Xiao Yao San is a blend of herbs used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
In TCM, Xiao Yao San is said to clear liver stagnation. Ongoing research is evaluating whether Xiao Yao San’s properties benefit such health conditions as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), functional dyspepsia (indigestion), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), insomnia, and more.
As an herbal blend, Xiao Yao San contains several herbs and plants. The dried ingredients of Xiao Yao San can be hand-blended or purchased as a dietary supplement. The herbs and plants most often used in Xiao Yao San are:
This article explores how Xiao Yao San is used in TCM. It also covers current scientific evidence on the potential uses of Xiao Yao San and possible side effects, precautions, and interactions of this ancient Chinese remedy.
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However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and discuss potential interactions with other supplements or medications you take.
- Active ingredient(s): Bupleurum root, Chinese angelica root, white peony root, poria, bighead atractylodes rhizome, roasted ginger, prepared licorice root, menthol, peppermint
- Alternate name(s): Free and Easy Wanderer, Rambling Powder, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, Augmented Rambling Powder, Kamishoyosan, TJ-24
- Legal status: Legal in the U.S. and available over-the-counter (OTC)
- Suggested dose: There is no recommended dose for Xiao Yao San. Follow dosage directions listed on the supplement packaging or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Safety considerations: Side effects may be possible, including headache, dizziness, and diarrhea.
Uses of Xiao Yao San
Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Although few studies strongly support the use of Xiao Yao San (most of which are animal- or lab-based), there are a handful of conditions for which the herbal remedy has shown promise.
One animal study suggested that Xiao Yao San could help relieve depression by reducing neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
It is a controversial theory in which imbalances in the gut microflora are thought to contribute to neuroinflammation and, in turn, depression. According to the animal study, Xiao Yao San may help normalize imbalances in the gut, leading to improved symptoms of depression.
A 2012 review of Xiao Yao San evaluated 26 high-quality trials involving 1,837 people with depression. Researchers concluded that Xiao Yao San appeared to improve depression when taken alone or with an antidepressant. Xiao Yao San was also found to have fewer side effects