TCM Herbal Medicine Database (Herbs That Start With "S")

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers an extremely valuable, rich, lengthy, and extensive herbal treatment history. Within it are thousands of years of development and research which we benefit from greatly today. As opposed to some forms of herbalism and western medicine, Chinese herbs are often used in formulas instead of being used singularly in larger amounts. Formulas allow you to blend herbs to enhance their positive effects and reduce or eliminate any negative side effects they may have. These formulas take years and years of practice to master and many are kept within families and or generations of teacher-student transmissions. This rich tradition is a very valuable gift from previous generations.

The true benefit of this herbal tradition, as with acupuncture, is that it allows practitioners to blend formulas to match each patient and their signs and symptoms exactly. Instead of having a standard formula for a particular condition you can increase the clinical effectiveness of the herbs through this tailoring. For the patient this ideally means faster results with less side-effects.

Our Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal database contains usage information for the majority of the herbs used in clinical settings around the world. Listed within this section are individual herbs, however, in clinical treatment settings you would most often combine these into formulas for usage. The herbs listed here may be ground into powders and put into capsules, cooked into teas, used topically, taken raw, etc. You should never attempt herbal treatment without proper training as some of the herbs are toxic and need to be prepared correctly and others can have side-effects without being used in proper amounts and/or mixed properly into appropriate formulas.


You may view the individual herbs by clicking on the first letter of the Chinese Name or by searching through other groupings such as by channel, properties, or functions & actions (which also contains summary/study notes for each grouping).


This section is very much a work in progress, so please check back if you are not finding the herbal information you are looking for.

