nDō : management of Endometriosis and dysmenorrhea

Endometriosis is a pelvic inflammatory process with altered immune surveillance in the local peritoneal microenvironment. A local inflammatory microenvironment will sustain the growth and maintenance of endometriosis through endometrial-peritoneal adhesion, invasion, angiogenesis, and proliferation. The inflammation process in endometriosis causes pelvic pain and infertility, two major symptoms of endometriosis.

nDō is an evidence-based Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulation that has been shown to be effective in the management of Endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and reproductive diseases compromising female fertility. This formula targets multiple therapeutic pathways and provides powerful analgesic properties, reduces inflammation, promotes anti-angiogenic activity, and modulates the immune system.

Primary Indications

• Endometriosis, • Dysmenorrhea, • Infertility

Signs / Symptoms

  • Pain lower abdomen abdominal fullness / cramping lower back, pelvis, rectum, or vagina
  • Dyspareunia
  • Ovulation pain
  • Painful passage of stools
  • Menstrual abnormalities PMS
  • Irregular menstruation, painful menstruation spotting
  • Passage of clots
  • Headache

Primary Action

• Analgesic

• Anti-spasmodic

• Anti-coagulant

• Anti-inflammatory

• Anti-adhesive

• Anti-angiogenesis

• Anti-metastatic

• Anti-proliferative

• Antioxidant

• Immunomodulatory

• Promotes blood circulation


Foeniculi Fructus (Xiao hui xiang)
Zingiberis Rhizoma (Gan jiang)
Corydalis Rhizoma (Cu yan hu suo)
Myrrha (Mo yao)
Chuanxiong Rhizoma (Chuan xiong)
Angelica Sinensis Radix (Dang gui)
Radix Paeoniae Rubra (Chi shao)
Cortex Cinnamomi (Rou gui)
Typhae Pollen (Pu huang)
Vaccariae semen (Wang Bu Liu Xing)

Adult Dosage: 3 capsules twice day.

If severe: 3 capsules 3 times a day for 6 weeks then reduce to 2 twice daily for another 6 weeks.



High oestrogen: combine with anti-EST: 2 – 4 capsules daily

Puerarin: 1 capsule a day



Contraindicated during pregnancy

Not recommended for use if there is excessive / heavy menstruation bleeding

Not recommended with anti-coagulant therapy


information gathered from Panaxea website https://au.panaxea.com/ndo.html

Chinese Herbal medicine for high blood pressure

Chinese Herbal medicine for high blood pressure:HYPERTENSION high blood pressure

The herbal formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can sometimes be of assistance for regulating high blood pressure. The key to success in using TCM for high blood pressure is to make sure that the herbs you use, are unique for your combination of symptoms.

Don’t be surprised if your conventionally educated doctor is skeptical of using TCM as part of your plan to control hypertension. It’s not something they teach in medical school (at least not outside of China). However, both acupuncture and 17 different Chinese herbal medicines have been tested in 73 clinical trials involving 8,138 patients. In these studies, several findings stand out:

  • Chinese herbal formulas that are prepared by companies that use Good Manufacturing Practices are safe. None of the 73 clinical studies of professionally prepared Chinese herbal formulas reported any serious side effects.
  • Chinese herbal formulas do not make a huge difference in blood pressure numbers. The 13 herbal formulas found to be generally effective lowered systolic blood pressure (the higher number or first number) by 3.94 to 13.50 mm Hg. They lowered diastolic blood pressure (the lower number or second number) by 2.28 to 11.25 mm Hg. This means they  aren’t strong enough to reduce blood pressure for severe hypertension, but they may save you having to take prescription medication if you have “borderline” high blood pressure.
  • Chinese herbal formulas get results comparable to prescription medications. For example, one study compared a calcium channel blocker, nifedipine, with an over the counter Chinese herbal product Quan Tianma. There were no more incidents of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, transient ischemic attack, kidney failure, or retinopathy among hypertensives who were treated with Quan Tianma than with people who were treated with nifedipine. 

high blood pressure 2Your results depend on whether the formula you take matches your symptoms. Chinese herbal formulas that treat hypertension are never just about hypertension. They are for lowering your blood pressure while treating your other symptoms.  Of course, certain symptom patterns are more common than others so certain herbal formulas are more commonly prescribed.

