Bupleurum and Peony Formula (jia wei xiao yao san)

Details of Bupleurum and Peony Formula
Bupleurum unsticks what is stuck.

Bupleurum unsticks what is stuck.

This is our most requested formula. It is really good for many forms of stress, frustration, anger and PMS.

When the (Chinese concept of the) Liver is out of balance, its function of ensuring the free-flow of qi is compromised. This free-flow of qi is many neurological functions in biomedical terms. Where there is stagnation, there is often heat. The can cause one to get angry, frustrated, or give rise to PMS.

One of the cardinal signs for Xiao Yao or Jia Wei Xiao Yao is when a person gets really angry, really suddenly over something that in reality is very small. In other words, we keep something bottled up until a little thing “sets us off”. Most of the time we use Jia Wei Xiao Yao because it clears more heat than Xiao Yao. And anger often translates as heat.

“Jia Wei” means “added ingredients (lit:flavors) and so Jia Wei is Xiao Yao with those two extra ingredients. Jia Wei Xiao Yao is Rambling Powder (Xiao Yao San) plus two herbs to “cool the blood”.

This formula also contains some Dang Gui and Bai Shao which build the blood. For that reason women especially gravitate to Jia Wei and regular Xiao Yao Wan. (Because in Chinese Medicine, women are all about the blood.)

Alternative Names

  • jia wei xiao yao san
  • Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San
  • Modified Merry Life Powder
  • Modified Rambling Powder
  • Supplemented Free Wanderer Powder
  • bupleurum and paeonia formula
  • Bupleurum and Peony Formula
  • chia wei hsiao yao san
  • kami syoyo san
  • kamishoyosan
  • TJ 24; TJ-24; TJ24
  • jia-wei-xiao-yao-san
  • kami-shoyo-san
  • kami-soyo-san
  • kamisyoyo-san
  • Kami-shōyō-san
  • 加味逍遙散
  • かみしょうようさん
  • jiā wèi xiāo yáo wán
  • 加味逍遙丸


  • regulates the emotions in those with symptoms that are aggravated by stress or menstrual cycle
  • cools temporary hot flashes
  • calms restlessness, frustration, or impatience in those who are easily angered. Don’t hurt your neck nodding so vigorously, you know who you are. :)
  • regulates sleeping for those having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • relaxes neck and shoulder tension
  • regulates the menstrual cycle
  • supports vaginal health
  • relaxes pre-menstrual tension
  • supports bladder health.
  • supports pain-free flow of qi and blood


Chai Hu 柴胡 hare’s ear root, thorowax root, bupleurum Radix Bupleuri [caution]

Bo He 薄荷 field mint, mentha Herba Menthae Haplocalycis

  • Chai hu is the herb that helps move that Liver qi because qi stagnation can cause a dull aching beneath the ribs, on the flanks, or on the sides of the head in the case of migraine headaches. Bo he helps move this Liver qi, and it tastes good too.

Zhi Zi 梔子 cape jasmine fruit, gardenia Gardeniae Fructus

Mu Dan Pi 牡丹皮 moutan root bark, tree peony root bark Cortex Moutan Radicis

  • These are the two herbs that are added to Rambling Powder (Xiao Yao San). That’s why the original name of this formula was Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, the “Dan” comes from Mu Dan Pi and the “Zhi” comes from Zhi Zi. They cool the Liver basically. When the Liver is hot, the heat rises to the Heart which disturbs the spirit, giving rise to impatience, frustrations, irritability, and restlessness.

Dang Gui 當歸 tangkuei, Chinese angelica root Radix Angelicae Sinensis [supports pregnancy]

Bai Shao 白芍 white peony root, peony Paeoniae Radix alba [supports pregnancy]

  • The two herbs above serve to nourish the blood and yin-fluids that keep the Liver lubricated and functioning harmoniously. When the Liver gets dry, the qi can stagnate, and that’s what this formula is treating, “Liver qi stagnation”.
  • Also, Chai hu is a drying herb which can damage the yin-fluids of the Liver, so Bai Shao is commonly used with Chai hu just to moderate this effect.