Herb Name Functions and Usage
San Leng (Scirpus Rhizome)
  • Breaks up blood stasis, promotes movement of Qi, alleviates pain - amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, post partum abdominal pain, abdominal masses.
  • Dissolves food stagnation, accumulations.
San Qi or Tian Qi (Pseudoginseng Root)
  • Stops bleeding, transforms blood stasis - internal and external bleeding such as vomiting blood, nosebleed, blood in the urine or stool.
  • Can stop bleeding without causing blood stasis.
  • Traumatic injuries - alleviate pain, reduce swelling from falls, fracture, sprains.
  • Invigorates the blood - chest and abdominal pain, joint pain from blood stasis.
Sang Bai Pi (Mulberry Root Bark)
  • Drains lung heat - cough, wheezing.
  • Promotes urination, reduces edema - lung heat obstructing downward movement of lung qi, preventing water from moving - no sweating, facial and floating edema, fever, thirst, difficult urination.
  • Recently for hypertension.
Sang Ji Sheng (Mulberry Mistletoe Stem)
  • Tonify liver and kidney yin, strengthen sinews and bones, expel wind-damp - lower back and knee pain, joint problems, atrophy of sinews and bones, bi-syndromes.
  • Nourish blood, calm the womb - uterine bleeding during pregnancy, dry and scaly skin.
  • Hypertension.
Sang Shen (Mulberry Fruit-Spike)
  • Tonifies blood and enriches yin - dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia, premature graying of the hair.
  • Constipation due to blood deficiency in the elderly, xiao ke due to yin deficiency.
Sang Ye (White Mulberry Leaf)
  • Expels wind, clears lung heat - wind-heat with fever, headache, sore throat; also for lung dryness causing dry mouth, dry cough, lung heat with thick and yellow sputum.
  • Cools liver and clears the eyes - liver channel eye problems due to wind-heat or yin deficiency, red, sore, dry or painful eyes, floaters.
  • Cools the blood and stops bleeding - mild cases of vomiting blood due to heat in the blood.
Sang Zhi (Mulberry Twig)
  • Wind-damp bi especially in the upper extremities.
  • Reduces edema.
Sha Ren (Cardamon)
  • Transforms dampness, stops vomiting - nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea.
  • Promotes movement of Qi, strengthens stomach.
  • Calms the fetus, morning sickness.
  • Prevents tonifying herbs from causing stagnation. (See also Bai Dou Kou, Yi Zhi Ren)
Sha Shen (Glehnia Root)
  • Moistens the lungs, stops cough - dry, non-productive cough due to lung yin deficiency.
  • Nourish the stomach, generate fluids, clear heat (after febrile disease or yin deficiency) - dry mouth or throat.
  • Moisten the exterior - dry itchy skin aggravated by cold and dry weather.
Sha Yuan Ji Li (Milkvetch Seed, Astragalus Seed)
  • Tonify kidney yang, secures essence - lower back pain, tinnitus, impotence, premature ejaculation, frequent urination, incontinence, leukorrhea.
  • Strengthen kidney and liver - poor vision, blurred vision.
Shan Dou Gen (Subprostrate, Sophora Root)
  • Clears heat, relieves fire toxicity, improves throat - painful, swollen throat.
  • Clears the lungs - cough due to lung heat.
  • Damp-heat jaundice.
Shan Yao (Chinese Yam)
  • Tonify the spleen and stomach qi - diarrhea, fatigue, spontaneous sweating, lack of appetite.
  • Tonify the lung qi and yin - chronic cough/wheezing.
  • Strengthen the kidney yin and yang - not hot nor cold, benefits both yin and yang, xiao ke, also binds the jing - spermatorrhea, vaginal discharge, frequent urination.
Shan Zha (Hawthorn Fruit)
  • Reduces and moves food stagnation outward - accumulation of meat and/or greasy foods with distention, pain, diarrhea.
  • Transforms blood stasis, dissipates clumps - post-partum abdominal pain, hernial disorder.
  • Stops diarrhea (when partially charred).
  • Hypertension.
Shan Zhu Yu (Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit)
  • Stabilize the kidneys, retain the essence - leaking of fluids due to weak essence, excessive urination, incontinence, spermatorrhea, excessive sweating, for devastated yang and collapsed qi, as in shock.
  • Tonify the liver and kidney - lightheadedness, dizziness, impotence, sore back and knees, tonifies the jing and assists the yang.
  • Stabilize menses - excessive uterine bleeding, prolonged menses, weak effect.
Shang Lu (Poke Root)
  • Drives out water through the urethra and anus - edema associated with severe constipation and urinary difficulty.
  • Reduces sores and carbuncles (topically).
She Chuang Zi (Cnidium Seeds)
  • Dry dampness, kills parasites, stop itch - topically - weeping, itchy skin lesions, scabies, ringworm.
  • Warms the kidneys, strengthens yang - impotence, infertility, cold womb.
  • Disperses cold, expels wind, dry dampness - leukorrhea, lower back pain.
She Gan (Belamcanda Rhizome)
  • Clears heat, relieves toxicity, improves the throat - painful, swollen throat due to fire excess, fire toxin, or phlegm-heat obstruction.
  • Transforms phlegm, clears the lungs - cough, wheezing, and phlegm.
She Xiang (Navel Gland Secretions of Musk Deer)
  • Opens the orifices, revives the spirit, unblocks closed disorders (a wide variety of problems that impair consciousness) - heat entering the pericardium, convulsions, delirium, stupor fainting, closed disorders, tetanic collapse, phlegm collapse, seizures.
  • Invigorates the blood, dissipates clumps, reduces swelling, alleviates pain - toxic sores, carbuncles, fixed masses, channel obstructions due to trauma.
Shen Qu (Medicated Leaven)
