Xiao Chai Hu Tang – herbs to fight cancer – reversing triple burner obstruction

Moving into some of my favorite formulas, the ones I get to make from my own pharmacy!

I love making herbal formulas from scratch!

First in this list is an amazing little formula I have used for a variety of conditions. When this formula fits it has the ability to reverse symptoms in some animals who are clearly shutting down and dying.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang is a traditional Chinese herbal formula also called Minor Bupleurum Decoction. One of my main uses of this formula is for cancer. In addition I have used it for some forms of liver failure and inflammation, inflammatory kidney disease and failure, disc disease, Addison’s disease, certain autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, some forms of incontinence and hind leg weakness and some stress related diseases.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang is made from a combination of seven Chinese herbs:
Chai Hu (bupleurum)
Gan Cao (licorice)
Huang Qin (skullcap)
Ban Xia (pinellia)
Sheng Jiang (ginger root)
Ren Shen (ginseng)
Da Zao (jujube)

This formula is one of the most researched in the world for cancer.

Bupleurum, the main ingredient in this formula, has some amazing cancer fighting abilities. Bupleurum can induce apoptosis or cell death in cancer cells and inhibit cancer cell growth and division. Many studies have been done on this plant especially for lung cancer.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang, called Sho-saiko-to in Japan, has been found effective for lung, liver, renal and prostatic cancers in humans. Xiao Chai Hu Tang directly kills cancer cells, inhibits the formation of blood supplies to these abnormal cells and induces apoptosis. It also stimulates the immune system and the body’s natural responses against cancer.

This is a very powerful but fairly gentle formula. It supports digestion through it’s use of pinellia, ginger, and licorice. In addition, licorice, jujube, and ginseng help support adrenal and immune function in the body.

It is commonly used to treat the Chinese medicine diagnosis of Triple Burner Obstruction (TBO).

Triple Burner what?

I’ll try to go into this a little deeper later but for now here’s a short explanation.

The triple burner in Traditional Chinese Medicine runs down the center line of the body. There is the upper burner which includes the lungs and heart, middle burner with the spleen and liver, and lower burner with the kidneys and urinary bladder.

If the triple Burner is obstructed, yin and yang can not meet and there is a separation of yin and yang in the body. The yin or water of the kidneys needs to come up and cool and mist the lungs and heart, and the yang or fire of the heart needs to descend down and spark the fire of life of the kidneys.

When yin and yang come together you get life. Both these functions happen by passage through the triple burner along the center line of your body. If these functions can not happen, the upper body gets hotter and the lower body gets weaker. If yin and yang can not meet then the body stops working.

Here is another way to look at it. If you look at yang as the chemical reactions in the body which fuel life, and yin as the antioxidant response that makes sure no harmful products are left behind, you can understand how these two relate. You need both for life and you need them to work together. Without the yin antioxidant response we become toxic, without the yang fueling the body we become weak and deficient. If either of these functions stop we are in trouble.

Triple burner obstruction will lead to death – sometimes very quickly, if the obstruction is complete and sudden and sometimes over a longer time, if it happens slowly.

Triple burner obstruction commonly manifests with excess conditions in the front of the body such as coughing, vomiting, anxiety, headache, and/or panting and deficiency or weak conditions in the back of the body such as hind leg weakness and incontinence. There is usually some kind of obstruction in the middle of the body such as a tumor in the liver or spleen, bloated abdomen or back pain.

In western medicine we would characterize triple burner obstruction as being a problem with blood flow, where there is too much blood in the front of the body, not enough in the back, and a pooling or stagnation of blood in the middle. Splenic tumors often fit this pattern because of the amount of blood that gets trapped in the spleen.

Cancers with symptoms of triple burner obstruction often respond well to Xiao Chai Hu Tang. Mostly I use this formula for many cancers with lung metastasis, chest tumors and abdominal tumors especially splenic tumors and lymphoma/lymphosarcoma. However any animal with signs of triple burner obstruction should be put on this formula.

This is a very important formula in my cancer medicine chest. Many of the animals I treat would not be here without it. A good example is Lou. We put him on this formula when he started to decline and were able to get him back to health with it in a matter of days.

Where do you get Xiao Chai Hu Tang and how do you give it?