Zhi Gan Cao 炙甘草 licorice root Radix Glycyrrhizae prep.

  • Gan cao is commonly added to formulas to harmonize all the ingredients so they work gently without side-effects. The fact that this sweet herb (the literal translation of gan cao) is honey fried, it is mostly focused then on the functions of the Stomach because the two added herbs in this formula (zhi zi and mu dan pi) are capable of being too cold for the stomach.

Fu Ling 茯苓 sclerotium of tuckahoe, China root, hoelen, Indian bread Poria Cocos

Bai Zhu 白术 , bai shu ovate atractylodes, (white) atractylodes rhizome [supports pregnancy]

Sheng Jiang 煨薑  ginger rhizome Zingiberis Rhizoma

  • These three herbs (along with the zhi gan cao above) are used to prevent the Liver problems from spreading into the digestive functions which they commonly do. This formula strengthens the digestion while it prevents the Liver (nervous system) from causing problems in the digestive tract. Ginger prevents nausea too, which is a common effect of stress-induced Liver qi stagnation such as you might find with a migraine or excessive emotion.

Recommended for these body types:


Slightly Delicate

Slightly Delicate

Recommended for these thermal natures:






Adult Dosage

This formula can be used to support health with or without symptoms. If symptoms are present, take 1 level teaspoon of the powder (8 capsules) three times daily. When symptoms are not present, take 1/2 level teaspoon (4 capsules), two times daily. Empty stomach is best for efficient absorption, but not essential. [More…]

At this dosage, your order will last approximately this long (?):

  • 50 grams powder (capsules only): 4 to 14 days.
  • 100 grams powder (capsules or powder): 8 to 25 days
  • 200 grams powder (powder only): 19 to 56 days
Shipping Rate: A

Availability status: in stock

Order Bupleurum and Peony Formula
Anxiety Modification

22 thoughts on “Bupleurum and Peony Formula (jia wei xiao yao san)

  1. Anne

    I am finishing my last year of chinese medecine. It might be a silly question but which herb do you use for headaches behind the eyes? I was told to add chuanxiong but i ve always been scared to use it when liver is aleeady hot, person also has tinnitus and dizzyness… Can you help me? Thanks! Love you website, the professionalism with the humour!

  2. Al Stone, L.Ac., DAOM Post author

    Hi Anne,

    Good question

    Chuan xiong can be added to any formula where there is a headache. All of the headache options that I use are chuan xiong plus another herb. If the patient’s already got too much yang rising, that might call for a treatment principle that descends using herbs such as long dan cao or shi jue ming.

    But in the case of a hot liver with headaches behind the eyes, remember that this formula already has zhi zi and mu dan pi to cool the liver. Adding chuan xiong is okay, but you can also get by with just a pinch to help guide the effects upward to the head. Chuan xiong is a guiding herb that moves blood upward. I think of it as a blood-level equivalent of chai hu which lifts the qi such as it is used in bu zhong yi qi tang.

    For headaches behind the eyes, I use chuan xiong with bai shao, however since bai shao is already in this formula, I just add the chuan xiong.

    Good luck with your studies. Oh, and don’t expect the questions to end after you’re licensed, that’s when the best questions begin!

  3. Maureen

    Hello, I have been taking bupleurum and peony for a week. Since then I have experienced bad headaches and sleeplessness. Could these be side affects?

  4. Douglas Eisentark

    I never liked it when a doctor says, “that couldn’t happen, it wasn’t me, it must be something else.” The first thing to be done is to stop taking the formula and see how you do. If you want to start taking it again then take it only in the mornings and afternoon. Any herbal formula can “stir things up” and if taken late at night might cause the sleeplessness. Bupleurum and peony is generally for “stagnant qi” causing anger at little things and general frustration. There is also a component of blood deficiency. For that reason it is a favorite for women to help with menses. It shouldn’t cause headaches unless it has unblocked some other forces.
    I don’t believe you got this from us. (did you?) Is there an acupuncturist near you you can talk to or write to me at
    Take care – feel better.

