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.)

Availability status: in stock

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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.