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.
Invented in 1108 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) invigorates Blood and 2) dispels Blood Stagnation.
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 Shi Xiao San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Stagnation or Liver Blood Stagnation. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as abnormal uterine bleeding, heavy menstruation or irregular menstruation for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the two ingredients in Shi Xiao San, we review the patterns and conditions that Shi Xiao San helps treat.
Pu Huang is a king ingredient in Shi Xiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried pollen
Category: Herbs that stop bleeding
Wu Ling Zhi is a king ingredient in Shi Xiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried faeces
Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood
In general Wu Ling Zhi's main actions are as follows: "Disperses congealed Blood in the lower abdomen and uterus and relieves pain. Promotes childhood nutrition with Cold Stagnation and focal abdominal swelling."
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 Shi Xiao 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:
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Shi Xiao San treats abnormal uterine bleeding" for instance. Rather, Shi Xiao San is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind abnormal uterine bleeding.
Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Shi Xiao San.
Blood (Xue) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Blood in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian), Firm (Lao)
Tongue color: Reddish-Purple
Symptoms: Lumps Dark face Purple lips Purple nails Restlessness Stabbing pain Painful period Scanty periods Abdominal pain Abdominal masses Hesitant periods Premenstrual pain Dark colored blood Frequent bleeding episodes Dark clots in menstrual blood Abdominal distention and fullness
Shi Xiao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as stabbing pain, abdominal masses, purple nails and painful period. Patients with Blood Stagnation typically exhibit choppy (Se), wiry (Xian) or firm (Lao) pulses as well as a reddish-purple tongue.
Blood Stagnation - also often referred to as "Blood Stasis" - is where the Blood flow is heavily restricted in all or parts of the body. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the... read more about Blood Stagnation
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)
Tongue color: Bluish-Purple sides
Symptoms: Dry skin Epistaxis Dark face Infertility Purple lips Purple face Purple nails Painful period Abdominal pain Abdomen masses Purple petechiae Vomiting of blood Dark colored blood Hypochondrial pain Irregular menstruation Dark clots in menstrual blood
Shi Xiao San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Liver Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dark clots in menstrual blood, dark colored blood, irregular menstruation and painful period. Patients with Liver Blood Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple sides tongue.
Liver Blood Stagnation usually develops from other patterns, Liver Qi Stagnation, Cold and Heat being the most common ones. Sometimes Qi Deficiency, Blood Deficiency and Phlegm can also be the precursors.
Liver Qi Stagnation is the most common cause. If left unchecked for a while without being... read more about Liver Blood Stagnation