Xiao Chai Hu Tang powder is now available from my shop Kingdom of Basil on etsy.com .

I grind my own formulas from good quality dried whole herbs. This formula works best if given in the evening mixed with food. I usually give my larger dogs 1 teaspoon once a day with dinner, dogs less than 50 lbs get ½ a teaspoon and dogs less than 20 lb get ¼ a teaspoon and very small dogs and cats get 1/8 teaspoon.

For cats I usually tincture this or have people make it into a tea. To tea, just add 1 teaspoon of herbs to a cup of water and boil until half the liquid is gone. Then give the same amount you would of the dry herbs. If you can use a prepared tincture, you can give .2ml per 5 lbs of body weight.

If you use another commercial formula make sure it contains Ren Shen – ginseng and not Dang Shen. Also make sure it does not contain more than 20% Chai Hu or bupleurum. Many of the human formulas are very heavy on Chai Hu, the traditional recipe uses it at about 20% of the formula. Preparations with more than 20% Chai Hu can be very dangerous to your animal’s health.

Here is some more information and a list of studies involving this formula
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer page on Xiao Chai Hu Tang
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer page on Bupleurum

As always please check with your animal’s regular vet before using this formula.

Return to Integrative and Holistic Methods for Treating Cancer in Cats and Dogs.

14 Responses to “Xiao Chai Hu Tang – herbs to fight cancer – reversing triple burner obstruction”

  1. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    From Barbara via email -Hi Lena, Ive been tripping in and out of your blog for a while now. I have a Hungarian Wire haired Vizsla bitch ,she is 7 1/2 yo and our family’s darling .In March this year we had a lump removed from around a nipple ,it proved to be an Adenocarcinoma.Further more the tumour had totally effaced a lymph node.
    Feeling that Chemo wasnt the way I contacted an holistic /homeopathic vet and travelled to see him.We started her on CV247 ,Coriolus, four homeopathics ,Vit E ,Zinc Cod liver oil . The CV247 gave her a big boost straight away and she has looked well and been energetic now ever since (three months).She’s on a low carb home cooked diet ,flax oil, fesh ground flax seed and lots of sardines! and has a big appetite.
    Since I have an interest in Oriental medicine via a friend I wanted to give her some herbs too.We started with
    (5:1) concentrate powders
    E Zhu 2gm x2times daily
    San Leng 2x 2 times daily
    Dan shen 2 x 2 times daily ( to partner the coriolus)
    She also has a small amount approx .75 gm of
    Bai zhu (she had been vomiting undigested food)but this has now stopped.
    Chai hu
    Hung Qin
    When I read about the Xiao Chai Hu tang on your web site I managed to get hold of some in the 5:1 concentrate, how much longer I can get this in the UK though I do not know as some new law passed in the EU and came into effect from April 30th where by ‘formula’ type herbs cannot be sold without a license after stocks are used up. ( I would have to buy the single herbs and mix my own)
    What I wanted to ask was can I give the Xiao Chai Hu tang at night as suggested ,drop out the Chai hu and Huang Qin (as they are in the formula) and continue as normal with the E Zhe /San Leng combination and the Dan Shen. Zola is around 35kgs (77lbs) could you advise me on a suitable doseage of the concentrate.I understand that you normally use the raw herb.As you can imagine I am worried that the cancer will metastasize to the lungs,she is a bit of a panter though this is not new and I have noticed that her back end is weaker than the front particularly the off hind hip and there has been some incontince since she was spayed ,so this formula does seem to tick all the boxes. I hope you dont mind me contacting you directly,as you can imagine people who are vets and use OM are not thick on the ground.
    I will be most grateful for any other information you could give me.
    Great Blog ,please keep it up.

  2. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I am sorry about Zola. I hope she does well on the herbals and it is able to slow her cancer down.

    I’ve heard about the laws in the UK. Sounds like it will make it very difficult to get a hold of anything:-( I’ve been able to find some of my herbs via Amazon.com and just updated links in this article. I’m not sure if you can order from the Amazon.uk but may be worth looking into.

    I have definitely used Dan Shen, Bai Zhu, E Zhu and San Leng along with Xiao Chai Hu Tang in dogs before and consider these herbs to be safe to use with either other.

