When it comes to Xiang Sha, it refers to the common combination, aucklandia and amomum, used frequently in many Chinese herbal formulas for digestive diseases, such as Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang or Wan (Six Gentlemen Formula with Aucklandia and Amomum) and Xiang Sha Yang Wei Wan (Aucklandia Amomi Pills to Nourish the Stomach) and so on. The former, just as its name implies, is based on Liu Jun Zi Tang combining with the mentioned two herbs, both of which are good at promoting the flowing of Qi.
And, apparently, the addition here is intended to strengthen the functions of promoting Qi circulation, relieving dyspepsia, refreshing the spleen, and assisting transformation. No wonder this herbal prescription is especially fitting for those deficiency-excess mixing sufferers of damp-phlegm obstructing and Qi stagnation due to spleen and stomach Qi deficiency.
What is Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang?
This formula was first recorded in Gu Jin Ming Yi Fang Lun Volume II, Discussion of Ancient and Modern Famous Doctors’ Formulas, By Luo Mei, 1675. And it was changed into teapills in Wan San Gao Dan Ji Cheng (Collection of Medicinal Pills, Powders, Plasters, and Other Chinese Drugs), or called Xiang Sha Liu Jun Wan in Quan Guo Zhong Yao Cheng Yao Chu Fang Ji, published 1965.
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it falls into the category of tonic formulas. And main functions are to replenish Qi to invigorate the spleen, activate Qi, and eliminate phlegm.
Ren Shen – Ginseng Root;
Bai Zhu – Atractylodes (White) Rhizome;
Fu Ling – Poria, China Root;
Gan Cao – Licorice Root;
Chen Pi – Tangerine Peel;
Ban Xia – Pinellia Rhizome;
Sha Ren – Cardamon;
Mu Xiang – Costus Root;
Sheng Jiang – Fresh Ginger Rhizome.
Benefits and indications
Main uses and indications are vomit, lump-like feeling in the abdomen, poor appetite, abdominal distention and pain, emaciation, accidie, or turgidity. And it is mainly used for treatments of phlegm and retained fluid due to Qi deficiency, incoordination between the spleen and the stomach, and other derivative symptoms and signs. Now it is widely used in a variety of diseases provided they are caused by spleen-stomach Qi deficiency, such as gastritis, duodenal ulcer, bronchiectasis, and azotemia of chronic glomerulonephritis (GN), etc.
Dr. Yin ever used this formula combined with Shan Yao (Chinese Yam) to treat 14 cases of chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG) caused by spleen and stomach Qi deficiency, among which, 12 were cured, and 2 obviously effective. (1)
And Dr. Zhang Chuan Guang in Ju County ever observed the clinical effects of treating chronic ulcerous colonitis (UC) by modifying this prescription. Among 64 cases received 1 to 2 course of treatment, 48 cases, as a result, were cured, 14 effective, and 2 ineffective. The total effective rate was 96.9%.
Ke Qin, the famous TCM physician in Qing dynasty, ever had an excellent comment about this prescription. He emphasized again the importance of stomach Qi to the overall health of a person – if something wrong happened to this vital organ, all kinds of troubles might arise afterwards.
In terms of the pattern of spleen-stomach Qi deficiency and weak transformation, the major formula adopted in TCM practice is Si Jun Zi Tang, consisting of Ren Shen, Bai Zhu, Fu Ling and Gan Cao. All the four herbs are specialized in invigorating Qi and strengthening spleen, which earns them that elegant name of the four gentlemen. Later six gentlemen formula, by adding Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel) and Ban Xia (Pinellia Rhizome), was formulated on this basis to enhance the functions of regulating Qi and refreshing the spleen. And aucklandia and amomum were put in as well to reinforce the transformation of spleen and stomach – the auklandia and amomum six gentlemen decoction. Thanks to the optimal compatibility and proven curative effect, this formula has been the cipher prescription and used till now.
(1). If heavy heat stagnation combined, add Huang Qin (Scutellaria), Huang Lian (Coptis Rhizome), and Yi Yi Ren (Seeds of Job’s Tears);
(2). If serious abdominal pain combined, add Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis Rhizome) and Bai Zhi (Angelica Root);
(3). If blood in stools combined, adds Du Zhong (Eucommia Bark, charred);
(4).If deficient kidney combined, add Si Shen wan (Pill of Four Miraculous Herbs).
Potential side effects and contraindications
Basically Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Wan or Tang is considered safe to consume and with little side effect if used the right way. If in any doubt, or any further professional opinions needed, please consult an experienced herbalist before taking. TCM wise, unprocessed or cold food and heavy food should be avoided during taking it. In addition, please avoid it during pregnancy.
(1). LIAONING JOURNAL OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE, 1982, (7): 4.
(2). Gu Jin Ming Yi Fang Lun (Discussion of Ancient and Modern Famous Doctors’ Formulas, Volume II) By Luo Mei, Published in 1675.