Treating Mental Health with TCM

Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week may be over, but we believe awareness should be raised continuously. Approximately, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people reports experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, every week.

Mental health disorders are medical conditions that can disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning which can result in a diminishing capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, mental health disorders can cause a disruption in the flow of Qi. This imbalance can throw off the immune system or cause pain, sleep disturbances and headaches – to name a few. TCM does not recognize any mental disorder as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual to restore imbalances found in the body. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances and directly affect the way your body manages your mental health.

Alternatively, herbal medicine can also be effective at improving mental health. We have recommended commonly used formulas that may benefit your patients. All formulas can be adapted and modified depending on the patient’s needs.


Ban Xia Hou Po Tang

This formula can descend rebellious Qi, relieve stagnation and activate Qi.

Ban Xia: dries dampness, transforms phlegm, stops vomiting, descends rebellious Qi and harmonises the stomach. When used with Fu Ling, Ban Xia can remove dampness from disturbing the heart with dizziness, palpitations and insomnia.

Hou Po: moves Qi, resolves stagnation, descends rebellious Qi, dries dampness, transforms Phlegm, eliminates stuffiness and aids in dissipating clumps.

Fu Ling: Promotes urination, drains dampness, strengthens the spleen, harmonises the Middle Jiao and transforms phlegm

Sheng Jiang: warms the Middle, stops vomiting, warms the lungs and stops coughing

Zi Su Ye: promotes the movement of the spleen and stomach Qi, improves lung function and expands the chest

This formula can be effective at treating hysteria, panic disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. However, this formula is not be taken long-term and should not be prescribed to patients with lung Yin deficiency.

Gan Mai Da Zao Tang

This formula can nourish the heart, calm the Shen, harmonises the Middle Jiao, relaxes tension and tonifies spleen Qi.

Gan Cao: tonifies the spleen and augments Qi, clears heat, relieves fire toxicity, moderates spasms and alleviates pain

Xiao Mai: nourishes heart Qi and eliminates irritability, restlessness and insomnia

Da Zao: tonifies the spleen and stomach, augments Qi, nourishes the blood and calms the spirit

This commonly used formula can be effective at treating bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia and nervous exhaustion, as well as many other ailments.

Chai Hu Shu Gan Tang

This formula can spread liver Qi, promote Qi circulation, harmonise the blood and alleviate pain.

Chen Pi: regulates Qi, adjusts the middle, improves the transportive function of the spleen, relieves the diaphragm and descends Qi

Chai Hu: resolves Shao Yang, spreads liver Qi and relieves stagnation.

Chuan Xiong: invigorates blood, promotes Qi movements, moves Qi upward and alleviates headache pain. Chuan Xiong is often used with Xiang Fu for Qi stagnation combined with blood stasis

Zhi Ke: moves Qi, disperses heats and reduces distention and pressure

Bai Shao: nourishes the blood, regulates menses, sedates liver Yang, alleviates pain, preserves the Yin and adjusts the Ying and Wei

Zhi Gan Cao: tonifies the spleen and harmonises and augments Qi

Xiang Fu: regulates liver Qi, regulates menstruation, alleviates pain and relieves depression

This formula can treat a number of disorders including; depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and insomnia. This formula should not be prescribed for patients who suffer from Yin deficient heat.

Chinese Herbal Dispensary

If you would either of the above formulas in dry herb or concentrated granule form, please visit our dispensary at or email our dispensary administrator Charlotte at Alternatively, you can order the herbs separately as raw dry herbs and granules. If you have any questions regarding the formulas or how to modify them, please contact us at

Disclaimer: Please note that this information is intended for qualified herbalists only. If you are a patient, please consult your practitioner for a diagnosis as these formulas may not be suitable for you. If you would like us to recommend a herbalist who uses Phoenix Medical products, contact us at and we will gladly assist you.

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