Vietnamese balm (Xiang Ru) Hyacinth beans (Bai Bian Dou) Houpu Magnolia bark (Hou Pu)

Chinese: 香薷散

Pinyin: Xiāng Rú Sàn

Other names: Mosla Powder

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that dispel Summer-Heat and resolve Exterior

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Encephalitis BEnteric choleraAcute tonsilitis and two other conditions

  1. Releases the Exterior
  2. Scatters Cold
  3. Transforms Dampness
  4. Harmonizes the Middle Burner

Contraindications: The use of this formula in those with summerheat, other than Yin summerheat,... The use of this formula in those with summerheat, other than Yin summerheat, will severely injure the Body Fluids and Qi, increase Heat in the body, and significantly aggravate the condition. see more

Source date: 1107 AD

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

Xiang Ru San is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Vietnamese Balm (Xiang Ru) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dispel Summer-Heat and resolve Exterior. Its main actions are: 1) releases the Exterior and 2) scatters Cold.

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 Xiang Ru San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Summer Heat with Dampness. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as acute gastroenteritis, bacillary dysentery or encephalitis b for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the three ingredients in Xiang Ru San, we review the patterns and conditions that Xiang Ru San helps treat.

The three ingredients in Xiang Ru San

Xiang Ru is a king ingredient in Xiang Ru San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Vietnamese Balm (Xiang Ru)

Part used: Dried aerial parts

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungStomach

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Xiang Ru is warm, acrid, and aromatic. It releases the Exterior, harmonizes the ascending and descending functions of the Spleen, and disperses stagnant Body Fluids by dispelling Cold and Dampness from the Middle Burner.

Learn more about Vietnamese Balm (Xiang Ru)

Bai Bian Dou is a deputy ingredient in Xiang Ru San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Hyacinth Beans (Bai Bian Dou)

Part used: Dried ripe seeds

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Bai Bian Dou assists the key herb by improving the effects of summertime Dampness on the Spleen. It also strengthens the Spleen, primarily by descending the turbid fluids and products of food transformation, as well as ascending the clear fluids.

Learn more about Hyacinth Beans (Bai Bian Dou)

Hou Pu is an assistant ingredient in Xiang Ru San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu)

Part used: Dried stem bark, root bark or branch bark

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

In general Hou Pu's main actions are as follows: "Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung."

In the context of Xiang Ru San, it is used because it expels Dampness and disperses fullness.

Learn more about Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu)

Xiang Ru San is used to treat Summer Heat with Dampness

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 Xiang Ru San is mostly used to treat the pattern "Summer Heat with Dampness" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Summer Heat with Dampness here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:

Acute gastroenteritis Bacillary dysentery Encephalitis B Enteric cholera Acute tonsilitis

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xiang Ru San treats acute gastroenteritis" for instance. Rather, Xiang Ru San is used to treat Summer Heat with Dampness, which is sometimes the root cause behind acute gastroenteritis.

Now let's look at Summer Heat with Dampness, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Xiang Ru San.

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

Summer Heat with Dampness

Xiang Ru San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Summer Heat with Dampness. This pattern leads to symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, sweating and headaches. Patients with Summer Heat with Dampness typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or soggy (Ru) pulses.

This pattern often happens during hot summer and in very humid environment. Therefore, the condition is mostly acute. 

The combination of Summer Heat and Dampness can att

read more about Summer Heat with Dampness

Formulas similar to Xiang Ru San

Xin Jia Xiang Ru Yin is 50% similar to Xiang Ru San

Xiao Cheng Qi Tang is 33% similar to Xiang Ru San

Da Cheng Qi Tang is 25% similar to Xiang Ru San

Ping Wei San is 25% similar to Xiang Ru San

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang is 20% similar to Xiang Ru San

Wen Qi Hua Shi Tang is 14% similar to Xiang Ru San