  • A survey of doctors in Taiwan found that the most often used herbal formula for high blood pressure is a combination called Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin.  In English, this formula is usually called Gastrodia and Uncaria Decocotion. Clinical trials confirm that it lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. Researchers have confirmed that it acts as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, in much the same way as the prescription drugs lisinopril or ramipril, but without their side effects. It usually gets results in about 10 days, but there is a major contraindication: Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin can increase insulin resistance. This means that it can aggravate prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. You should not take this product if you have problems with blood sugar control.
  • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is not frequently prescribed, but it may be added to treatment with Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin when there are weak pulses in the hands or feet. Laboratory experiments have confirmed that it prevents the formation of blood clots. This well-known formula is sometimes called “Drive Out Stasis” in the Mansion of Blood Decoction, referring to its ability to reinvigorate the flow of blood throughout the body.
  • The second most frequently prescribed herbal product for hypertension in Taiwan is a single herb called Dan Shen. It is also known by its botanical name, Salvia miltiorrhiza. Even though Taiwanese physicians prescribe Dan Shen to about 17% of their hypertensive patients, over 500,000 times per year, there have been no reported side effects in over 50 years. Clinical trials have confirmed that it lowers blood pressure, prevents blood clots, and slows down the process of atherosclerosis. It is often used for people who have high blood pressure and already have heart disease or hardening of the arteries in the brain, because laboratory studies confirm that it improves microcirculation through the capillaries of the heart and brain. However, it should not be used with aspirin (which makes it less effective), warfarin/Coumadin (because the herb and the drug used together have an excessive anticoagulant effect), ginseng (because the two herbs have opposing effects), or the tranquilizer diazepam (because Dan Shen increases the activity of liver enzymes that break down diazepam).
  • Gou Teng San, which is also known as Uncaria Powder, is a headache remedy that is also prescribed for high blood pressure. It would be most often prescribed when a patient complains of headache, dizziness, and/or blurred vision, and the doctor notices that blood pressure is high. Clinical studies confirm that it lowers blood pressure. The formula is also used to treat dementia, but the fact that you are prescribed it does not mean you have dementia.
  • Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, which is also known as Augmented Rambling Powder, is primarily a treatment for problems associated with menopause, especially insomnia and hot flushes. This formula is most likely to be used to treat “borderline” high blood pressure in women going through menopause. The formula  is modification with the addition of herbs  “Rambling” Powder, so named because it allowed younger women to ramble freely during their painful periods. 
  • The single herb Gou Gen (Uncaria) is used to treat high blood pressure in those relatively rare people who are truly salt sensitive. It’s also used to treat “phlegm,” which roughly corresponds to health problems that result from years of misdirected energy. If you are overweight, and having problems with cholesterol and blood sugars, then this herb might be helpful for you.

All of these herbal products are readily available from Chinese herbal practitioners. You should always seek the advice of a registered practitioner for the most safe and accurate diagnosis. For your health safety and peace of mind, your Chinese Medicine Practitioner should be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Remember, a treatment for high blood pressure has to lower your blood pressure. Take your blood pressure readings regularly and any medications your doctor prescribes. Use Chinese herbal medicine to make that critical difference that keeps your cardiovascular system healthy.


