by Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM
Chinese medicine is known for its very specific herbal formulas and ability to individualize these medicines to perfectly fit the patient. With the ease of over-the-counter Chinese medicine products, we are able to share this amazing medicine with far more people than ever.
One of the brilliant things about Chinese herbal medicine is how it views issues in the body. Diseases and illness are seen as “patterns of imbalance” rather than just syndromes. This allows many different issues to be treated in similar ways – and similar issues to be treated in very different ways.
A perfect example of this is our beloved formula, Xiao Yao Wan. This is a classic and very popular formula, both in China and around the world. The name translates to “Free and Easy Wanderer” which gives you a clue about it’s purpose: to help you live free and easy, in flow with life. Xiao Yao Wan is likely one of if not the most prescribed Chinese herbal formula for a wide variety of issues from headaches to infertility to weight loss.
Because of its wide-reaching power and gentle nature, there is good reason to have a bottle of Xiao Yao Wan on hand. Perhaps you are considering bulking up your self-care products or want to start a Chinese medicine remedy kit? Don’t leave this one out. As you’ll see, this amazing formula has so many potential uses, it’s sure to make a difference in your quality of life somewhere down the line.
Xiao Yao Wan Basics
Xiao Yao Wan is made up of 8 herbs: bupleurm (chai hu), dang gui, white peony root (bai shao), white atractylodis root (bai zhu), Poria (fu ling), peppermint (bo he), ginger root (sheng jiang), licorice root (zhi gan cao). Together, these herbs work synergistically to help resolve a few sticky problems going on in the body:
Smooth the flow of Liver Qi.
Qi is the activating force or energy that keeps us moving and alive. Each of the organ systems have their own qi with special functions. The job of the Liver qi is to act as the General, making sure all other organs are doing what they are meant to. This qi ensures consistent, regular flow throughout the body and keeps things moving smoothly. However, when stressed, overworked, heated, or pent-up, the qi of the Liver fails to do its job. Qi gets stuck in the body and causes pain, digestive upset, emotional imbalance, or other health issues. Xiao Yao Wan helps to ease the Liver and smooth the flow of qi back to normal.
Nourish the blood.
Blood is our nutritive resource. We need healthy and nourished blood for beautiful hair, skin, and nails, bright eyes and vision, healthy reproductive systems, and a pain-free, flexible frame. Blood is easily worn out through daily activities and can really become deficient after illnesses, childbirth, traumas, malnutrition, chronic stress, or medication use. Xiao Yao Wan nourishes and builds up the blood to help rejuvenate the whole body.
Strengthens the Stomach and Spleen
The Stomach and Spleen systems are incredibly important in the Chinese medicine view of the body. In Western medicine, we think of these systems only in terms of digestion. But in Chinese medicine, the Stomach and Spleen are responsible for keeping us full of energy and qi. There is even an entire school of thought based on the idea that the Spleen and Stomach rule the health of the entire body. Xiao Yao Wan helps to improve the strength and power for these systems and in doing so, improves digestive function and overall vitality.
4 Ways Xiao Yao Wan Can Help You
So many ways. Let’s dive into a few of the more popular uses for this wonder formula.
Next time you’d like to reach for a glass of wine (or two) after a stressful day, consider taking Xiao Yao Wan to help you manage these daily irritations and keep your composure. The name “Free and Easy Wanderer” speaks to who you’ll be after downing your wonder formula. Xiao Yao Wan relieves that controlling tension that can take over in our modern lives, allowing you to live life a little more freely.
A daily dose of Xiao Yao Wan is the perfect gentle herbal remedy for the overworked employee, the mom at her wit’s end, or the overloaded student. Not only will it help you to release and relax, but it will actually help to regenerate the qi and blood you have spent in your stressful state, helping you to bounce back from the dreadful toll stress has taken. This protects you against illnesses and makes you more resistant to stress in the future.
2) A Girl’s Best Friend
Two main aspects of a healthy menstrual cycle are a smooth and reliable Liver system and nourished, healthy blood. Without these two things, experiences like painful cramps, clots, irregular cycles, irritability, pain, infertility, dizziness, and insomnia can easily arise.
Xiao Yao Wan is a fabulous formula to help regulate and improve the menstrual cycle. Women can take this formula throughout their cycle (except on days of bleeding) to prevent the PMS storm, period-related headaches, ovulation issues, or painful menses.
An added benefit: Xiao Yao Wan helps to keep your hormones in check and moderates mood swings throughout the cycle. If you feel that your energy and emotions change drastically throughout the month, Xiao Yao Wan will help to even you out and prevent spikes in anger, irritability, and depression.
3) Pain Relief from the Root
While there are likely better formulas out there to treat specific types of pain, Xiao Yao Wan is a good one to have on hand if you suffer from a recurrent, chronic pain condition. This stems from it’s ability to smooth the flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. Pain is a product of stagnation. Stuck blood, fluids, and qi can cause blockages in the channels, muscles, bones, or blood vessels and pain results. Remove that obstruction and you will relieve the pain.
Xiao Yao Wan is also great for unexplained, complicated, or hormone-related pain issues due to its simple nature. It helps to unravel the deep root issues to allow the complicated imbalances to fall into place. Consider for issues like migraines, menstrual pain, tender breasts, digestive pain, emotional trauma, or fibromyalgia.
4) Weight Management
Losing weight is always a hot topic and the methods to reach the optimum weight are endless. There is no magic pill, but there is a magic plan that will work for you. The key to finding it is understanding the root of your weight gain triggers.
Xiao Yao Wan is not a weight loss formula, nor does it have any meal replacement or craving-reduction properties. What makes Xiao Yao Wan a great teammate in the weight loss game is the fact that it could help to correct internal imbalances that may be affecting your underlying root.
Much of weight gain is caused by stress, stagnation, and poor gut health. Stress increases cortisol levels and these elevated levels will store fat and perpetuate the system. Stagnant digestive function is caused by poor diet choice, stress, or a constitutional tendency to poor digestion. As the digestive system weakens, this problem grows and excess fat and fluids build up in the body. Gut health is also a huge consideration when trying to manage your weight. The micro-biome in the gut has a lot to do with how your body processes its foods, the cravings you have, and your mental and emotional state.
Xiao Yao Wan attacks this issue in two important ways: it relieves stress and encourages stable mood and it helps to heal the overall flow and processing actions in the body. Less stress, less cortisol, less emotional eating will help to put you in a better mindset to lose weight and feel more empowered. Your biochemistry will change as your hormones get in check. The flow-enhancing action of Xiao Yao San will also help to improve your digestion and encourage better flow and resolve stagnation (i.e. Less build up and bloating).
Choose Your Secret Weapon
Best Chinese Medicine has a variety of Xiao Yao Wan products to help you start living your life to the fullest.
Xiao Yao Wan Relaxx Extract
A great Teapill variation that is great for those who have trouble swallowing pills. This is also a good choice for pets who suffer from anxiety and depression.
A favorite product from a favorite brand. These are also in teapill form for easy swallowing.
Bupleurum & Peony: Jia Wei Xiao Yao San
This tincture features the enhanced formula, Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, which includes two additional herbs that help to clear heat. This version is perfect if you tend to have a hot constitution or if anger and irritability are predominant emotions.
Xiao Yao Wan to the Rescue!
For obvious reasons we LOVE Xiao Yao Wan. This ancient formula has so much potential for many of our modern illnesses. This is no surprise, since as a traditional Chinese herbal formula it is designed to treat a pattern, rather than a disease. Stock up on the amazing Xiao Yao Wan and start living life a little more free and easy.