Milkvetch roots (Huang Qi) Ginseng (Ren Shen) Prepared aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) Wild ginger (Xi Xin) Notopterygium roots (Qiang Huo) Szechuan lovage roots (Chuan Xiong) Saposhnikovia roots (Fang Feng)

Chinese: 再造散

Pinyin: Zài Zào Sǎn

Other names: Renewal Powder

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Exterior disorders with Interior deficiency

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: Common coldRheumatic fever

  1. Tonfies the Yang
  2. Augments the Qi
  3. Induces sweating
  4. Releases the Exterior

Source date: 1445 AD

Source book: Six Texts on Cold Damage

Zai Zao San is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) and Ginseng (Ren Shen) as principal ingredients.

Invented in 1445 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Exterior disorders with Interior deficiency. Its main actions are: 1) tonfies the Yang and 2) augments the Qi.

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.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as rheumatic fever or common cold for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the twelve ingredients in Zai Zao San, we review the patterns and conditions that Zai Zao San helps treat.

The twelve ingredients in Zai Zao San

Huang Qi is a king ingredient in Zai Zao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: LungSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Huang Qi tonifies the original Qi and stabilizes Exterior. Together with Ginseng, they supply Yang force to drive out Pernicous influences and keep Exterior-releasing herbs from causing Yang Collapse. 

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Ren Shen is a king ingredient in Zai Zao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

2. Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Ren Shen tonifies the original Qi and stabilizes Exterior. Together with Milkvetch root, they supply Yang force to drive out Pernicous influences and keep Exterior-releasing herbs from causing Yang Collapse. 

Learn more about Ginseng (Ren Shen)

Zhi Fu Zi is a deputy ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

3. Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi)

Part used: Processed daughter root

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneySpleen

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

Zhi Fu Zi releases the Exterior by dispersing Cold and activating the Yang along with Cinnamon twigs and Wild ginger.

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Gui Zhi is a deputy ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

4. Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Part used: Dried young branches

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Gui Zhi releases the Exterior by scattering Cold and activating the Yang along with Prepared aconite and Wild ginger.

Learn more about Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi)

Xi Xin is a deputy ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

5. 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

Xi Xin releases the Exterior by scattering Cold and activating the Yang along with Prepared aconite and Cinnamon twigs.

Learn more about Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

Qiang Huo is an assistant ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

6. Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo)

Part used: Dried rhizome and root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderKidney

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Qiang Huo strengthens the Exterior-releasing and Cold-Dispersing actions of the Formula along with Szechuan lovage root, and Saposhnikovia roots.

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Chuan Xiong is an assistant ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

7. Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong)

Part used: Dried rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: GallbladderLiverPericardium

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Chuan Xiong strengthens the Exterior-releasing and Cold-Dispersing of the Formula along with Notopterygium Root, and Saposhnikovia Roots.

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Fang Feng is an assistant ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

8. Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: BladderLiverSpleen

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Fang Feng strengthens the Exterior-releasing and Cold-Dispersing of the formula along with Szechuan lovage root, and Notopterygium Root.

Learn more about Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng)

Gan Cao is an assistant ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

9. Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLungSpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

In general Gan Cao's main actions are as follows: "Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs."

In the context of Zai Zao San, it is used because it makes the Sweat-inducing actions of the other ingredients better.

Learn more about Liquorice (Gan Cao)

Bai Shao is an assistant ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

10. White Peony Roots (Bai Shao)

Part used: Dried root

Nature: Neutral

Taste(s): BitterSour

Meridian affinity: LiverSpleen

Category: Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency

Bai Shao regulates the protective and nutritive Qi, similar to its use in Gui Zhi Tang. It moderates the warm and drying
properties of the other herbs without interfering their ability to induce sweating.

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Sheng Jiang is an envoy ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

11. Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Part used: Fresh root

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: LungSpleenStomach

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Sheng Jiang nourishes and revives the Spleen and Stomach Qi. It also regulates the nutritive and protective Qi along with jujube dates.

Learn more about Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Da Zao is an envoy ingredient in Zai Zao San. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

12. Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomach

Category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

Da Zao nourishes and revives the Spleen and Stomach Qi. It also regulates the nutritive and protective Qi along with Fresh ginger.

Learn more about Jujube Dates (Da Zao)

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