  5. chad mckeighan

    I have been taking Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for 5 days. I went to an herbalist and she recommended that I take this plus a tincture. I am sleeping better, however, I feel tight in the throat and it seems like Im more apt to get angry. Is this a common side effect? How long will it last? Please let me know.

  6. Douglas Eisentark

    We use Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for Qi that is constrained. One of the big markers for a Xiao Yao formula is getting angry at little things that don’t matter. It is possible that the freeing of your constrained Qi is bringing up other more deep seated issues. The throat problem generally calls for another formula, also with much of Xiao Yao Wan in it, Ban Xia Hou Po Tang. This is more specific to the feeling in the throat. We call that “plum pit qi” or like something is stuck there. So while it may seem paradoxical that this anti-anger formula is making you more angry, I would say stick with it for a little more time and see where it leads you.
    By the way: did you know that the Jia Wei of Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan means “added flavors”? So Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan is a modification of Xiao Yao Wan.

  7. John D

    Hi I have found JIA WEI XIAO YAO SAN to have a general calming effect which is good , and my sleep is very good too , noticed that have felt uneasy , restless if I sit and watch TV , is there any long term detrimental side effect ? Have been taking morning and night recommended dose – Thanks ( perhaps as I am 59 working like 30 yr old I am just fatigued

  8. Douglas Eisentark

    hmmm…. since you are doing so well otherwise maybe TV watching is just not your thing anymore. Restlessness can be seen in formulas such as Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan and Suan Zao Ren Tang. This might be better for you in the evenings if that is when you have been watching TV. Suan Zao Ren Tang is usually for sleep and even though your sleep is OK now it might help you to unwind a little. Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan would be more for a panic mode during the day which it sounds like you are way past at this point. Let us know what happens.

  9. Debbie

    Hi I’ve only started taking Jia Wei Xiao Yan San for 3 days. All good so far, maybe there is still a tightness in the jaw area and I think I may have stopped grinning my teeth in my sleep. My husband and I are trying to concieve. Is it safe to continue taking this formula during pregnancy? If not, when should I stop? Thanks!

  10. Douglas Eisentark

    Glad its helping after only a few days. Often Jiao takes a week or so for people to notice. The jaw tightness may take some time.
    As to the pregnancy, that is tricky. If you were my patient who I saw in my office I could give you my approval. I have told many of my patients who are pregnant that Jia Wei Xiao Yao is very safe. But since I haven’t seen you in person I would rather that you stop when you become pregnant and see a professional in person before starting up again. That being said, Jia Wei Xiao Yao is often, often used to help facilitate fertility.

  11. laura zovich

    what a wonderful website. i am looking to restore my liver back to it’s best state of health after many years of abuse from prescribed medicines for stress, anxiety and depression. i have sense realized that the majority of my unwellness had been do to hormone imbalance. i am now 44 and have been taking chaste tree berry and black cohosh which have helped very much. rather than a straight detox for my system… i thought healing my liver would be a good place to start. i have read about xiao yao san but before purchasing the
    Bupleurum and Peony Formula – i thought it best to ask if this is indeed the best formulation for rebuilding my liver’s health. much thanks,

  12. Maga

    Hi I went to a Chinese herbalist last week for general pain in my abdominal, bad digestion, fatigue and lack of concentration. He prescribed jie Wei Xiao Yao San along with Shen qi da bu wan. I took them for three days just as my me steal cycle was due( I have a very regular cycle normaly) my men’s ration never began, after a few negative home tests I began to wonder what could cause my late cycle. I went back to the chenese herbalist who confirmed it could be from the herbs. I stopped taking them even though they seemed to be relieving my symptoms. A week later no menstration had occurred so I started taking the herbs again. It’s now been 4 days and I’m finding the herbs benificial but my menstration has still not occurred iv never been so late and don’t really know what to do.have you heard of cases where this particular herb causes delay in menstration? If so how long should I wait before getting very worried? It’s been 39 days since the first day of my last cycle, normally I have a 29 day cycle which has been so for a long time? Thanks for any input?

