Shan Yao - Chinese Yam

TCM Materia Medica

Shan Yao TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "shan yao" which in english is Shan Yao herb"chinese yam", is categorized within the "herbs that tonify qi" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the kidney, lung and spleen channels and exhibits neutral (ping) and sweet (gan) taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 9-30g

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • 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 Yao may potentially be used, in coordination with a well tailored formula (in most cases), to influence the following conditions: cough, diarrhea, fatigue, spermatorrhea and/or sweat problems

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, shan yao is generally included in the following 16 formulas:

ViewBu Yang Huan Wu Tang Wan (Great Yang Restoration Pills)

Fatigue, weakness, with pale complexion due to chronic qi and blood deficiency. Hemiplegia, slurred speech or involuntary muscle control due to blockage of the channels and collaterals.

ViewDa Bu Gan Wan (Major Liver Nutrition Pills)

Brittle nails, yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Abdominal cramping, distension or pain in the hypochrondia due to liver qi stangation Fatty liver, hepatitis and other liver diseases. 

ViewEr Long Zuo Ci Wan (Deafness Left Supporting Pills)

Ringing in the ears/tinnitus. Unblocks the ears - useful for diminished hearing or temporary hearing loss. Red/dry eyes with blurry vision.

ViewJian Pi Wan (Strengthen Spleen Pills)

For stomach and spleen qi deficiency with dampness that has potentially generated mild interior-heat - diarrhea, abdominal pain, poor appetite, epigastric pain. May be used in early pregnancy for mo…

ViewJin Gui Shen Qi Wan (Kidney Qi Pill from the Golden Cabinet)

Lethargy, low libedo, frequent urination with possible incontinence resulting from kidney yang deficiency. Sensation of cold, especially in the lower half.

ViewLiu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six Ingredient Pill with Rehmannia)

Dizziness, tinnitus, possibly vertigo as a result of kidney and liver yin deficiency. Insomnia especially with night sweats, hot flashes, irritability. Spontaneous/nocturnal emissions.  Menopaus…

ViewMing Mu Di Huang Wan (Rehmannia Pills to Brighten the Eyes)

Blurry vision, floaters, possibly with dryness of the eyes as a result of the liver yin failing to nourish the eyes and kidney yin failing to brighten the vision.

ViewQian Lie Shu Wan (Prostate Comfort Pills)

Frequent and/or urgent urination, dribbling, incontinence.  Treats Lin Syndrome conditions.

ViewQi Ju Di Huang Wan (Lycii Chrysanthemum Teapills)

Yin deficiency symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, night sweats, hot flashes, heat in the soles and dryness. Blurry vision, possibly with dry eyes.

ViewShen Ling Bai Zhu Wan (Ginseng, Poria & Atractylodes Pills)

Diarrhea, loose stools, or mucus/greasy stools from damp accumulation in the spleen/stomach. Borborygmus, low appetite, fatigue, and/or pale complexion resulting from spleen qi deficiency. Colitis,…

ViewSuo Quan Wan (Shut The Sluice Pills)

Frequent, clear and prolonged urination with difficulty restraining - along with other kidney deficiency signs. Bedwetting in children in many cases, not necessarily just from deficiency.  

ViewWu Ji Bai Feng Wan (Black Chicken White Phoenix Pills)

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ViewYunnan Baiyao (White Powder From Yun Nan)

A very important formula to stop bleeding (generally from any cause) in Chinese Medicine.  Can be used topically and orally and comes in two primary formats (capsules and powder vials).  It is used i…

ViewZhi Bai Di Huang Wan (Eight Flavor Rehmannia Teapills)

Steaming bone syndrome - dry and intensive persuasive sensation of heat possibly with flushing and tidal fever. Dizziness, vertigo, tinnitis, anxiety and restlessness resulting from yin deficiency. …

ViewZhuang Yang Wan (Strengthen Kidney Yang And Preserve Power Pill)

Tonifies the kidney yang and astringe the jing (essence), primarily for sexual dysfunction in older males - symptoms may include impotence, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and other sign…

ViewZuo Gui Wan (Right Returning Pills)

Infertility, low libedo, impotence due to kidney yin deficiency. Low sperm count, abnormal sperm morphology resulting from jing deficiency. Irregular menstruation, vaginal dryness.

As noted above, shan yao is within the herbs that tonify qi functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... herbs in this category are generally sweet and rich. they are most often combined with herbs that move and regulate the qi. )".

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