Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer)

Ease PillsXiao Yao Wan, commonly called Free and Easy Wanderer in English-speaking countries, was once reviewed by Ye Tianshi, the famous physician in Qing Dynasty, as “a woman’s best medicine”. In ancient time, it was usually taken orally in the powder form. Hence, it is called Xiao Yao San too. As you can see, they are actually the same thing but in a different form. This formula is particularly designed for the syndromes caused by depressed liver and deficient spleen and failure of spleen in transportation. Thanks to its powerful function in reconciling liver and spleen, it has been one of highly regarded and mostly recommended herbal remedies by generation of TCM doctors. By the way, the word “Xiao Yao”, meaning “free and unfettered”, is taken from Zhuangzi, one of the most influential Chinese philosophical books written by Zhuangzi more than 2,300 years ago. As its name suggested, this pill is literally capable of making people, especially women, happy again. So, what does Xiao Yao Wan do? Let’s take a close look at it now.

Xiao Yao Wan ingredients

Due to different versions in translation, it has quite a few English names include Free and Easy Wanderer, Xiao Yao Pian (tablets), relaxx extract, Free & Easy Wanderer, Rambling powder pill, EaseTonicTM, EaseTonic, Bupleurum and Tang-Kuei Formula, Ease Pills, and so on. It is made of 8 Chinese herbs and the details are as follows:

1) Bupleurum (Chai Hu);
2) Dong Quai (Dang Gui);
3) White Peony Root (Bai Shao);
4) White Atractylodes (Bai Zhu);
5) Poria (Fu Ling);
6) Honey Fried Licorice Root (Zhi Gan Cao);
7) Mint Herb (Bo He);
8) Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang).

Among the above mentioned herbal ingredients, bupleurum serves as the monarch drug in this prescription to soothe the Liver and spread Liver Qi; Dong Quai and white peony assist and reinforce that action by nourishing blood and moistening liver; white atractylodes, Poria, and licorice root nourish the liver since they are good at invigorating spleen and supplementing qi and in turn helping blood production; ginger acts to warm the stomach to regulate the middle warmer; a little field mint cooperates bupleurum to soothe the liver and dissipate stagnated heat.

Mind you, today this pill is produced by many pharmaceutical firms, among which some tends to miss the ingredient of fresh ginger. This is simply because they have no idea at all the relationships among the ingredients. If ginger is absent from the ingredients listed on the medication instruction sheet, you’d better add it on your own. What you have to do is just cut a piece of fresh ginger, soak it with boiling water, and then take the pills with it. And it will worth your effort since it does work better to you.

By the way, many variants are derived from this famous recipe. Among them, the most common ones are Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (relaxx plus extract, free and easy wanderer plus), Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, and more.

Xiao Yao Wan benefits

This formula was first recorded in Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang (Tai Ping Imperial Grace Formulary), which was a medical formulary compiled on the request of the emperor in Song Dynasty, about 880 years ago. Later it was introduced to the West and there it has become one of the most prescribed Chinese patent medicines today. So, what is Xiao Yao wan used for? Well, here are the most common Xiao Yao Wan uses for your reference.

1) Hypochondriac pain, depression syndrome, low-grade fever, nodules of breast, hair loss, fertility problems, and others due to liver depression, anemia, and spleen deficiency. Specific manifestations include wandering flank pain and fullness, lack of appetite, belching or nausea and vomiting; mental depression and fatigue, no desire to eat; alternating periods of chills and fever, irritability, dull flank pain, and dizziness.

2) PMS (premenstrual syndrome). An experiment was ever conducted in order to find out the difference of pharmacodynamic effects between 300 cases of PMS prescribed with this pill and 200 cases treated with western medicine. The result showed that the efficacy of treatment group was much better than that of control group. That’s to say, there was significant statistical difference. As a result, a conclusion can be drawn that this is a specific medicine for PMS since it is found to have definite effects on PMS, and, more importantly, the long-term curative effect is quite stable.

3) Polymenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, vomiting blood or nosebleed during periods, and uterine bleeding. According to theories of Chinese herbal remedies, a woman is blood oriented. Blood is the essence extracted and transformed from consumption of cereal by the spleen and stomach. After blood is built it is under the control of the spleen and stored in liver. Once the liver qi is stagnated, it will thus cause qi stagnation and thus irregular menstruation; in the cases of long-term stagnation, it will be transformed into fire. And then Chong and Ren meridian will be injured by heat, which in turn results in Polymenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, vomiting blood or nosebleed during periods, uterine bleeding, and other syndromes.
As a commonly used prescription for reconciling the liver and spleen, clinically it is a very popular medication in treating women-only ailments, in particular those caused by liver depression and blood deficiency and transformed heat due to chronic stagnation. Thanks to these amazing healing abilities, it is able to make a difference in the treatment of disorders associated with menstrual cycle if used properly.

4) Breast diseases. It can be also used to treat rounded nodules on both sides of the breast, which are usually of varying sizes, hard or cystic in texture, movable if pushed, aggravated before period starts but reduced or totally gone after menstrual period, and with no clear edges. In addition, it is suitable for diagnosed mammary gland hyperplasia and cystic hyperplasia by Western medicine.

5) Men’s disorders as the result of liver depression, spleen deficiency, and blood deficiency. It is often stereotyped by some as a women medication, especially for regulating menstruation only. However, it is not true and in fact it works for both men and women. And this can be confirmed by tons of men’s medical cases recorded in ancient medical books.

Xiao Yao Wan side effects and contraindications

First off, it must be made clear that this is not a supplement but a drug that is used to treat illness, from the perspective of Chinese herbal medicine. To use it, the condition must fall into its indications – liver-qi depression, deficient spleen, and blood deficiency. So, don’t just trust your instincts and make your judgment subjectively. And it is highly recommended for you to see a TCM doctor for a thorough exam and accurate diagnosis before taking it. In addition, the matters needing attention are as follows:

1) Consult with your physician before taking if you are pregnant;
2) Avoid cold or raw foods in the process of taking this drug;
3) Try not to get mad or anxiety during the course;
4) You should hurry to the hospital for a checkup in the case of sudden delayed menstruation or little bit of lengthened bleeding since you have a normal menstruation before that;
5) Don’t take a medicine for colds simultaneously;
6) Use it according to the specified usage and dosage. And immediately stop it and turn to your physician once adverse reactions occur;
7) Don’t take it if the drug property has changed;
8) Please keep it out of children;
9) Please consult your physician before using this if you are using other medicines;
10) You should go to the hospital if no improvements are found 2 weeks after taking the medication;
11) Don’t use it if you are allergic to it or use it with care if you belong to allergic constitution;
12) It should not be used during breastfeeding and during pregnancy.

Some final thoughts

In fact, nowadays diseases caused by emotions are quite common since the modern lifestyle is often characterized as overwhelming environmental and mental stresses. In addition to poor emotional control and failure of letting go of negative feelings, it’s no surprise to see a long list of diseases caused by negative emotions these days. And that is exactly where Xiao Yao San (Free and Easy Wanderer) comes in as modern people are too easily influenced by emotions. However, you must accept that this formula can only give you a necessary boost when your bodies are newly defeated in a cruel battle and dying for help, just like any other medications. However, after that you need to learn how to outgrow it and use defense system of your body. That being said, to totally recover and be happy again, sometimes you have to be on you own and trust your capacity for self-adjustment. From this viewpoint, instead of saying that this article introduces a drug called Xiao Yao Wan, I’d like to say it is all about how to get a free, unfettered, and positive mindset. And finally, wish you a happy life ahead!

31 thoughts on “Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer)

  1. Pingback: Regulate and Harmonize the Liver and Spleen

  2. Diane

    I take it for SOD spasms and it took them away for the last year and a half with no side effects. It helps people with fall bladder issues roo

  3. Carla

    I have been prescribed by a TCM Dr.for all the above given reasons… bladder, liver, menstrual upsets and as mentioned above all the other problems that we accumulate living in an agressive world.

  4. Jon

    I enjoyed your insights in the final thoughts section, especially the part about trusting your own capacity for self-adjustment. Thank you for all the time put into this website. It is a great resource and I use it often.