  13. Douglas Eisentark

    These are very widely used formulas and I really would be surprised if the herbs could delay the cycle. Its very possible that your digestion etc… was the result of your menses not being as healthy as might seem. I empathize with your herbalist in saying, “well, it could….” but I think its something else that is up. If the herbs are working then go back to the herbalist and see what he thinks. That being said I think it is “normal” for menses to be “not normal” ever so once in a while.

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  15. Rudy

    I was interested in the comment someone left about this formula making him angrier. I have been taking Long Dan Xie Gan Wan off and on this year, and already for longer stretches than it is commonly recommended for (although I did discuss this with the licensed acupuncturist who originally recommended it to me and she said it was okay to keep using it, though I should add probiotics and eat warming foods). I don’t really like what it does to my digestion, but it’s great for my sinuses, knocking out at least part of the problem (sinus pressure as a response to daily barometric pressure changes–I know, sounds a bit crazy), although not touching my allergy issues.

    Anyway, I decided to try Xiao Yao Wan (because some of the “liver stagnation” description makes seem to fit me, especially the psychological aspects). I took my first dose last night. This afternoon I noticed a lot of anger, seemingly out the blue. Also my face felt very warm during that time. I definitely felt a lot more agitated than usual. I am going to put it aside for at least a couple days (and not resume LDXGW, for now), and then perhaps give it another try.

    I am not under the care of an acupuncturist right now, and I am trying to set aside money for something else important. So I am experimenting with herbs and trying to find an ideal herbal cocktail on my own. I am frustrated that the last acupuncturist I went to (also licensed, and with the benefit of having studied in China and being the son of an acupuncturist), whose treatment was more effective for me than that of the acupuncturist who recommended LDXGW, but still not effective for more than a 24 hour or perhaps a weaker 48 hour benefit, didn’t recommend any herbs or anything else that would deal with my symptoms in the short run. Maybe acupuncture would solve the problem in a year or two–or more–but I need to be able to make it through a work day, a work week. He also was dismissive of LDXGW. I only really discovered how effective it was while I was going to him. I stopped taking LDXGW, on his recommendation, after he had given me Liu Wei Di Huang Wan for my blood pressure, but I resumed taking it when the barometric pressure sinus pressure returned a week after I stopped taking LDXGW.

    I went to him for at least 13 treatments focused on my sinuses and he never gave me a specific diagnosis in TCM terms, not that that matters to me as much as finding something that works. But I wonder: is it typical to go for that many treatments without receiving a diagnosis in terms of Chinese medicine? (I’m a little fuzzy on the exact number because I initially went to him for a minor lower back problem, but then continued to go for sinus-focused treatments.)

    I do expect to return to acupuncture, possibly even with my last acupuncturist, but it could be as long as a year or year and a half before that happens.

    If I stop taking LXDGW and don’t find a replacement, I will presumably go back to using more sudafed and NSAIDs, not that I don’t use them sometimes now, because, again, LDXGW only reliably handles sinus pressure that results from daily barometric pressure drops, and maybe some storm systems, but not most. Maybe it heads off infections as well. It definitely doesn’t prevent sinus pressure and discomfort as a result of my allergies; nor does it prevent sinus pressure from developing as a result of most storm systems. Its performance for the latter seemed to improve this past week, however, so maybe that is not something fixed.

    Any thoughts? I know it’s less than ideal to be putting things together on my own (though I can still go back to my first acupuncturist for consultations related to herbs), but I don’t see that I have much choice. I find someone with good acupuncture technique, but he turns out to not seem to feel any sense of urgency about my problems and not be all that wiling to listen my ideas. And then I have this other somewhat maverick acupuncturist to talk with who knows that LDXGW isn’t normally a long term thing and that it’s doing something opposite to Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, but who knows how challenging my problem is and basically says, hey, if it works, do it.

