White peony roots (Bai Shao) Dong quai (Dang Gui) Myrrh (Mo Yao) Cattail pollen (Pu Huang)

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Chinese: 小调经汤

Pinyin: Xiǎo Tiáo Jīng Tāng

Other names: Minor Regulating the Menses Decoction

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that regulate Blood

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Postpartum depression

  1. Remove Blood Stagnation
  2. Nourishes Blood
  3. Calms the Mind

Source date: 1742 AD

Source book: Golden Mirror of Medicine

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) and Dong Quai (Dang Gui) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1742 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that regulate Blood. Its main actions are: 1) remove Blood Stagnation and 2) nourishes Blood.

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 Tiao Jing Tang is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Heart Blood Stagnation. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as postpartum depression for instance.

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

The seven ingredients in Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Bai Shao is a king ingredient in Xiao Tiao Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Bai Shao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Dang Gui is a king ingredient in Xiao Tiao Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

In general Dang Gui's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it nourishes Blood.

Learn more about Dong Quai (Dang Gui)

3. Myrrh (Mo Yao)

Part used: Dried resin of the tree

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

In general Mo Yao's main actions are as follows: "Moves Blood and relieves Stagnation and pain caused by Blood Stagnation. Assists in wound healing."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood and eliminate Blood Stagnation.

Learn more about Myrrh (Mo Yao)

4. Cattail Pollen (Pu Huang)

Part used: Dried pollen

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that stop bleeding

In general Pu Huang's main actions are as follows: "Stops bleeding by Cooling pathogenic Heat. Moves Blood and relieves Blood Stagnation."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it invigorates Blood and eliminate Blood Stagnation. It also calms the Mind.

Learn more about Cattail Pollen (Pu Huang)

5. Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui)

Part used: Dried stem bark

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenHeartKidneyLiver

Category: Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold

In general Rou Gui's main actions are as follows: "Warms the Spleen and Kidneys and tonifies the Yang. Expels Cold, Warms the meridians, promotes circulation of Qi and Blood and relieves pain. Used with tonics to assist in the generation of Qi and Blood."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it creates Qi and Blood.

Learn more about Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui)

6. Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

In general Xi Xin's main actions are as follows: "Relieves the Exterior and warms the Yang. Expels Cold and relieves pain. Warms the Lungs and reduces Phlegm. Moves the Qi and disperses Phlegm to open the nasal passages."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it opens the Mind's orifices thanks to its pungent nature.

Learn more about Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

7. Sweetflag Rhizomes (Shi Chang Pu)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLiver

Category: Herbs that open the Orifices

In general Shi Chang Pu's main actions are as follows: "Opens the Orifices, awakens the Mind (Shen) and expels Wind-Damp Phlegm. Harmonizes the Earth element and dispels Damp. Applied internally or externally for Wind-Cold-Damp painful obstruction."

In the context of Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, it is used because it opens the Mind's orifices.

Learn more about Sweetflag Rhizomes (Shi Chang Pu)

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang is used to treat Heart Blood Stagnation

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 Tiao Jing Tang is mostly used to treat the pattern "Heart Blood Stagnation" which we describe below.

But before we delve into Heart Blood Stagnation it is worth mentioning that it is often associated with the condition "postpartum depression". Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xiao Tiao Jing Tang treats postpartum depression". Rather, Xiao Tiao Jing Tang is used to treat Heart Blood Stagnation, which is sometimes the root cause behind postpartum depression.

Now let's look at Heart Blood Stagnation, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Xiao Tiao Jing Tang.

The Heart is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Heart in Chinese Medicine

Heart Blood Stagnation

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Heart Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, chest pressure and purple lips. Patients with Heart Blood Stagnation typically exhibit knotted (Jie) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

This is a severe pattern that mostly derives from other Heart patterns, normally Heart Yang or Blood Deficiency, or Heart Qi Stagnation. Other than these, Heart Fire or Heart Qi Deficiency can also be the precursors. 

Prolonged emotional stress such as grief, worry, or anxiety are ultimately the... read more about Heart Blood Stagnation

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