Details of Four Marvels Powder
Job’s Tears (Barley) or Yi Yi Ren strengthens fluid metabolism for swelling.

Yep, this is the formula mentioned in the article at the New York Times. See dosing suggestions below.

NOTE: this formula is not for all arthritis cases. Please see our nifty new Eagle Herbs Flowchart of Joint Health Formulas.

Alternative Names

  • Four Wonderful Powder
  • Four Marvels Pill
  • Four-Marvels Pill
  • Si Miao Wan
  • Si Miao San

This is an important Chinese herbal formula that regulates the blood circulation in the lower half of the body while also stimulating the fluid metabolism. Together, these actions effectively address temporary pain and swelling of the joints in the legs, muscle atrophy, and numbness in the legs.

The most frequently found indications for this formula are swelling and a red color on the skin or surrounding joints on the legs or feet. Other indications include aches and pains associated with a sensation of burning that seems to arise from the bones and tendons on the skin or surrounding joints on the legs or feet.

If the “damp-heat” undermines the flow of qi and blood through the leg, the outcome can be muscle weakness or atrophy in the legs.

While this formula is often used for red swelling in the legs, it is equally beneficial for “damp heat” in the lower abdomen. The most common benefit is regulating the fluids of the female reproductive system when there is vaginal discharge that is thick, yellow, and with a foul fishy odor.


Huang Bai 黃栢 amur cork tree bark, huang bo, phellodendron bark Cortex Phellodendri

  • Supports healthy fluid metabolism in the lower portion of the body (“dries dampness”). Also “clears heat” which is to say regulates the inflammatory response often indicated by the presence of swollen, red joints.

Cang Zhu 蒼术 atractylodes rhizome, cang shu Atractylodis Rhizoma

  • Dries dampness or regulates the fluid metabolism in order to maintain a swelling-free state in the body.

Huai Niu Xi 懷牛膝 achyranthes root Archyanthis bidentatae Radix [don’t use if pregnant]

  • This is a guiding herb that will direct the benefits of this formula to the legs.

Yi Yi Ren 薏苡仁 coix seeds, Job’s tears Semen Coicis Lachrymae Jobi [don’t use if pregnant]

  • This is a tonic herb added to this formula in order to extend the benefits of the other herbs in this formula further into the future. While the other herbs maintain proper functioning of the inflammatory response and fluid metabolism, this herb supports the organs in charge of these actions.

Recommended for these body types:
Slightly Hearty
Slightly Hearty

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 (?):

  • 100 grams powder (capsules or powder): 8 to 25 days
  • 200 grams powder (powder only): 19 to 56 days
Child’s Dosage

The dosage is 1/2 teaspoon (4 capsules) per 50 pounds of weight. This quantity should be taken 2 to 3 times daily.

This is not an especially tasty formula. If you’re interested in giving this formula to a child, you may need to hide it in juice or food. It’s available in capsules too, but they may be too large for children to swallow. The capsule size are 500mg, which is a very common size for dietary supplements.

Availability status: in stock

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8 thoughts on “Four Marvels Powder (Si Miao San)

  1. The NYT article mentions 6 weeks before feeling the effects of the four marvels powder. Does that seem on target to you?

  2. Many herbal formulas work slowly like that. In the experience of the NYT author, that may be right. However some people will respond much quicker. Kids respond quick, but the child in that story had had his problem for many years too, which tends to require more time. So it’s kind of anybody’s guess because everybody is different.

    Here’s a nifty little self-test I made to help answer the question as to how long you can expect to be on a formula: Prognosis-O-Rama

  3. is this suggested for other auto immune disorders such as ulcerative colitis?

  4. Good question. I don’t know that the mechanism of this formula is about addressing the auto-immune component. We have herbs for that in China such as “Thunder God Vine” (Lei Gong Teng) which is often used for Lupus.

    So I would say I don’t know, however based on the ingredients themselves, it may not be bad for UC. Still, I think I’d rather you don’t think in terms of the Western disease name, but begin with the symptoms and address them accordingly. You might want to start out on the loose stools page, or contact me separately, perhaps I can get more information and we’ll go from there.

  5. Does this herb has interaction with the conventional medication like Orencia?

  6. I have an older dog. She is a daschound who is getting a little arthritic. A Vet in Buffalo is using it for this type of arthritis in the aging animals. Do you recomend it for this purpose?

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