Product Primer: Xiao Chai Hu Wan

Product Primer: Xiao Chai Hu Wan

Xiao Chai Hu Wan is also known as Minor Bupleurum Decoction.  Tang means decoction, and Wan means Teapills.

This formula contains 3 primary herbs:

1: Chai Hu or Radix Bupleurui - This is the root from a flowering plant in the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family, commonly know as the carrot, celery, or parsley family.  Harmonizes Shao Yang, spreads Liver Qi, reduces fever.

2: Huang Qin or Radix Scutellariae - The root of a flowering plant in the Lamiaceae or mint family.  Clears Lung heat, calms Liver Yang.

3: Zhi Ban Xia or Rhizome Pinelliae Preparatum - The rhizome of a plant in the Araceae or Arum family.  Dries dampness, transforms phlegm, descends rebellious Qi, harmonizes the Stomach, stops vomiting.

Chinese Medicine Approach:

This formula harmonizes Shaoyang, a theoretical layer of the body that is considered to be the third of 6 layers in from the surface.  When pathogens are strong they can enter this deeply, causing alternating feelings of hot and cold, difficulty turning side to side, and a bitter taste in the mouth.  Shaoyang is associated with the side of the body.

This formula also supports the balance between Earth and Wood, helping to strengthen the Spleen and also course Liver Qi.  

Western Approach - This formula can help alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Dry throat, Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Stress, Nervousness, Irritability, Depression
  • Poor appetite, Abdominal pain
  • Headaches (side of head)
  • Earaches or Ear Infections
  • Morning Sickness
  • Influenza
  • The Common Cold
  • Laryngitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • TMJ
  • Infertility
  • IBS
  • Impotence
  • Mastitis
  • Allergic Rhinitis 
  • Supportive in recovery from some cancers


Evidence Based Review: 

This formula has been heavily studied for its effects on the immune system.  Multiple studies have been done on patients with cancer or with Hepatitis B.  Although this formula appears to be beneficial in some cases, long-term negative effects of Chai Hu must be factored into the treatment plan.  For further reading of studies, click here.

Our recommended usage:   

We recommend using Xiao Chai Hu Tang for acute or reoccurring bacterial or viral infections.  We also recommend this formula for some menstrual discomfort patterns.  Please contact us to see if this formula is the best match for you.  We advise regular use of 6 months or less.


Long term use of Chai Hu has been shown in studies to cause liver damage.  It is safe to take in certain dosages for certain periods of time, but it is best to consult with your Chinese medicine provider.

Contraindicated for those with bleeding gums or high blood pressure.  Acute Pneumonitis maybe associated with interferon in combination with this formula.

Synergistic (compounding, often helpful) Interactions:

  • Concurrent use of this formula and Interleukin 2 may have a synergistic anti-tumor effect against murine renal cell carcinoma.
  • Concurrent use of this formula and antiviral drugs such as zidovudine (AZT), lamivudine (3TC), or AZT plus 3TC may have a synergistic antiviral effect.
  • Concurrent use of this formula and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) may have a synergistic in treating of cancer.
  • This formula has a beneficial effect in preventing and/or treating damage induced by drugs such as halothane, danazol, D-galactosamine, and carbon tetrachloride.

Synergistic research compiled by Joel Penner O.M.D., L.Ac. of American Dragon Herbs

Recommendations by Kat Powers L.Ac.

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