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 1119 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from the Organs. Its main action is that it clears Stagnant Fire from the Spleen and Stomach.
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 Xie Huang San is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Stomach Heat or Fire. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as apthous ulcers or oral thrush for instance.
On this page, after a detailed description of each of the five ingredients in Xie Huang San, we review the patterns and conditions that Xie Huang San helps treat.
Shi Gao is a king ingredient in Xie Huang San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: The mineral itself
Shi Gao is acrid and cooling. It is one of the principal herbs for clearing Heat from the Middle Burner. Although it is the key ingredients, the dosage is relatively small. This is to prevent its cooling and descending actions from further constraining or bottling-up the Stagnant Fire.
Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Xie Huang San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Part used: Dried ripe fruit
Zhi Zi drains Heat from all Triple Burners through the urine and enters the Heart to relieve irritability. Although it is the key ingredients, the dosage is relatively small. This is to prevent its cooling and descending actions from further constraining or bottling-up the Stagnant Fire.
Fang Feng is a deputy ingredient in Xie Huang San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried root
Fang Feng disperses the Stagnant Spleen Fire in accordance with the principle of treating Stagnant Fire by dispersing. If the condition is treated simply as a case of Stomach fire to be cleared and drained, and the dispersing action of this herb is omitted, there will be no improvement. Saposhnikovia root also supports the physiological ascending function of the Spleen Yang. The combination of Saposhnikovia root and the two key herbs drains Fire without injuring the Spleen and Stomach Yang, and disperse constraint without fanning pathological Fire.
Huo Xiang is a deputy ingredient in Xie Huang San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Part used: Dried aerial parts
Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness
Gan Cao is an envoy ingredient in Xie Huang San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.
Part used: Dried root and rhizome
Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
Gan Cao regulate the Middle Burner, drain Fire, and harmonize the actions of the other ingredients in the formula.
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 Xie Huang San is mostly used to treat the pattern "Stomach Heat or Fire" which we describe below.
But before we delve into Stomach Heat or Fire here is an overview of the Western conditions it is commonly associated with:
Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Xie Huang San treats apthous ulcers" for instance. Rather, Xie Huang San is used to treat Stomach Heat or Fire, which is sometimes the root cause behind apthous ulcers.
Now let's look at Stomach Heat or Fire, a pattern that TCM practitioners commonly treat with Xie Huang San.
The Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red centre
Symptoms: Nausea Dry mouth Dry stools Bad breath Mouth ulcers Constipation Irritability Painful gums Restlnessness Bleeding gums Swelling gums Intense thirst Feeling of heat Constant hunger Excessive hunger Frontal headache Sour regurgitation Desire for cold drinks Burning epigastric pain Vomiting of fluids soon after drinking
Xie Huang San is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Stomach Heat or Fire. This pattern leads to symptoms such as burning epigastric pain, intense thirst, desire for cold drinks and restlnessness. Patients with Stomach Heat or Fire typically exhibit rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua) or full (Shi) pulses as well as Red in the center with a dry thick yellow or dark yellow coating.
Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst as well as strong desire for cold drinks and foods. The Blood in the Stomach Channel get rebellious due to the extreme Heat or Fire, so that it leaks out of vessels and... read more about Stomach Heat or Fire