Any new changes should be consulted with your medical practitioner 

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog. If you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Ju Hua : Chrysanthemum

Ju Hua : Chrysanthemum


Ju Hua, which is also known as Flos Chrysanthemi  or simply as chrysanthemum flower, is one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s herbs to “release the exterior.” In the ancient natural medicine of China, diseases were thought of as energies that attacked the exterior of the body and worked their way inside. Sometimes the body could trap these “evil” energies in its outer layers so that they could only cause “outer” symptoms, like headache, neck ache, sore throat, or runny nose. Chrysanthemum flower was one of the herbs used to let a “wind evil” or “pernicious cold” go on its way back into nature so the body could be free of its symptoms.


Not surprisingly, there are many ways in which the scientifically documented actions of chrysanthemum flower illustrate its symbolic uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here are just a few.

  • Ju Hua is mildly anesthetic. A chemical called N-isobutyl-6-(2-thienyl)-2E,4E-hexadienamide extracted from a species of chrysanthemum called  Chrysanthemum morifolium has relieves mild pain.[1]
  • Ju Hua is strongly antibacterial. The flowers and other above-ground parts of a species of chrysanthemum known as Chrysanthemum viscidehirtum contains a variety of essential oils that kill 21 kinds of bacteria, including Salmonella and Proteus, which cause food poisoning and persistent skin infections, respectively. [2]The important thing to understand about these essential oils is that they evaporate if the tea made with chrysanthemum is boiled. It has to be steeped in hot water, not in boiling water, and it’s best brewed in a pot, not in a cup.
  • Ju Hua is antiviral. A variety of compounds extracted from Chrysanthemum morifoliumare strongly active against HIV (and these compounds survive heating the herb in boiling water).[3] For other kinds of viral infections, including the viruses that cause herpes, chicken pox, and shingles, chrysanthemum flower is anti-inflammatory, fighting the effects of the virus if not the virus itself.[4]
  • Ju Hua is It does not stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin.[5] Instead, plant chemicals in the herb make the muscles and liver more sensitive to insulin.[6] Both actions lower blood sugar levels, but increasing insulin sensitivity avoids the long-term problem of “burn out” of the insulin-making cells of the pancreas and also reduces weight gain.
  • Ju Hua fights gout. It contains chemicals that interfere with the enzyme xanthine oxidase,[7] which is involved in the production of the uric acid crystals that accumulate in joints and cause pain.
  • Ju Hua is part of an excellent natural mosquito repellant. It is the only natural product that is very nearly as effective as the commercial product DEET. In a field test in Ethiopia, a chrysanthemum flower extract repelled 96.0% of mosquitoes, compared to 97.9% for DEET.[8]


ju hua

Most Chinese herbs have to be consumed as teas along with other herbs prescribed by a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ju Hua can be consumed beneficially all by itself as a refreshing tea. The key to making a healing herbal tea of Ju Hua is steeping the herb in hot water that is not yet boiling. Many of the essential oils that have healing properties are volatile and escape the tea if it is made with boiling water. It’s also best to make the tea in a teapot, not in a cup (unless you brew the tea with a plate over the top of the cup). Ju Hua tea can be enjoyed hot, warm, or iced. It is safe with any prescription drugs you make take and it does not react with any food.





[1] Shahat, A. A., Apers, S., Pieters, L., and Vlietinck, A. J. Isolation and complete NMR assignment of the numbing principle from Chrysanthemum morifolium. Fitoterapia 2001;72(1):89-91.

[2] Wang, H., Ye, X. Y., and Ng, T. B. Purification of chrysancorin, a novel antifungal protein with mitogenic activity from garland chrysanthemum seeds. Biol.Chem. 2001;382(6):947-951.

[3] Wang, H., Ye, X. Y., and Ng, T. B. Purification of chrysancorin, a novel antifungal protein with mitogenic activity from garland chrysanthemum seeds. Biol.Chem. 2001;382(6):947-951.

[4] Huang, C. J. and Wu, M. C. Differential effects of foods traditionally regarded as ‘heating’ and ‘cooling’ on prostaglandin E(2) production by a macrophage cell line. J Biomed Sci 2002;9(6 Pt 2):596-606.