  5. Truth

    TCM does not produce “doctors” it is illegal for a TCM practicioner to call themself a doctor

    White peoney root contains opiates

    1. UnbiasedTruth

      There are various Chinese medicine programs that have been approved for doctorate status.
      In California, with proper qualifications + licensing, a patient may choose their acupuncturist as their primary care physician. A licensed acupuncturist must complete a number of biomedical courses and will send out or refer a patient elsewhere for anything outside their knowledge base + scope of practice.

    2. Aimee Amann


      Although the root of P. lactiflora Pall. was believed to be effective in relieving various pain in traditional Chinese medicine, the direct evidence was not obtained in modern medicine until 1988 (Wang et al., 1988). TGP suppressed writhing induced by intraperitoneal injection of acetic acid, squeak induced by footpad stimulation with electricity, and hot-plate reaction in mice and/or rats in a dose-dependent manner. Naloxone failed to abolish these effects of TGP. These data verified the analgesic effect of TGP in various animal models of pain, and suggest the effect is not mediated by the opiate receptors. The analgesic effect of TGP was further confirmed by subsequent studies (Gao et al., 2002; Lee et al., 2008; Ou-Yang, 2008). Recently, it was demonstrated that paeoniflorin, a chief active ingredient in the root of P. lactiflora Pall., is effective in relieving colorectal distention (CRD)-induced visceral pain in rats with visceral hyperalgesia induced by neonatal maternal separation. Furthermore, analgesic effect of paeoniflorin is mediated, at least in part, by adenosine A1 receptor (Zhang et al., 2009).

      Go to:

      Also worong. PCOM produces Licensed TCM practitioners who are Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc) or Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM)

    3. Lianne

      In some states you can actually call yourself a doctor of oriental medicine. It depends on your training. Just FYI. 🙂 And just because peony root contains opiates doesn’t mean the formula is going to have side effects like opiates do. Poppy seeds also contain opiates but are completely safe to eat on your bagel. 🙂 These formulas are sophisticated enough where they are not going to make the patient hallucinate- I assure you.

    4. Cindy

      Not true in my state. My partner is a doctor of oriental medicine and acupuncture physician in Florida. Licensure laws vary and you need to be careful before insulting people in other states.

    5. sherry

      Why don’t you stick to what you know and research before posting ignorance. TCMD is a regulated profession. TCMDs listen,care and actually investigate what is wrong with the patient, taking over an hour with them each visit. Instead of 5 mins.

    6. Jovana

      That’s an ignorant comment. Any student of TCM or OM can become a TCM/OMD doctor if he/she pursues the degree. After becoming licensed Acupuncturist, he/she can take more classes and continue with education, that also includes a research and BECOME a doctor.

    7. Chris D.

      NOT TRUE! TCM practitioners are called OMDs Oriental Medical Doctor Sorry not MD of course. Not sure where you are but this is true in the US.


    Hi since i started this xao yao wan i go toilet every 3 days before i started this medicine i used to go every day why does xiao yao wan cause me constipation explain this ASAP PLZ

  7. Ariana

    Hi… Im depress and also have anxiety my doctor
    Prescription anti depression + anxiety.. But my dad told me chinese herbs will help me better.. Any one know if is good for all this…

    1. Daniel

      Ariana :
      Hi… Im depress and also have anxiety my doctor
      Prescription anti depression + anxiety.. But my dad told me chinese herbs will help me better.. Any one know if is good for all this…

      Ariana, it is best to get diagnosed by a TCM practitioner who will find the best formula for you.
      But in general, yes, it is best to avoid the pharmaceutical drugs. they do not heal the root cause and cause more harm than good.

    2. Frances

      My doctor wanted me to take anti axiety meds for anxiety and despression. I did not want to, so I went to accupuncturist. She gave me these to take and, along with acupuncture, lots of exercise, counseling, and eating really healthy, I finially have a handle on my anxiety and depression.

    3. Diana

      Yes! It is wonderful!!! I’ve been on Free and Easy Wonderer for over 15 years, and I have had only GOOD things to say about it. Forget the conventional medicine that only covers up the symptoms—-of course, that is up to you.

      Good luck and good health!

