The recipe Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Xiao Chai Hu Tang is from Shang Han Lun, a classic book of traditional Chinese medicine written by Zhang Zhongjing who is called medical sage by Chinese people.

Daily dose of the recipe

Chai Hu 24 g, Huang Qin 9 g, Ren Shen 9 g, Zhi Gan Cao 9 g, Ban Xia 9 g, Sheng Jiang 9 g, Da Zao 4 (quantity).

The method of using the recipe is to drink a decoction which is made with water.

Therapeutic effects of the recipe

Xiao Chai Hu Tang can restore the harmony of the Shaoyang meridians.

The first effect is to treat the Shaoyang syndrome caused by pathogenic coldness. The syndrome has the symptoms: cold feeling and fever are alternate; the chest and the hypochondria are uncomfortable because of the feeling of fullness and tightness; the person is depressed, lacks appetite, feels vexed, and often wants to vomit; there is a bitter taste in the mouth, the throat is dry, the vision is blurred with vertigo; the tongue’s covering is thin and white, the pulse is taut like the feeling of touching a string.

The second effect is to treat the syndrome of heat invasion of the blood chamber of a woman, which is developed from the invasion of pathogenic wind. The syndrome has the symptoms: cold feeling and fever are alternate, and the symptom happens on a regular time; menstruation is interrupted. In Chinese medicine, both of womb and liver can be called the blood chamber.

The third effect is to treat malaria and jaundice with the symptoms of the Shaoyang syndrome.

How the pathogenic coldness or pathogenic wind causes the symptoms

Syndrome differentiation of six meridians

The theory of syndrome differentiation of six meridians was created by Zhang Zhongjing. According to the theory, after an external pathogenic factor invades the human body, the progression of a disease is generally from the superficial position to the interior position, which means from the skin to internal organs. The development follows the sequence of Taiyang, Yangming, Shaoyang, Taiyin, Shaoyin, and Jueyin.

Shaoyang meridians include the triple-Jiao meridian of hand-Shaoyang and the gallbladder meridian of foot-Shaoyang. The position of Shaoyang is called “half superficial and half interior”.
When a pathogenic factor stays in the superficial position, the treatment is to induce sweating. When a pathogenic factor stays in the interior position, the treatment is to induce vomiting or defecating. When a pathogenic factor stays in the half superficial and half interior position, the treatment is to restore harmony.

The syndrome in the half superficial and half interior position

The alternation of cold feeling and fever is the typical symptom of the syndrome in the half superficial and half interior position. In the position, the pathogenic factor attempts to invade further to the interior position, while healthy Qi tries to push the pathogenic factor back to the superficial position and expel it from the body. The alternation of cold feeling and fever means the fierce fighting between the pathogenic factor and the healthy Qi.

The pathogenic factor stays in Shaoyang meridians, and cause the stagnation of the Qi of the meridians. The stagnation of Qi causes heat, and the heat of gallbladder is called the fire of gallbladder. The fire of gallbladder moves upwards, leading to the discomfort of the chest and hypochondria, vexed feeling, bitter taste in the mouth, dry throat, and blurred vision with vertigo.

The fire of gallbladder disturbs the functions of the stomach, makes stomach-Qi abnormally move upwards, leading to depression, the lack of appetite, and vomiting.

How the pathogenic wind causes the syndrome of heat invasion of the blood chamber of a woman

In the menstrual period of a woman, the pathogenic wind invades her body and causes an superficial syndrome which has the typical symptom of fearing coldness while having fever. When the superficial syndrome develops further into the half superficial and half interior syndrome, the pathogenic heat caused by fever invades blood and sticks together with blood, so cold feeling and fever are alternate and the symptom happens on a regular time like malaria. Moreover, the sticking together of heat and blood leads to blood stasis which interrupts the menstruation.

How the recipe works

Chai Hu is bitter in taste and neutral in nature. It works on the meridians of liver and gallbladder, releases the stagnation of Qi, and expels the pathogenic factor that stays on the position of Shaoyang. In this recipe, Chai Hu is called the monarch, because its dosage is the biggest and it performs the main therapeutic effect on the main symptoms.

Huang Qin is bitter in taste and cold in nature. It clears the heat in the position of Shaoyang. In this recipe, Huang Qin is called the minister, which performs a role to assist the monarch to treat the main symptoms.

Ban Xia and Sheng Jiang restore the harmony of the functions of the stomach, restore the status of moving downwards of the Qi that abnormally moves upwards, and stop vomiting.
Ren Shen and Da Zao strengthen Qi and invigorate the spleen. The healthy Qi is reinforced, so it is able to prevent the pathogenic factor from the further invasion, and expel the pathogenic factor from the body.

The pair of Ren Shen and Da Zao cooperates with the pair of Ban Xia and Sheng Jiang, restoring the harmony between the moving upwards of spleen-Qi and the moving downwards of stomach-Qi.

Zhi Gan Cao assists Ren Shen and Da Zao to strengthen the healthy Qi. Moreover, Zhi Gan Cao moderates the nature of herbs and make the herbs perform their roles in coordination.

Adding and removing herbs for adjusting the recipe

After drinking the decoction of Xiao Chai Hu Tang, the symptoms will be relieved without sweating or with sweating. If the healthy Qi is weak, after drinking the decoction, there will be cold feeling with chills first, and a fever with sweating follows. This condition means that the strengthened healthy Qi is coming back and expelling the pathogenic factor.

If the person feels restless and discomfort in the chest, but he doesn’t want to vomit, this means heat stays in the chest. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Ban Xia and Ren Shen, and add Gua Lou for clearing heat, regulating Qi and releasing the obstruction of the chest.

If the person is thirsty, it is because heat damages body fluid. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Ban Xia, and add Tian Hua Fen for promoting the generation of body fluid and relieving thirsty feeling.

If the abdomen feels pain, according to the theory of five elements, it is because the wood of the liver excessively restrains the earth of the spleen. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Huang Qin, and add Bai Shao for softening the liver, relieving spasm and stopping pain.

If something hard is felt in hypochondria, it is because of the stasis of phlegm. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Da Zao, and add Mu Li for softening hardness and removing the hard thing caused by the stasis of phlegm.

If there are palpitations, and urine decreases or urine is difficult to discharge, it is because retained water influences the heart. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Huang Qin, and add Fu Ling for promoting the discharge of water and calm the heart.

If the person is not thirsty, and the body temperature is slightly higher than normal, it means that the pathogenic factor still stays in the superficial position. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Ren Shen, and add Gui Zhi for expelling the pathogenic wind and release the obstruction of the superficial position.

If there is coughing, it is because there is coldness with the retention of phlegm in the hungs. The adjusting of the recipe is to remove Ren Shen, Da Zao and Sheng Jiang, and add Wu Wei Zi and Gan Jiang for warming the lungs and stop coughing.

REFERENCE:

Li, Ji, & Lian, Jianwei. (2016). Recipes of Traditional Chinese Medicine. China Press of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

NOTICE:

Some medicinal materials are not allowed to use in the EU. The knowledge of the article is based on the conditions of China. The actual use of medicinal materials in the EU complies with the regulations of the EU.

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