, it is used because it regulates the Qi and smooths the Liver, helping it to reach its harmony.

Learn more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu)

Ma Huang is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Ephedra (Ma Huang)

Part used: Dried herbaceous stems

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Ma Huang's main actions are as follows: "Releases the surface through sweating. Promotes the circulation of Lung Qi and stop wheezing. Promotes urination."

In the context of Shi Shen Tang, it is used because it work with Perilla leaves to release Evils from the Exterior.

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Ge Gen is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. Kudzu Roots (Ge Gen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Ge Gen's main actions are as follows: "Relieves muscle tension especially in the neck and shoulders. Relieves the Exterior and scatters Wind. Supports the Fluids and eases thirst. Assists in the expression of measles. Relieves diarrhea. Relieves hypertension."

In the context of Shi Shen Tang, it is used because it work with Perilla leaves to release Evils from the Exterior.

Learn more about Kudzu Roots (Ge Gen)

Chuan Xiong is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

6. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Chuan Xiong's main actions are as follows: "Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches."

In the context of Shi Shen Tang, it is used because it circulates Qi within the Blood.

Learn more about Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Bai Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

7. Angelica Roots (Bai Zhi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Bai Zhi work together with the ascending herbs, Kudzu root and Bugbane rhizome, to treat Wind-Cold headache and nasal congestion.

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Chi Shao is a deputy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

8. Red Peony Roots (Chi Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: Liver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Chi Shao adjusts and links Yin and Yang, allowing the Interior Stagnant Heat 
to move to the Exterior and get released. It also invigorates Blood together with Szechuan lovage root.

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Sheng Ma is an assistant ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Bugbane Rhizomes (Sheng Ma)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: Large intestineLungSpleenStomach

Category: Cool/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Ma works with Kudzu root, to ascend and disperse Qi. Together, they release Evils from the muscle layer.

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Sheng Jiang is an envoy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

10. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Sheng Jiang's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning."

In the context of Shi Shen Tang, it is used because it acrid and warm. It helps Ephedra and Perilla leaves in clearing
Wind-Cold Evils from the Exterior.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Shi Shen Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

11. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Gan Cao tonifies and harmonizes the Middle Burner.  It also harmonizes all the ingredients. It helps these ingredients in reaching their three purposes:

  • releases Wind-Cold from the Exterior;
  • Regulates the Qi in the Triple Burners and
  • relieves specific symptoms such as headache or nasal congestion.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

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