  8. Janet

    My son, who is 16 years old has been on an anti anxiety medication for 4 years. He started experiencing a lot of anxiety after his Dad passed away 6 years ago. I did not feel good about putting him on this medication and resisted at first, but eventually gave in. The medication never took all of his anxiety away. Over the past few months it has gotten worse. I was referred to a Chinese doctor who did accupuncture and prescribed Relaxed Wanderer and another herb for his liver. We waited until he was completely off his medication before starting even though she said he could take it while we were slowly taking him off his medicaton. My son is scared to take this because he thinks she is not a “regular” doctor. Since being completely off the anxiety medication for about a week now, he is still experiencing side effects such as headaches and nauseousness. I had to beg him this morning to start taking the herbs. I’m trying to make him understand going natural will be much better for him, and its not just one thing that will make him better. Its all about eating right, exercise, rest and having a positive outlook. I would appreciate any feedback so I can make him understand this is the way to go.

    1. Fran

      I have to wonder if your son was on something like Lexapro any of those serotonin uptake Inhibitors are very very dangerous ! I was on Lexapro years ago because I would feel like I had gridlock literally a traffic jam in my head from mild brain damage and post-concussive Syndrome from when I was in a bad car accident . I only wanted to be on it for a few months but it is almost impossible to get off of because you go through the worst nightmarish kind of withdrawals …finally after 5 years I went cold turkey which was a huge mistake and don’t recall sleeping at all for 2 weeks, which, needless to say will make you experience something similar to psychosis or at least wandering from room to room in a stupor… worse yet the pressure and headaches were unbearable.. I did research and found out this is the most common complaint of people getting off of Lexapro.. I had to do large doses of cod liver oil and salmon oil and any other healthy oils like flaxseed to nourish my brain which was so much more injured by Lexapro than it ever was by me almost being killed in a car accident where the car flipped over and kept on going..
      There used to be a lot more vids here on YouTube about the horrors of Lexapro and even a former pharmaceutical sales rep who went public about how dangerous Lexapro is after her own niece committed suicide from it… I believe your son is experiencing the after effects of having been on Big Pharma drugs for anything longer than two or three months all you have to know is this : a doctor told my brother years ago big Pharma drugs TAKE AWAY something that your body needs to be healthy… natural medicines ,herbal cures Etc give your body something it needs to be healthy also your son might be going through the Dark Night of the Soul otherwise called the Dukkha Nanas in Buddhism and in that case the best person to deal with him is a real true Tibetan Buddhist Lama preferably actually a real Tibetan and not a white Westerner …a real true Shaman whether from Siberia or the jungles of the Amazon can help you and those Tibetan Buddhist Lamas are indeed shaman …some people only go through the Dark Night of the soul for a few weeks or months ;others will go in and out of it for years.. your son can look on YouTube and do the yogas for getting rid of fear also called yogas for the third chakra also called yogas for the manipura chakra ,also called yoga for the solar plexus chakra …should also meditate if he doesn’t although if he was on a certain uptake inhibitor good luck with having any concentration ..oh by the way did I mention that it COMPLETELY DESTROYED my MEMORY and I was like somebody with alzheimer’s and it rendered me dysfunctional …were not for a living with a family member I would have been homeless… I could not even remember how to reboot the computer …I healed myself… I am almost 100% better also please have your son do the Super Brain yoga which is also here on YouTube he will look for the vid that is an excerpt from a newscast it is about 4 minutes 18 seconds long basically you’re doing squats what they don’t tell you is the tongue must be up in the back of the roof of the mouth towards the palate this is very important and he must learn to do reps of this Super Brain yoga if he can do 10 then he should learn to do 10 in the morning 10 in the afternoon 10 around dinner time and then increase the Reps but I am telling you within 3 to 4 days you will see a huge difference superbrain yoga is for any and all neurological problems including dyslexia and autism and early Alzheimer’s good luck with your son.
      Sorry for not using paragraphs and having this look very hard on the eyes but usually these things don’t let you put many words in here

