Crow-dipper rhizomes (Ban Xia) Fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Chinese: 小半夏汤

Pinyin: Xiǎo Bàn Xià Tāng

Other names: Minor Pinellia Decoction, Little Crow-dipper Decoction,

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Formula category: Formulas for a rebellious Qi

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Travel sicknessMorning sickness

  1. Alleviates and removes thin mucus
  2. Directs rebellious Qi downward
  3. Stops vomiting
  4. Harmonizes the Stomach

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Xiao Ban Xia Tang is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas for a rebellious Qi. Its main actions are: 1) alleviates and removes thin mucus and 2) directs rebellious Qi downward.

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 Xiao Ban Xia Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Phlegm. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as morning sickness or travel sickness for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the two ingredients in Xiao Ban Xia Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Xiao Ban Xia Tang helps treat.

The two ingredients in Xiao Ban Xia Tang

Ban Xia is a king ingredient in Xiao Ban Xia Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Part used: Dried rhizome and tuber

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

Ban Xia is acrid, drying, and downward-directing. It drains water and Dampness by drying and dispersing them. Through its ability to direct the Qi downward, it harmonizes the Stomach and stops nausea, hiccup, and a sensation of fullness in the epigastrium.

Learn more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia)

Sheng Jiang is a deputy ingredient in Xiao Ban Xia Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. 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 Xiao Ban Xia Tang, it is used because it disperses the accumulation of thin mucus in the epigastrium that causes the Qi to rebel upward.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Xiao Ban Xia Tang is used to treat Phlegm

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 Xiao Ban Xia Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Phlegm" which we describe below.

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

Morning sickness Travel sickness

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xiao Ban Xia Tang treats morning sickness" for instance. Rather, Xiao Ban Xia Tang is used to treat Phlegm, which is sometimes the root cause behind morning sickness.

Now let's look at Phlegm, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Xiao Ban Xia Tang.

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine


Xiao Ban Xia Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Phlegm. This pattern leads to symptoms such as feeling of oppression of the chest, muzziness of the head, dizziness and nausea. Patients with Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as swollen tongue with sticky coating .

Phlegm has a great importance in Chinese Medicine as it is both a condition in and of itself as well as a cause for other diseases.

The main cause for the formation of Phlegm is Spleen Deficiency since the Spleen rules the transformation and transportation of Body Fluids. If this function is... read more about Phlegm

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