[5] Hussain Z, Waheed A, Qureshi RA, et al. The effect of medicinal plants of Islamabad and Murree region of Pakistan on insulin secretion from INS-1 cells. Phytother Res 2004;18:73-7.

[6] Chen, S. H., Sun, Y. P., and Chen, X. S. [Effect of jiangtangkang on blood glucose, sensitivity of insulin and blood viscosity in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1997;17(11):666-668.

[7] Kong LD, Cai Y, Huang WW, et al. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by some Chinese medicinal plants used to treat gout. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73:199-207.

[8] Hadis M, Lulu M, Mekonnen Y, Asfaw T. Field trials on the repellent activity of four plant products against mainly Mansonia population in western Ethiopia. Phytother Res 2003;17:202-5.



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine

Gan Cao – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza

Gan caoGan Cao – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza


Licorice / Gan Cao  in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Licorice is a common herbal tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Appearing in hundreds of herbal formulas, this familiar root with the unforgettable taste comes in two forms:

Gan Cao (甘草), raw, unprocessed licorice root, and

Zhi Gan Cao (炙甘草), “honey-fried,” processed licorice root.

The distinction makes a difference in how the herbs work to support health.

Raw licorice, Gan Cao, has a “raw” effect on the movement of the mysterious energy called Chi. Raw licorice adds energy to the Spleen, which is a metaphor for the general digestive function.  When the digestive tract does not have the energy to complete the digestion of food, and is releasing undigested food through loose bowels, raw licorice gives it extra energy so that diarrhea stops. When the abdomen does not have the energy to hold its muscles in their normal relationship, raw licorice energizes them to stop spasms and pain. Raw licorice also detoxifies substances that take the body’s normal Chi. And it “guides” the energies of other herbs in a formula into their proper Chi channels.

Processed licorice, Zhi Gan Cao, is usually a “made to order” item in a Chinese herbal apothecary. It doesn’t sit around for months waiting to be sold. It’s cooked, usually in honey, for immediate use.

honey fried Gan cao

The process of “frying” the herb in honey enables Zhi Gan Cao to “harmonize” other energies, not just those of the digestive tract, but also those of the heart. Zhi Gan Cao might be added to a formula when one of the symptoms is a weak pulse, or low blood pressure. But it may also be added to a formula when one of the symptoms is melancholy, not having the “heart” to face a life situation.

It turns out that the traditional understanding of licorice in energy terms mirrors the modern scientific understanding of licorice in pharmaceutical terms.

Taking Too Much Licorice for Too Long Can Result in Hypertension and Hypokalemia

It’s well known from medical observation that taking using too much raw licorice (Gan Cao) per day or processed licorice (Zhi Gan Cao) in herbal teas can have two untoward effects. First of all, there can be high blood pressure, sometimes dangerously high blood pressure. This is the natural result of “energizing” the heart. Secondly, the body responds to licorice by lowering potassium levels. The resulting hypokalemia (low serum potassium) can result in a variety of heart-related problems, including ventricular tachycardia and in some cases ventricular fibrillation followed by cardiac arrest. Perturbations of potassium levels can cause weakness, swelling, and occasionally encephalopathy, swelling of the brain.

How much Gan Cao / licorice is too much?

  • If you don’t have an underlying health problem, it is generally dangerous to take more than 20 g of licorice per day in teas for more than six weeks. If you don’t have high blood pressure, you may develop it.[1]
  • The life-threatening manifestations of licorice poisoning occur only after consumption of vastly more licorice than any practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine would ever prescribe. There is a case report of a woman who recovered from brainstem swelling and muscle breakdown after taking licorice—but she was using a pound (about 450 grams) a day, not the 5 to 15 grams a day that would appear in a professionally prescribed herbal formula.[2] It’s important to remember that licorice is a “medicine,” not a food.
  • To be on the safe side, most authorities recommend that people who already have high blood pressure should not take more than 5 g of licorice per day in teas or herbal formulas. If you have high blood pressure, a professionally trained herbalist will notice, and will not prescribe you too much. But you do need to be able to remember how much licorice you have already had in any given day before you take more. If you have memory problems, leave licorice alone.[3]

What’s Gan Cao / Licorice Good For?

