What is Free and Easy Wanderer & Xiao Yao San?

by Dr. Eric Karchmer, PhD, MD (China), LAc |

What is Free and Easy Wanderer & Xiao Yao San?

Xiao Yao San is an ancient Chinese herbal remedy which has been used religiously for over hundred years to harmonize emotional balance and relieve symptoms of stress. It is also known as "Free and Easy Wanderer" or "Rambling Powder" and is one of the most popular herbal formulas in across the Traditional Chinese Medicine landscape.

Xiao Yao San contains a blend of herbs that work together to regulate the flow of Qi and blood, nourish the liver, and promote overall wellbeing.

The formula was first recorded in the Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang, a medical text from the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD).  It was originally formulated by a famous Chinese physician named Zhang Jing-Yue, and has since been used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat a wide range of health conditions, including anxiousness, depression, PMS, and digestive issues.

The key herbs in Xiao Yao San include:
  • Bupleurum root (Chai Hu)

  • Chinese angelica root (Dang Gui)

  • White peony root (Bai Shao)

  • Poria (Fu Ling)

  • Atractylodes root (Bai Zhu)

  • Ginger root (Pao Jiang)

  • Licorice root (Gan Cao)

  • Mint leaf (Bo He)

Each herb in Xiao Yao San has a specific function and works together with the other herbs in the formula to promote overall health and wellbeing. Bupleurum root, for example, is the chief herb in the formula and is known for its ability to promote the smooth flow of Liver Qi.

Chinese angelica root and white peony root are also liver-nourishing herbs that help to regulate the menstrual cycle and promote healthy blood flow. Poria, atractylodes root, and ginger root are used to promote digestion and reduce bloating, while licorice root is added to harmonize the various herbs in the formula.

Xiao Yao San for Liver Qi stagnation

In Chinese Medicine, Xiao Yao San is often prescribed for individuals who are experiencing "Liver Qi stagnation", a condition characterized by feelings of frustration, irritability, and emotional imbalance. This can be caused by stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, or emotional trauma. By regulating the flow of Qi and blood, nourishing the liver, and promoting emotional balance, Xiao Yao San can help to alleviate these symptoms and promote overall health and wellbeing.


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Care Consideration: Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations  from a healthcare provider.  This information is not intended to treat, mitigate or cure any disease.  That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options.  If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us on hello@mydaolabs.com

Dr. Eric Karchmer is a practicing Chinese medical doctor, medical anthropologist, and co-founder and Chief Doctor of Chinese Medicine for DAO Labs. From 1995-2000, Eric studied at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and today is both a licensed acupuncturist and professor at Appalachian State University. Eric can be reached at drkarchmer@mydaolabs.com.

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