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Xiao Yao Wan contraindicated with Yang deficiency?


Hi. I’ve had severe PMS and painful menstruation for many years. I discovered Xiao Yao Wan and it’s been a miracle. I’ve been taking it for 3 months. However, besides Liver qi stagnation and spleen qi deficiency, I also have Kidney yang deficiency. I’m wanting to know if Xiao Yao Wan is okay to use long term. I wasn’t sure if it has cooling herbs which may worsen the yang deficiency? I’m hoping I can continue taking it but don’t want to unknowingly worsen my other condition. Thanks!


It sounds like you have diagnosed yourself, so my first recommendation would be to consult directly with a practitioner and receive proper care. Generally speaking xiao yao wan is from the harmonize the liver and spleen category and is generally mild and helpful when the diagnosis fits for menstrual pain among many other issues.

So if your diagnosis (i.e. not by matching your symptoms) is correct, then you should be fine to continue. If your diagnosis is wrong you will generally receive minimal true help from the formula (i.e. your conditions will not resolve completely). The goal of Chinese Medicine is to completely resolve conditions when possible, not manage them as is more often the case in western pharmaceutical approaches. To accomplish this requires proper diagnosis and proper treatment over time (which often involves changing the formulas as the person progresses) - Chinese Medicine is much more of a moving live medicine, than I take this for x and I’m better medicine…


My acupuncturist diagnosed me. She told me about the Xiao Yao Wan. However, she admitted she wasn’t well versed in the herbal formulations. Her focus is more on acupuncture and diet which is why I was looking to be sure it’s okay to take. Thanks for replying.


Honestly I think you should consult with an acupuncturist who also practices herbal medicine. Or possibly just another acupuncturist. Long story short your diagnosis is generally the deepest pattern and the others are more causal. In very general terms this means you can’t really have multiple diagnoses - you have one root and the others are causal. If the practitioner is not confident in the deepest pattern (i.e. in their diagnosis) you will generally not do as well in the long term.

In many cases, however, due to the systemic nature of Chinese Medicine, even with treatment that is slightly off diagnostically you will be likely to improve - it may just take longer and the more complete resolution may not happen as efficiently or at all. So if you are heading in the right direction symptoms wise I might not be too concerned at this point.


I appreciate your insight. Thank you so much. I will consult with a new practitioner who has experience in herbal medicine. I definitely want to be certain I’m on the right path!

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