Don’t let the fact that licorice has to be taken in moderate amounts discourage you from using it with professional guidance to support good health. Here are some of the evidence-based applications of the herb:gan cao

  • Licorice extracts can relieve hot flashes associated with menopause. A clinical trial in Iran found that taking 1140 mg of licorice extract a day was more effective at reducing the duration of hot flashes than estrogen replacement therapy, but that estrogen replacement therapy was more effective than licorice for reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Both products work, but they work in different ways.[4] Extract taken 1140 mg a day is usually a safe dose of licorice for women who don’t already have high blood pressure.
  • Licorice creams fight eczema. Both traditional herbal teas and skin creams that contain licorice will relieve itching and redness caused by eczema or atopic dermatitis, but there’s no dangerous of overdose if you use the cream. Clinical studies prove that the creams work. In one clinical trial, applying gel formulations containing 1% or 2% licorice root extract three times daily for 2 weeks seems to reduce erythema by 35% to 61%, edema by 57% to 84%, and itching by 44% to 73%. The stronger, 2% licorice cream works better than the 1% cream.[5]
  • Licorice teas relieve indigestion. Clinical testing in Germany has shown that various herbal teas that contain licorice and peppermint as their main ingredients relieve acid reflux, belching, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. What’s important to remember is that these teas don’t contain just licorice. They also contain other herbs such as the previously mentioned peppermint, and caraway, lemon balm, or the oddly named clown’s mustard. [6]Use a commercial product that has already measured out these herbs for you. Take it after meals.
  • Using deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) as a mouthwash relieves the pain of canker sores fast. The kind of licorice you use for canker sores is neither Gan Cao or Zhi Gan Cao. It’s an extract of licorice that has removed the glycyrrhizin that can interfere with potassium balance. It’s safe to swallow the mouthwash as long as it is made with DGL, not any other form of licorice. A clinical trial in India found that DGL mouthwashes relieved canker sore pain in 75% of patients in just one day, and completely healed canker sores in 75% of patients in three days.[7]
  • Licorice creams can also lighten age spots, although you won’t find an effective product that contains just Applying a topical cream (Clariderm Clear, Stiefel Laboratories Inc., Guarulhos, SP, Brazil) containing licorice, emblica, and belides twice daily for 60 days is as effective as a cream containing 2% hydroquinone for lightening the skin in patients with age spots (melasma). The advantage of this herbal product over the more commonly used hydroquinone is that the herbs remove brown pigments without the side effect (usually on people with golden skin tones) of adding blue pigment.[8]

Licorice / Gan Cao in Herbal Products Best Used Under a Doctor’s Supervision

There are also specialized uses of licorice with other herbs that get remarkable results, but you can only get these products from your doctor.

  • Stabilizing hepatitis C. Stronger Minophagen C is a prescription formulation of glycyrrhizin extracted from licorice that stops liver damage caused by hepatitis C long enough to stabilize patients so they can receive other treatments. It has to be given by IV, but it reduces mortality from hepatitis C by about 50%.[9] Used long-term, it also reduces the risk of liver cancer in people who have active hepatitis C.[10]
  • Lowering cholesterol. A preliminary clinical trial found that taking 100 mg of licorice extract every day for a month one month reduced plasma total cholesterol levels by 5%, plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 9%, and plasma triglyceride levels by 14% compared with baseline in patients with moderately high cholesterol.[11] You could try this on your own, but don’t use any licorice product for high cholesterol for more than one month at a time, and keep your consumption of extract limited to 100 mg a day.

