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.
- 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.
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.)