    As far as lifestyle changes, and particularly diet, are concerned: my allergy and sinus problems don’t leave me with enough energy to really prepare meals for myself from scratch (or anything close to it). I am careful about some dietary issues, but my diet is hardly ideal overall. I do actively avoid dairy because it’s obvious that it makes my sinus problems worse. I also have the problem that most of the foods that are good for my sinuses (onion, garlic, most green leafy vegetables) tend to give me gastrointestinal problems (while dairy, which I find soothing to my digestion, especially in the case of cheese, makes the sinus problems worse).

  16. Douglas Eisentark

    Well, lets go through a few things here. First is that LDXGT (long dan xie gan tang) will help a “branch” or a symptom of a more underlying issue but does little to affect the “root” or cause of the problem. Sometimes all you need is a “branch” treatment, the problem goes away and we’re fine.

    However, in your case, whatever is causing the sinusitis is still causing it and you need to find the appropriate formula for the “root”. Its not real apparent what that could be based on what you wrote here but I am going to venture that its a spleen-stomach disharmony meaning the digestion is off. Often this comes about by “food stagnation” where the spleen is deficient and the stomach is overwhelmed. The spleen creates the conditions for the nutrients and fluids from food and water to be sent around the body. When the spleen is deficient it can’t send fluids to the appropriate places (along with the lung) and you get a build up of fluids in inappropriate ways.

    So formula wise you can look at Bao He Wan which will help the food stagnation. If you are stagnated in many ways you can look at Yue Ju Wan which deals with food, heat, phlegm, damp and qi stagnation. It is a good resolver of many issues that doesn’t have the draining effect of the LDXGT.

    One reason that LSXGT is a bit perplexing for sinuses is that it is a very cold and draining formula that usually is used for the lower parts of the body. We use it for “infections” or “fire” situations which suggests it works only because it so draining. There are more upper formulas – milder though like Cang Er Zi San which can open up the sinuses and prevent the heat that seems to be helped by the LDXGT. If you get headaches with the sinuses then you can look at Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao.

    As to the Xiao Yao San and anger, then I would say Jia Wei Xiao Yao which also clears some heat is more appropriate by what you describe.

    I don’t know what to say about your acupuncturist without a diagnosis. In our profession many acupuncturists don’t know much about herbs while a few herbalists don’t do much acupuncture. This is probably more true in China than in America interestingly enough.

    From what you describe I couldn’t give you a diagnosis except for listing of your symptoms. When I’ve treated a person for a long time and it gets better and then the symptoms keep coming back then generally I would say that it something that the patient is doing. In your case, the eating habits could be addressed.

    I’ll do a little pitch in that Eagleherbs does have a custom telephone consult. Most are done by Marie and you get $60 worth of herbs with it so its not much more or even less than going to your local acupuncturist probably.

    Let us know what happens,

  17. Rudy

    Thanks, Doug. Those are a lot of other directions to consider.

    Strictly speaking, Acupuncturist #1 started me on Coptis Purge Fire, but that’s still a variation on Long Dan Xie Gan Wan. (I decided I prefer the traditional LDXGW version, which seems less “busy” for lack of a better word.)

    I accidentally bought a bottle of Jia Wei Xiao Yao along with the Xiao Yao San I bought, so I already have that on hand.

    I appreciate your generous response, especially considering that this is a commercial site and I left a pretty lengthy post to respond to. I will consider the consultation possibility.

  18. ambroili'a

    I was diagnosed with PID at age 15
    now age 24 & lap surgery confirming one Fallopian tube tied up w/ adhesion
    I’m not sure if the adhesions manifest inside the tube

    what herbs will clear my Fallopian tubes of adhesion’s?

  19. Douglas Eisentark

    Herbs can help but we can’t say they will definitely do so. Generally we see such adhesions as “blood stagnation” – “yu xue”. You can look at such formulas such as Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan.

    However, I would suggest strongly you see a Chinese Medicine Herbalist in your area to work with you. Also we can have Marie write you a custom formula: Its a little more expensive at first but quickly itself back to work with someone.

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