  • Reduces food stagnation, strengthens stomach - stomach cold with food stagnation or accumulation, with epigastric and abdominal fullness or distention, lack of appetite, borborygmus, and diarrhea.
  • Aids in mineral digestion and absorption.
Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia)
  • Clears Heat, Cools Blood. High fever, thirst, scarlet tongue, hemorrhage due to heat in the Blood.
  • Nourishes Yin, Generates Fluids. Yin Deficiency with heat signs with injury to body fluids. Dry mouth, low-grade fever, constipation, throat pain from yin deficiency.
  • Cools Ascending Heart Fire (HT, LV). Mouth and tongue sores, irritability, insomnia, malar flush.
  • Wasting thirst disorder.
Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger Rhizome)
  • Release the exterior, wind-cold, regulate ying and wei qi
  • Warms the middle jiao - stomach cold/vomiting
  • Alleviates coughing, warms lung
  • Reduces toxicity of other herbs
Sheng Ma (Black Cohosh Rhizome, Bugbane Rhizome)
  • Releases the exterior, vents muscles - accelerates the early stages of skin rashes, headache from wind-heat (forehead - stomach channel).
  • Clears heat, relieves toxicity - toxins in the upper or superficial areas, swelling, painful, sore gums, lips, and/or throat.
  • Raises yang, lifts spleen qi sinking (strong than Ge Gen) - for middle qi deficiency leading to shortness of breath, fatigue, prolapse of stomach, uterus, or rectum.
  • Serves to guide other herbs upwards.
Shi Chang Pu (Sweetflag Rhizome)
  • Opens the orifices, vaporizes phlegm, quiets the spirit - sensory orifice disorders due to phlegm, deafness, dizziness, poor memory, dulled sensation, seizures.
  • Harmonize the middle warmer, transform turbid damp, abdominal pain.
  • Wind-cold damp - painful obstruction, trauma and sores.
Shi Di (Persimmon Calyx)
  • Directs stomach Qi downward - stops hiccups and belching.
Shi Gao (Gypsum)
  • The most important herb to clear internal heat, especially in the qi and yang ming levels.
  • Clears heat, drains fire (heavy, descending) - high fever with no chills, excessive thirst, sweating, flooding and big pulse (the "4 bigs"), irritability, red tongue with yellow coat.
  • Clears excess lung heat - cough, wheezing, fever, thick yellow sputum.
  • Clears blazing stomach fire - headache, toothache, painful and swollen gums.
  • Topically for eczema, burns, ulcerated sores; may also be taken internally.
Shi Hu (Dendrobium Stem)
  • Nourish yin, clear heat, generate fluids - severe thirst, parched mouth, intractable fever associated with yin deficiency (occurring from injury to fluids from warm febrile disease).
  • Nourish stomach yin - dry heaves, stomach ache, xiao ke, shiny tongue with little coating.
  • Brighten vision, strengthen lower back.
Shi Jue Ming (Abolone Shell)
  • Drains liver fire, descends rising yang - headache, dizziness, red eyes.
  • Liver heat disturbing the vision - photophobia, pterygium, visual obstruction.
Shi Wei (Pyrrosia Leaves)
  • Promotes urination, drains damp-heat from the bladder - hot, stone, xue lin.
  • Clears heat and stops bleeding - vomiting, uterine bleeding.
  • Clears the lungs, expels phlegm, relieves cough - lung heat, wheezing.
Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia, Chinese Foxglove Root)
  • This is the root of Sheng Di Huang (steamed and dried, or soaked in red wine and dried).
  • Tonify blood for blood deficiency with dizziness, pallid complexion, palpitations, insomnia, irregular menses, uterine bleeding, post partum bleeding.
  • Nourish yin - kidney yin deficiency with nightsweats, xiao ke, steaming bone disorder, nocturnal emissions.
Shui Zhi (Leech)
  • Breaks up blood stasis, reduces immobile masses - amenorrhea, abdominal masses, trauma.
Si Gua Luo (Dried Vegetable Sponge)
  • Expels wind, invigorates the channels - damp heat obstructing the channels and muscles causing sore chest and flank areas, sore muscles and sinews, stiff joints, traumatic injury, breast abscess.
  • Expels phlegm - cough due to lung heat with high fever, chest pain, sticky sputum.
  • Expels summer heat, promotes urination.
  • Swollen-painful breasts, insufficient lactation.
Su He Xiang (Resin of Rose Maloes, Styrax)
  • Opens the orifices, penetrates through turbidity - for closed disorders, phlegm blockages, epidemic toxic disease, especially cold disorders.
  • Pain in the chest and abdomen.
Su Jiu Gui Ban (Deep Fried Fresh Water Turtle Shell)
  • This is the deep fried version of Gui Ban.  For more information see the Gui Ban page.  Deep frying helps to moderate the cold action of the herb.
Su Mu (Sappan Wood)
  • Invigorate blood, reduce swelling - post partum abdominal pain, amenorrhea, pain and swelling due to trauma.
  • Stops bleeding - excessive post partum bleeding with vertigo and shortness of breath.
Su Zi (Purple Perilla Fruit)
  • Stops coughing and wheezing, redirects the qi down, dissolves phlegm - cough and wheezing w/copious phlegm, especially for difficult exhalation, stifling sensation in the chest.
  • Moistens the intestines - constipation due to dry intestines.
Suan Zao Ren (Sour Jujube Seed)
  • Nourishes heart yin, tonifies liver blood, quiets the spirit - irritability, insomnia, palpitations, anxiety due to blood or yin deficiency.
  • Prevents abnormal sweating - spontaneous sweating, nightsweats.
Suo Yang (Fleshy Stem of Cynomorium)
  • Tonify kidney yang - impotence, frequent urination, spermatorrhea.
  • Nourish blood, tonify essence, strengthen sinews - motor impairment, paralysis from blood and jing deficiency.
  • Moisten instestines - constipation due to qi and/or blood deficiency.