There are even more exciting applications of licorice in combination with other herbs that you would get through a medically trained doctor of both western and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The licorice based formula sho-saiko-to has clinically proven efficacy against hepatitis B, although it absolutely, positively must not be given to people who have had interferon treatment.  Licorice and Peony Decoction can affect not just how women lactate, but also how they relate to their babies. Dozens of formulas that contain licorice can be useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic and duodenal ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.

But don’t attempt to use complex formulas entirely on your own. See a specialist trained in herbal medicine. Take advantage of the best professional health to get the best results of licorice in its many forms for supporting your good health.

[1] Sigurjonsdottir HA, Ragnarsson J, Franzson L, Sigurdsson G. Is blood pressure commonly raised by moderate consumption of liquorice? J Hum Hypertens 1995;9:345-8.

[2] Chatterjee, N., Domoto-Reilly, K., Fecci, P. E., Schwamm, L. H., and Singhal, A. B. Licorice-associated reversible cerebral vasoconstriction with PRES. Neurology 2010;75(21):1939-1941.

[3] Janse A, van Iersel M, Hoefnagels WH, Olde Rikker MG. The old lady who liked liquorice: hypertension due to chronic intoxication in a memory-impaired patient. Neth J Med 2005;63:149-50.

[4] Menati L, Khaleghinezhad K, Tadayon M, Siahpoosh A. Evaluation of contextual and demographic factors on licorice effects on reducing hot flashes in postmenopause women.Health Care Women Int. 2014 Jan;35(1):87-99. doi: 10.1080/07399332.2013.770001. Epub 2013 May 10. PMID: 23663094.

[5] Saeedi, M., Morteza-Semnani, K., and Ghoreishi, M. R. The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. J Dermatolog Treat 2003;14(3):153-157.

[6] Madisch A, Holtmann G, Mayr G, et al. Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a herbal preparation. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Digestion 2004;69:45-52.

[7] Das SK, Das V, Gulati AK, and et al. Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice in aphthous ulcers. J Assoc Physicians India 1989;37(10):647.

[8] Costa, A., Moises, T. A., Cordero, T., Alves, C. R., and Marmirori, J. Association of emblica, licorice and belides as an alternative to hydroquinone in the clinical treatment of melasma. An Bras Dermatol 2010;85(5):613-620.

[9] Acharya SK, Dasarathy S, Tandon A, et al. A preliminary open trial on interferon stimulator (SNMC) derived from Glycyrrhiza glabra in the treatment of subacute hepatic failure. Indian J Med Res 1993;98:69-74.

[10] Arase, Y., Ikeda, K., Murashima, N., Chayama, K., Tsubota, A., Koida, I., Suzuki, Y., Saitoh, S., Kobayashi, M., and Kumada, H. The long term efficacy of glycyrrhizin in chronic hepatitis C patients. Cancer 1997;79(8):1494-1500.

[11] Fuhrman, B., Volkova, N., Kaplan, M., Presser, D., Attias, J., Hayek, T., and Aviram, M. Antiatherosclerotic effects of licorice extract supplementation on hypercholesterolemic patients: increased resistance of LDL to atherogenic modifications, reduced plasma lipid levels, and decreased systolic blood pressure. Nutrition 2002;18(3):268-273.



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chai Hu, aka Bupleurum

Chai  Hu

Leaves and flowers of Bupleurum gibraltaricum

The Chinese herb Chai Hu, also known by its botanical name Bupleurum falcatum or just as “bupleurum”, is a mainstay of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM uses bupleurum as one of many ingredients in herbal formulas, although scientific researchers have found unique uses for single unique components of the plant.

What Is Chai Hu?

Chai Hu is an Asian member of the same plant family as carrots and parsley. It flowers in umbels, spherical clusters of dozens of tiny flowers that appear at the top of the plant. This herb was not used in TCM in ancient times, but it has appeared in dozens of herbal “recipes” over the last 500 years.

