CHINESE MEDICINE NEWS 700-year-old Chinese medicine can treat depression, study says | CHINESE MEDICINE NEWS

700-year-old Chinese medicine can treat depression, study says

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July 7, 2007  
Filed under Depression, mental health

CM NEWS – An ancient traditional Chinese medicine “wandering free” formula which is at least 700 years old has been proven scientifically to be effective in treating . The results of the study will be published in August.

Kami-shoyo-san (加味逍遙丸, Jia Wei Xiao Yao San), a traditional Chinese medicine, has been used to treat patients with neuropsychiatric disorders. The Chinese term “xiao yao” means wandering free, which implies its anti-depressive effects.

What is Kamo-shoyo-san? Kami-shoyo-san consists of 10 medicinal herbs, including chai hu (柴胡, Radix Bulpleuri), bai shao (白芍, Radix Paeoniae), dang gui (當歸, Radix Angelicae Sinensis), and gan cao (甘草, Radix Glycyrrhizae), bo he (薄荷, Mentha haplocalyx), fu ling (茯苓, Poria cocos), mu dan pi (牡丹皮, Paeonia suffruticosa), zhizi (梔子, Gardenia jasminoides), and ginger (Zingiber officinale). In Taiwan, its concentrated form was the most popular herbal drug for depression and anxiety and alike disorders. It is also a popular herbal drug to treat insomnia in Japan.

The formula first appeared in Song Dynasty (between 960 and 1279 AD.) in a TCM classic He Ji Ju (太平惠民和劑局方). It was said to relieve muscular pain, dizziness, uneasiness, hot flashes, extreme sweating, insomnia, decreasing appetite and abnormal menstrual symptoms. In modern times, it has been used to treat many neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as liver diseases.

Literature shows that the formula has been shown to relieve panic attacks, anticipatory anxiety and agoraphobia. It has been used to treat irregularity of menstruation and anxiety involved with a menstrual cycle.

When used as an adjunct to carbamazepine (carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizing drug, used primarily in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. It is also used to treat schizophrenia and trigeminal neuralgia) in patients with bipolar disorders, the Kamo-shoyo-san combo treatment resulted in significantly greater clinical response rate in depressed patients. Kamo-shoy-san has proved to provide additive beneficial effects in bipolar patients, particularly for those in the depressive phase.

A group of scientists at the Department of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine, Paik Inje Memorial Clinical Research Institute, Inje University, Korea conducted the study and its results will be published later this year in the medical journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

In the present study, the anti-depressant-like effects and mechanism of action were investigated. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were given 10-fold or 20-fold the typical human daily dosage. Immobility time was measured by the forced swimming test, and hippocampal neurogenesis was quantified under immobilization stress.

The results showed that rats given the 20-fold dosage had a significantly lower immobility time and improved neurogenesis in the hippocampus. However, no significant improvement was noticed on those that took the 10-fold dosage.

The researchers thus suggest that the Kami-shoyo-san possesses an antidepressant-like effect at a behavioural and molecular level.

[Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007 Aug;61(4):401-6.]


10 Comments on "700-year-old Chinese medicine can treat depression, study says"

  1. Mind Mart on Sat, 7th Jul 2007 4:03 pm 

    Very good info. Funny how cures from modern diseases can be found in antiquity.

  2. sugar on Sat, 7th Jul 2007 9:55 pm 

    this is so informative. thanks

  3. Chris on Wed, 11th Jul 2007 8:09 am 

    This is great! I’ll definitely link to this blog on mine and check back often. I’m fascinated by Chinese medicine and how (in many ways) superior it is to Western pill-popping. Keep up the good work!

  4. Another win for traditional Chinese medicine on Wed, 11th Jul 2007 10:41 am 

    […] Link to original article […]

  5. Gina on Thu, 17th Jan 2008 9:44 pm 

    Been gettting acupucture for this for two days now. Tried to start the chinese herbs today but threw a whole serving up and got upset. How can I keep the taste from getting to me and keep it down?

  6. Susanna Ng on Fri, 18th Jan 2008 12:19 am 

    because of the bitterness, right? yes, it’s terrible, especially it was your first time. what we used to do when we were kids was that we were given dried, flavoured dates after taking the decoction. it helps neutralize the bitterness. what i’d do now will be just have chocolate (maltessers is my favourite :)) or some candies by my side. you have to drink the decoction real fast… like in one breath… then stuck the chocolate or candy into the mouth immediately.

    hope this helps :)

  7. Chris on Fri, 18th Jan 2008 6:14 am 


    Are you seeking some sort of counseling, as well? If not, it would be a great idea unless your problem is purely chemical (I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know if purely chemical depression even really exists). If you’ve suffered from any kind of trauma as an adult or child (sexual, physical, verbal, emotional abuse), a good counselor working in conjunction with your acupuncture or Chinese medicine will be a lot of help. Often with depression, there’s no quick fix; you simply have to face the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and overcome them. The process is lengthy, yes, but rewarding as well. Just a thought…

  8. Susanna Ng on Fri, 18th Jan 2008 10:53 pm 

    thx chris and gina for sharing.

    i myself have been under a major depression for over 6 years now. the pills are helping me and i’m getting a lot better the past 6 months.

    i agree with chris, with depression, you can only face it and be patient. the process is painful at times, but you have to believe that it will be under control one day. 😀

  9. Angela Harms on Tue, 29th Jan 2008 6:22 pm 

    Gina, You can this as teapills, which you take with a glass of water. It’s the dehydrated tea, so you don’t taste it much at all. As tea or whatever, it’s called Xiao Yao San, and as pills, it’s Xiao Yao Wan.

  10. Susanna Ng on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 6:11 pm 

    thx angela. and some tcm doctors can make pills for you too. they can turn special formula decoction into pills for you. but it might depend on doctors coz it usually takes quite some time to do it. i had once in hong kong.

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