    2. Aleks

      Hi Janet,
      His case is similar to mine I am now 28 years have my second wave of anxiety, its always the same panick attacks, fast pulse, short breath, headache, fatique drowsiness depenss but symptoms are rotating…my dad passed away when I was 12 i think I got trauma from that and the anxiety came to me after a while but escalated when I was 18 it lasted a while I tried everything and trust me the drugs will help whole taking but once he s off symptoms will come back … try taking him to energy healing check a proven person with strong background this helped me lose the fear and anxiety, unfortunately its back from couple weeks back and I let it take me over so now I am visiting accupuncture but I can not finish the sessions as I am getting panic attack while lying on the bed alone… so my advice as he Is young make him go out with friends alot let him meet girlfriends and make him busy woth something … All my anxiety is coming when I am extremly bored and I procrastinate unfortunatelly I am working now and its affecting me alot more than when I was young but if he s 16 try to make him forget all this as it will be oart of his life again visit energy Healer this will help alot by the way I am taking xiao yao wan for 2 elweeks habent felt anything

    3. Claudia Martinez

      Diagnosed PTSD and severe anxiety, so scared and even more anxious to be on big pharma drugs, I started acupuncture and xiao yao wan and I’m telling you it works, I replied to your post because I know what it’s like to live in fear everyday with anxiety, give this a try, you have only the anxiety to lose, best wishes.

  9. Kersey

    Janet – I’ve been doing Chinese herbs for 30+ years for stress and anxiety and have had good results. In addition to herbs, I recommend you try Emotional Freedom Technique (search EFT on YouTube) and Dr. Bach Rescue Remedy (at health food stores). You are correct about diet, exercise and rest…my friends tease me for having an extensive self-care wellness program (including massage 2X/month). However, I am the calmest and happiest among my friends and given a family history of depression/anxiety/CFS, I feel certain that all the above components in total contribute to my overall health and well-being!

  10. Cari almanza

    Hello, I am taking the herbal medication to help me balance my hormones. My mentrual cycle is normal but I do get awful cramps. Now, reading about what the medication does to help and since I have no other issues, does that mean that i given the wrong medication? Should I stop taking it?

    1. Corrine

      Cari almanza my acupuncturist and herbalist told me specifically not to yake it during menstruation as it’s unnecessary during that time. I can’t elaborate much more than that, but try removing it during your period.

  11. Amy Lilienfeld

    I was recently diagnosed with spleen/liver deficiency by a TCM doctor which I think I have had for MANY years, like 30 or more? I believe this was the root cause of many gynecological problems such as fibroids and related hemorrhagic bleeding and other health problems that “western medicine” simply has not effectively addressed . Although I am delighted to have found a diagnosis that finally explains all the things that I have suffered with and encouraged about possible treatment for it I unfortunately cannot afford the twice per week acupuncture the doctor is recommending. He said, as “Plan B”, I could do acupuncture once per week but would have to take this xiao yao wan also. Unfortunately, however, so far I do not feel well at all when I take it, i.e., very very tired, lethargic (mentally and physically) and depressed. (and it does have ginger in it, I just checked for that). Although I will check with him about this on my next visit, I would be grateful if you could tell me if that means I should not take it anymore? THANKS in advance for your reply! I love this web site!

  12. An

    Ik gebruik relaxed wanderer al 5 jaar.
    Ik neem er twee in voor het slapen. Ik slaap heerlijk en voel me de hele dag ontspannen
    Ik ben hoogsensitief en migrainegevoelig.
    Dit middel is super!
    Niet schadelijk en niet duur bovendien!

  13. Pinstar

    I bought this to try to manage PMT (pre menstrual anxiety, quick temper, easy crying, loss of confidence). I noticed a n improvement in energy and motivation but I found that stopping it from 8-10 pills three times daily caused a drop in mood and confidence. I also found that I could not take it in the evening (I used 8,7,5 (latest 4-5pm) dosing) as I was struggling to sleep.
    The ‘withdrawal’ only lasted a few days though.
    bought this to replace (without consultation with a TCM practitioner) Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan which I was using for haemorrhoids and mild (post childbirth) pelvic floor laxity, and interestingly, I found that this improved my energy and mood and was a better balance for me.
    Regarding antidepressants, there is evidence to say that these drugs have a host of possible side effects and that benefits have been overstaed and risks understated. Approach with caution, and monitor changes physically and psychologically.


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