What Is the Traditional Understanding of How Chai Hu Works?

Traditional Chinese Medicine described the effects of herbs in terms of metaphors that guided practitioners to practical uses of plants. Chai Hu was described as a “cooling” plant. That does not mean it literally lowered temperature. Instead, it corrected hyperactive energies.

In the “Liver,” which[according to TCM] ancient herbalists understood as the place emotions were stored, Chai Hu relieved blockages or stagnation of the Qi energy. Chai Hu was included into a formula to assist release emotion constraints,  so that they did not congeal into physical problems in other parts of the body. These constraints of of Liver Qi energy would and could manifest at liver, breasts and or eyes conditions .

In the “Spleen,” Chai Hu contributed to reduce the effects of gastrointestinal upset. It stopped vomiting, relieved pressure on the chest and took away [any] bitter or metallic tastes that linger in the mouth.

Chai Hu also helped the Qi flow through a channel called the Middle Jiao. It has an upwards lifting effect thus helping with formulas to assist  uterine prolapse and hemorrhoids.

Why Are Medical Scientists Interested in Chai Hu Formulas Today?

Researchers are looking at novel uses of this ancient herb. One team of researchers ( Lorrai I, et al 2017) investigating the use of a chemical component of the plant, a saikosaponin, as a method treating chocolate addiction. [1] Another group of scientists is refining another chemical in Chai Hu as an antidote for panadol poisoning.[2] Yet another research team is using Chai Hu as a natural biofactory to create gold nanoparticles, which creates highly bioactive enzymes.[3]

It has turned out that ancient herbal formulas that contain bupleurum have some remarkable, clinically tested effects when they are used to treat illness as conventional, scientific medicine understands it.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang, which is also known by its Japanese name, sho-saiko-to, and by its English name, Minor Bupleurum Decoction, has a major impact in treating medically defined liver diseases.  Clinical trials have found that this bupleurum formula slows the destruction of liver tissue by fibrosis and fatty infiltration. [In a study by [insert], it was shown to reduce] It reduces the risk of liver cancer in people who have chronic viral hepatitis. [4] A clinical trial at Sloan-Kettering Hospital In New York City confirmed that it slowed the progression of hepatitis C in patients who were [unsuitable] not candidates for interferon (this formula must not be used with interferon) or modern treatments like Sovaldi.[5] A variation of this formula is used to help children reduce the symptoms of tonsillitis to reduce the the possibility of a tonsillectomy  and it has also been used to stop life-threatening symptoms of toxic shock.[6]

Major Bupleurum Decoction, Da Chai Hu Tang, also known by its Japanese name dai-saiko-to,  is clinically demonstrated to relieve severe menstrual cramps.[7] And bupleurum is one of a number of ingredients in a Japanese herbal formula called bofu-tsusho-san, which aid people who have diabetes lose weight.

What Can Go Wrong with Chai Hu?

(Bupleurum )

There is one prominent drug interaction with Chai Hu (bupleurum). People who take interferon should never take any kind of formula that contains Chai Hu. Other than that, the problem with formulas that contain Chai Hu is most likely to be that it works too well.  People who take Chai Hu formulas to prevent vomiting may find they have no appetite at all. People who take Chai Hu formulas to prevent anxiety or tension may find it just a little too easy to, for instance, curl up and take a nap. Used with professional guidance, however, Chai Hu formulas can be remarkably effective.  [Insert something about always disclose to your doctor any herbal medicine/anything you take]

[1] Lorrai I, Maccioni P, Carai MA, Capra A, Castelli MP, Riva A, Morazzoni P, Gessa GL, Colombo G. Suppressing effect of saikosaponin A, an active ingredient of Bupleurum falcatum, on chocolate self-administration and reinstatement of chocolate seeking in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2017 Jan 18;638:211-217. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.12.019. Epub 2016 Dec 19. PMID: 28007642.

