Si ni san

Si ni san

chai hu 12 zhi shi 12 gan cao 12 bai shao 12

This is the representative formula for deficient pivoting of shao yang due to dryness in jue yin and yang ming.

When in shao yin disease there is counter flow cold of the limbs, the person may cough, or have palpitations, or inhibited urination, or pain in the abdomen, or diarrhea with rectal heaviness, si ni san governs.

Si ni san is not a shao yin formula but it does treat counter flow qi of the limbs by freeing the yang in shao yin and the ministerial fire.

It is a yang and yin formula. It is yang because it moves, drains, and tonifies. It is yin because it cools and nourishes.

It frees the Wood element to give birth to Fire. It clears accumulation in Earth and Metal to give birth to Water. By freeing Wood and Earth the post heaven source of qi, blood and fluids is restored.

Primarily this is a shao yang formula. It also treats yang ming stomach, tai yin spleen, and jue yin liver.

Chai hu and zhi shi treat the yang levels and gan cao and bai shao treat the yin levels.

It clears damp and heat accumulating in the san jiao. It clears damp and heat in the liver and gall bladder organs. It also moves the qi in the liver and gall bladder and yang ming stomach.

It tonifies the yang ming stomach and tai yin spleen while moistening the yang ming domain.

It nourishes the jue yin liver blood.

Chai hu, Bupleuri radix

Chai hu is a yang and yin herb. It is yang because drains dampness, it is yang because it frees movement. It is yin because it drains heat. It is more yang than yin.

Chai hu is a Wood herb and a Fire herb. It clears damp and heat from Wood organs to free the flow of qi which needs to circulate in the san jiao as ministerial Fire.

Zhi shi, Aurantii fructus immaturus

Zhi shi is a yang and yin herb. It is yang because it moves, it is yang because it tonifies function, it is yang because it transforms phlegm accumulation. It is yin because it is cool. It is more yang than yin.

Zhi shi is a Metal and Earth herb because it clears accumulations in Earth and it descends the Metal.

Gan cao, Glycyrrhizae radix

Gan cao is a yang and yin herb. It is yang because it tonifies. It is yin because it moistens, it is yin because it nourishes, it is yin because it adds material, it is yin because it clears heat, it is yin because it calms and moderates. It is more yin than yang.

Gan cao is an Earth herb because it nourishes and directly tonifies Earth.

Bai shao, Paeoniae radix lactiflora

Bai shao is mostly a yin and a slight yang herb. It is yin because it moistens, it is yin because it nourishes blood, it is yin because it calms Wood wind. It is yang because it mildly moves blood.

Bai shao is a Metal and Water herb. It nourishes Metal and Water to give birth to Wood.

Si ni san may not get used much in clinic due to the complexity of everyday problems but in theory it represents many basic principles.  It is built on the formula shao yang gan cao tang.

Shao yao gan cao tang

bai shao 12 gan cao 12

If there is still slight hyper tonicity of the lower legs, give a large dose of shao yao gan cao tang, so that the lower legs will be able to extend.

It follows the Neijing rule of when the liver suffers urgency, use sweet to moderate, and when wind evils are interior, use sour to purge. Sour bai shao and sweet gan cao generate yin and blood.

When Metal is healthy it controls Wood. Zhi shi and bai shao keep the Metal healthy by moistening and moving Earth and Metal. When Wood is free to warm and move it supports the function in the whole body as circulating ministerial fire.

Published by Paul Freedman

Herbal Nerd

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