    General dosage for most granule extract powders is 1/2 teaspoon per 10-15 lbs. Like all herbals I usually start with about half dose and then move up over about 3-7 days.

    If you can find a source for SanSheDan Chuan Bei Ye that would be another herbal to consider for Zola.

    best of wishes and thank you for writing!

  3. Barbara Says:

    Hi Lena, Ive searched high and low for Sanshedan Chuanbeiye ,the only thing I may be able to get is Shedan Chuan bei Gao which appears to be a cough syrup.

  4. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    It appears that Shedan Chuan Bei Gao is very similar. It has the apricot seed and the fritillary bulb but not the snake and a couple other herbs that aren’t in the Sanshedan ChuanBeiye. I haven’t used it myself but it seems like a close substitute. Sanshedan ChuanBeiYe is also a cough syrup.

  5. Barbara Says:

    Hi Lena, back again, can you tell me what the tongue presentation would be with a dog with cancer ? Would it depend on the type of cancer?
    Things looking good ,

  6. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Barbara,
    It can be very different dog to dog and cancer to cancer. I have seen normal tongues before in dogs with cancer but have never found one with a normal pulse. Usually with more of the phlegm nodule/damp heat cancers you see a hot, red or purple/red tongue often a little enlarged (lymphoma, osteosarcoma, squamous cell etc). With the blood stasis cancer, usually the tongue is more lavender or even a little pale (hemangiosarcoma, mast cell, etc). Triple burner obstruction often times has a fairly normal tongue (although sometimes you see some lavender with the stasis) but the pulse is usually deep, thin and wiry. Some dogs with heat and stasis will have very deep red/purple stagnant tongues. Pulse is probably more reliable.

    Hope this helps!

  7. Barbara Says:

    Hi Lena, I just wondered as the tongue had been deep pink ,bordering on red. There was a lilac tinge but that seems to have gone. Ihad a consultation with her vet ,by phone.we discussed lung metastasis ,he suggested the resting respiration rate should be around 20 in a healthy dog and 30 -40 in a dog with lung metastasis.Later I timed her respiration it was 30pm. I mixed up the Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang and started her on it on Tuesday morning,by Fridaynight, the rate had dropped to 20 and her tongue colour was a more normal medium pink sort of colour. I’m well impressed. I think pulses may be beyond me, I know you need a lot of training to get that right.
    thanks a lot ,Barbara and Zola

  8. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    I love the Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang. It can make an incredible difference when there is lung mets or other respiratory diseases. I’m glad it worked so well for Zola!

  9. Barbara abd Zola Says:

    Hi Lena, just thought I’d drop you a line to tell you that Zola is still doing well (fingers crossed).Still on the same protocol as before, its now 7 months since her surgery.Early days I know.

  10. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    That is so great Barbara! Thank you for letting me know. 7 months may seem early but it is over double prognosis for that type of cancer if you did nothing so obviously the herbs and treatments you have her on are working:-)
    best wishes,

  11. Myrna Says:

    Hi Lena, I was very pleased to find your website explaining Triple Burner Obstruction, as my dog Dalis has been battling problems with inflammatory bowel and persistent parasitic and bacterial infections. (He is a rescue dog). He is on prednisone, but seems to only be keeping inflammation at bay at the cost of killing his immune system. So today I took him to a homeopathic vet, and she has started him on Xiao Chai Tu Hang and moved him to a diet of fish or chicken and green vegetables. He will be weaned off prednisone over the next month. I am happy that others are having success with the remedy, and I am hopeful that Dalis will too! keep up the great work!

  12. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Thanks Myrna! I hope Dalis is able to get off the pred and do well with the new diet and herbs!

  13. Lori Says:

    My dog has bone cancer in her nose. She has had radiation and chemo treatments. It did shrink the tumor for some time but now I am seeing some signs of the tumor growing. Iam wondering if this herb is something that would be a good treatment for her. I love my dog and I do not want to lose her but I also do not want to see her suffer.

  14. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Lori,
    Here is my article on osteosarcoma, you may find something in it to help if this is osteosarcoma. http://pathwithpaws.com/blog/2011/05/08/three-legged-and-happy-how-to-holistically-treat-osteosarcoma-bone-cancer-in-dogs/ I always recommend seeking out a holistic vet in your area as well.
    best wishes,