[2] Liu A, Tanaka N, Sun L, Guo B, Kim JH, Krausz KW, Fang Z, Jiang C, Yang J, Gonzalez FJ. Saikosaponin d protects against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity by inhibiting NF-κB and STAT3 signaling.

Chem Biol Interact. 2014 Nov 5;223:80-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2014.09.012. Epub 2014 Sep 27.

PMID: 25265579.

[3] Lee YJ, Cha SH, Lee KJ, Kim YS, Cho S, Park Y. Plant Extract (Bupleurum falcatum) as a Green Factory for Biofabrication of Gold Nanoparticles. Nat Prod Commun. 2015 Sep;10(9):1593-6. PMID: 26594767.

[4] Lee JK, Kim JH, Shin HK. Therapeutic effects of the oriental herbal medicine Sho-saiko-to on liver cirrhosis and carcinoma. Hepatol Res. 2011 Sep;41(9):825-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2011.00829.x. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

PMID: 21682829.

[5] Morgan TR. Chemoprevention of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2011;188:85-99. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-10858-7_7. Review. PMID: 21253791.

[6] Sakaguchi S, Furusawa S, Iizuka Y. Preventive effects of a traditional Chinese medicine (Sho-saiko-to) on septic shock symptoms; approached from heme metabolic disorders in endotoxemia. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Jan;28(1):165-8. PMID: 15635185.

[7] Horiba Y, Yoshino T, Watanabe K. Daisaikoto for menstrual pain: a lesson from a case with menstrual pain successfully treated with daisaikoto. Case Rep Med. 2015;2015:929514. doi: 10.1155/2015/929514. Epub 2015 Feb 22. PMID: 25792985.



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Suan Mei Tang : Sour Drink : Sydney Chinese Herbal

Suan Mei Tang 酸梅汤 – Sour plum drink

If you have been in the clinic in the past month or so, you may have tried the sour drink, which we have been cooking recently. Not only is it tasty but it is fabulous to stimulate your digestive juices. This sour plum drink (Suan Mei Tang)  is great for breaking down fats, lowering cholesterol and enjoying with any meal .


Below is the simple ingredients and process to make your own at home. The herbs can be purchased from the Sydney Acupuncture clinic

Ingredients for Suan Mei Tang 

3 or 4 sour dried black plums (wumei)

Small handful sliced dried hawthorn fruits (shanzha)

Small handful sliced dried licorice root (gancao)

4 cups filtered water

2 hunks of rock sugar (the size of walnuts)

2 tablespoons dried osmanthus blossoms (guihua)


  1. Place the plums, hawthorn fruits, licorice root, in a sieve and rinse them well under running water. Shake them dry and place them in a clay pot. Pour 4 cups filtered water over the dry ingredients and let them soak for at least an hour to plump them up.


  1. Bring the pot to a full boil, and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 1 hour. Add the rock sugar and optional salt, and simmer the infusion until the sugar melts; taste and add more if you want. Add either the osmanthus blossoms then let the infusion come to room temperature.


  1. Chill it overnight to allow the flavours to develop. Strain and add enough ice water to make 4 cups, or to taste. Serve icy cold without any ice.


Individual Herb Property and Action

Wu Mei : Property> Sour, astringent, neutral; liver, spleen, lung, and large intestine meridians entered.  

Actions> Astringe intestines to check diarrhea, astringe lung to check cough, promote the generation of fluid.

Shan Zha : Property> Sour, sweet, slightly warm; spleen, stomach and liver meridian entered.

Actions>Promote digestion and dissipate food stagnation, activate blood and resolve stasis.

Gan Cao: Property> Sweet, slightly cold; heart, lung and spleen meridians entered.

Actions> Tonify qi of heart and spleen, dispel phlegm, relieve cough and dyspnoea, relieve spasm and pain, clear heat and relieve toxicity, and harmonize property of medicine.




The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine