Sheng Mai San

Red Tongue (may be dry)

Sheng Mai San is not for your run-of-the-mill tiredness. With only a few herbs it strongly supports energy levels that have been severely tapped. In TCM theory, this means the qi and yin have been compromised giving signs of thirst and fatigue that may go into a body weakness.

A major indication for this formula is a chronic cough that has depleted the fluids. There might be shortness of breath and spontaneous sweating. There should be no phlegm to use this formula.

Ren Shen 人蔘 ginseng root Radix Panax Ginseng made from real ginseng

  • Ginseng is used here to calm the spirit and raise basic energy levels. Sometimes tiredness itself can causes restlessness and anxiety.

Mai Men Dong 麥門冬 ophiopogon tuber Ophiopogonis Radix generates fluids for a chronic cough and moistens the intestines for a “dry” constipation. If you are feeling irritable – not necessarily angry – then Mai Men Dong is very good.

Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae) is very sour and as such “brings in” or “tightens up” energy even as it creates fluids. It is said to stop chronic dry cough (without phlegm) and sweating that happens for no reason (spontaneous sweating). It also calms the spirit that seems to be flying around.

Sheng Mai San has three herbs that are quite expensive so the cost is higher than most of our other formulas, yet you may need only take on or two capsules a day.

An alternative to Sheng Mai San is something I (Douglas) make up called Tai Mai Wan which substitutes Tai Zi Shen (“Prince Ginseng) for Ren Shen. This makes the formula even more for heat signs as well as bring the cost down significantly.

The tongue for both Sheng Mai San and Tai Mai Wan is usually very red although there might be patches of heavy coating as well.

Red Tongue (may be dry)

Red Tongue (may be dry)

Which one to choose? If you have more loss of energy then Sheng Mai San is best. If there is more heat, dryness and irritability then try Tai Mai Wan.

(This formula is NOT for you if you have dampness, a large hearty body and/or fatigue that gets better momentarily with exercise.)

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Bupleurum and Cinnamon Combination (chai hu gui zhi tang)

Bupleurum unsticks what is stuck.
Details of Bupleurum and Cinnamon Combination
Bupleurum unsticks what is stuck.

Bupleurum unsticks what is stuck.

Alternative Names

  • chai hu gui zhi tang
  • chai hu kuei chih tang
  • chai-hu-gui-zhi-tang
  • Bupleurum and Cinnamon Twig Decoction
  • Bupleurum and Cassia Twig Decoction
  • saiko-keishi-to
  • saiko keishi to
  • Saiko-keishi-tō
  • 柴胡桂枝湯
  • さいこけいしとう
  • TJ10; TJ-10; TJ 10

Benefits

  • relaxes tense muscles that cause a sense of dull stuffiness in the upper abdomen
  • promotes blood flow in the head, relaxes muscles in the upper neck and shoulder

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Warm Illness or Thermal Nature

Warm people get heat problems more often, but you can have a cold problem that is temporary, even if you’re a warm type person.

Heat as a Temporary Condition

If your problem is acute, short-lived and intense, heat can produce varied symptoms depending on where it is. When the heat is located superficially, it can look exactly like a flu. Heat=fever. That’s easy, right?

Discharges that are yellow (to green) or dark suggest heat too. This would include visible secretions and excretions such as yellow nasal discharge, yellow to green phlegm, yellow vaginal discharges or dark urine.

Heat can also be located internally. There, it can cause restlessness and irritability if it is found in the (Chinese concept of the) Heart. In fact, heat coming from anywhere in the body can end up in the Heart. Liver heat for instance can manifest as impatience or frustration. Heat in the blood can cause excessive menstrual bleeding in women and nosebleeds in children. Heat in the Kidneys cause nocturnal emissions in young men and hot flashes in menopausal women. Heat in the Lungs looks like an upper respiratory infection. Heat in the Stomach causes heartburn. Heat in the Large Intestine can damage the body fluids there giving rise to hard, dry poop or constipation. Heat that is also damp in the Large Intestine causes yellow, burning, explosive, foul smelling diarrhea. Not something you’ll want to travel with, that’s for sure.

Warm as a Thermal Nature

In English, we can talk about a person being hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. These have widely varied meanings, none of which apply to one’s thermal nature in Chinese medicine. So if you’re warm or hot, it doesn’t mean that you’re especially friendly or sexy.

However having a warm nature does make you more susceptible to problems that are aggravated by hot weather. When it comes to choosing an herbal formula, people with a hot or warm thermal nature can benefit from cold and cool herbs such as gypsum (shi gao) or rhubarb root (da huang). On the other hand, hot herbs such as baked ginger (gan jiang) or aconite root (zhi fu zi) can cause a hot person’s problems to get worse.

So, if you’re looking for an herbal formula to address long-standing chronic conditions that run in your family (thermal natures can be somewhat hereditary) then you’ll want to pay special attention to the recommended body temperatures.

However, if you’re hoping to address something more acute that hasn’t been around for long such as the common cold or other cold condition, it is okay to take warm formulas, but not for any longer than is absolutely needed to address the health concern.

Neutral Illness or Thermal Nature

Neutral people get a mixture of cold and heat conditions.

Heat or Cold as Temporary Conditions

If your problem is acute, short-lived and intense, heat and cold can produce varied symptoms depending on where it is. When the heat is located superficially, it can look exactly like a flu. Heat=fever. A superficial attack of cold can cause the common cold. Cold=cold. That’s easy, right?

Discharge colors tell us whether you’ve got heat or cold too. Secretions that are yellow (to green) or dark suggest heat. Clear or white discharges suggest cold. This would include visible secretions and excretions such as nasal discharge, phlegm, vaginal discharges and the color of one’s urine.

Heat and cold can also be located internally. There, heat can cause restlessness and irritability if it is found in the (Chinese concept of the) Heart. In fact, heat coming from anywhere in the body can end up in the Heart. Liver heat for instance can manifest as impatience or frustration. Heat in the blood can cause excessive menstrual bleeding in women and nosebleeds in children. Heat in the Kidneys cause nocturnal emissions in young men and hot flashes in menopausal women. Heat in the Lungs looks like an upper respiratory infection. Heat in the Stomach causes heartburn. Heat in the Large Intestine causes yellow, burning, explosive, foul smelling diarrhea. Not something you’ll want to travel with, that’s for sure.

Internal cold can give rise to really severe gripping pains in the abdomen, testicles, or uterus. As an example, menstrual cramps that benefit from a warm bath are generally considered cold in nature.

Neutral as a Thermal Nature

In English, we can talk about a person being hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. These have widely varied meanings, none of which apply to one’s thermal nature in Chinese medicine. So if you’re warm or hot, it doesn’t mean that you’re especially friendly or sexy.

However having a neutral nature means that hot or cold weather don’t aggravate your problems, as a rule. Of course if it does, that still provides us hints as to what you’ll need, but as a rule, this isn’t the situation for those who are neutral in their thermal nature.

When it comes to choosing an herbal formula, people with a hot or warm thermal nature can benefit from cold and cool herbs such as gypsum (shi gao) or rhubarb root (da huang). On the other hand, hot herbs such as baked ginger (gan jiang) or aconite root (zhi fu zi) can cause a hot person’s problems to get worse. However those with a neutral body temperature are quite flexible and able to handle most any formula, provided the signs and symptoms align with the therapeutic focus of a given formula.

So, if you’re looking for an herbal formula to address long-standing chronic conditions that run in your family (thermal natures can be somewhat hereditary) then you’ll want to pay special attention to the recommended body temperatures.

However, if you’re hoping to address something more acute that hasn’t been around for long such as the common cold or other cold condition, it is okay to take warm formulas, but not for any longer than is absolutely needed to address the health concern.

Hot Illness or Thermal Nature

Hot people get heat problems more often, but you can have a cold problem that is temporary, even if you’re a hot type person.

Heat as a Temporary Condition

If your problem is acute, short-lived and intense, heat can produce varied symptoms depending on where it is. When the heat is located superficially, it can look exactly like a flu. Heat=fever. That’s easy, right?

Discharges that are yellow (to green) or dark suggest heat too. This would include visible secretions and excretions such as yellow nasal discharge, yellow to green phlegm, yellow vaginal discharges or dark urine.

Heat can also be located internally. There, it can cause restlessness and irritability if it is found in the (Chinese concept of the) Heart. In fact, heat coming from anywhere in the body can end up in the Heart. Liver heat for instance can manifest as impatience or frustration. Heat in the blood can cause excessive menstrual bleeding in women and nosebleeds in children. Heat in the Kidneys cause nocturnal emissions in young men and hot flashes in menopausal women. Heat in the Lungs looks like an upper respiratory infection. Heat in the Stomach causes heartburn. Heat in the Large Intestine can damage the body fluids there giving rise to hard, dry poop or constipation. Heat that is also damp in the Large Intestine causes yellow, burning, explosive, foul smelling diarrhea. Not something you’ll want to travel with, that’s for sure.

Heat as a Thermal Nature

In English, we can talk about a person being hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. These have widely varied meanings, none of which apply to one’s thermal nature in Chinese medicine. So if you’re warm or hot, it doesn’t mean that you’re especially friendly or sexy.

However having a hot nature does make you more susceptible to problems that are aggravated by hot weather. When it comes to choosing an herbal formula, people with a hot or warm thermal nature can benefit from cold and cool herbs such as gypsum (shi gao) or rhubarb root (da huang). On the other hand, hot herbs such as baked ginger (gan jiang) or aconite root (zhi fu zi) can cause a hot person’s problems to get worse.

So, if you’re looking for an herbal formula to address long-standing chronic conditions that run in your family (thermal natures can be somewhat hereditary) then you’ll want to pay special attention to the recommended body temperatures.

However, if you’re hoping to address something more acute that hasn’t been around for long such as the common cold or other cold condition, it is okay to take warm formulas, but not for any longer than is absolutely needed to address the health concern.

Posted in Hot

Cool Illness or Thermal Nature

Cool people get cold problems more often, but you can have a hot problem that is temporary, even if you’re a cool type person.

Cold as a Temporary Condition

If your problem is acute, short-lived and intense, cold can produce varied symptoms depending on where it is. When the cold is located superficially, it can look exactly like the common cold. Cold=cold. That’s easy, right? Another indication of cold located superficially (or on the “exterior” as we say) is chills.

Discharges that are clear or white suggest cold too. This would include symptoms such as nasal discharge, phlegm, and clear-to-milky vaginal discharges.

Cold can also be located internally. There, it can cause gripping, spasmodic and intense pain that causes one to double over, sometimes actually gripping their abdomen. Men can get cold in their testicles too, which can feel like something is suddenly pulling or twisting down yonder – very uncomfortable, not to mention difficult to tactfully investigate on a first date. Cold can also be found in the uterus which can cause excessive menstrual pain which is alleviated by a hot bath, equally problematic on a first date.

Cool as a Thermal Nature

In English, we can talk about a person being hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. These have widely varied meanings, none of which apply to one’s thermal nature in Chinese medicine. So if you’re cool or cold, it doesn’t mean that you like jazz or are difficult to make friends with.

However having a cool nature does make you more susceptible to problems that are aggravated by cold weather. When it comes to choosing an herbal formula, people with a cold or cool thermal nature can benefit from hot and warm herbs such as baked ginger (gan jiang) or aconite root (zhi fu zi). On the other hand, cold herbs such as gypsum (shi gao) or rhubarb root (da huang) can cause a cold person’s problems to get worse.

So, if you’re looking for an herbal formula to address long-standing chronic conditions that run in your family (thermal natures can be somewhat hereditary) then you’ll want to pay special attention to the recommended body temperatures.

However, if you’re hoping to address something more acute that hasn’t been around for long such as some ingrown toenail or other heat condition, it is okay to take cold formulas, but not for any longer than is absolutely needed to address the health concern.

Cold Illness or Thermal Nature

Cold people get cold problems more often, but you can have a hot problem that is temporary, even if you’re a cold type person.

Cold as a Temporary Condition

If your problem is acute, short-lived and intense, cold can produce varied symptoms depending on where it is. When the cold is located superficially, it can look exactly like the common cold. Cold=cold. That’s easy, right? Another indication of cold located superficially (or on the “exterior” as we say) is chills.

Discharges that are clear or white suggest cold too. This would include symptoms such as nasal discharge, phlegm, and clear-to-milky vaginal discharges.

Cold can also be located internally. There, it can cause gripping, spasmodic and intense pain that causes one to double over, sometimes actually gripping their abdomen. Men can get cold in their testicles too, which can feel like something is suddenly pulling or twisting down yonder – very uncomfortable, not to mention difficult to tactfully investigate on a first date. Cold can also be found in the uterus which can cause excessive menstrual pain which is alleviated by a hot bath, equally problematic on a first date.

Cold as a Thermal Nature

In English, we can talk about a person being hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. These have widely varied meanings, none of which apply to one’s thermal nature in Chinese medicine. So if you’re cool or cold, it doesn’t mean that you like jazz or are difficult to make friends with.

However having a cold nature does make you more susceptible to problems that are aggravated by cold weather. When it comes to choosing an herbal formula, people with a cold or cool thermal nature can benefit from hot and warm herbs such as baked ginger (gan jiang) or aconite root (zhi fu zi). On the other hand, cold herbs such as gypsum (shi gao) or rhubarb root (da huang) can cause a cold person’s problems to get worse.

So, if you’re looking for an herbal formula to address long-standing chronic conditions that run in your family (thermal natures can be somewhat hereditary) then you’ll want to pay special attention to the recommended body temperatures.

However, if you’re hoping to address something more acute that hasn’t been around for long such as some ingrown toenail or other heat condition, it is okay to take cold formulas, but not for any longer than is absolutely needed to address the health concern.

Four Marvels Powder (Si Miao San)

Job's Tears (Barley) or Yi Yi Ren strengthens fluid metabolism for swelling.
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.

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