Objectives : This paper aims to suggest an integrated explanation for the contrary reinforcing/reducing effects of Shaoyao.
Methods : From a list of books on the history of herbology and Chinese Medicine as mentioned in the herbology textbook, main texts were selected for further examination, along with some books of the Four Masters of the Jin Yuan period and some general medical texts. These texts were thoroughly examined with keywords such as Shaoyao, Baishaoyao, Chishaoyao, Baishao, Chishao, out of which contents on reinforcing and reducing were selected and analyzed. Next, explanations of the mechanisms of the contrary effects that were found through categorization of the reinforcing and reducing effects were examined. Among the contrary effects, similarities were uncovered and further studied for deduction of an encompassing higher level mechanism.
Results & Conclusions : Overall consideration of the contrary effects of Shaoyao revealed that its working mechanism is to collect qi in the yin-blood part through convergence to control qi among blood, to help smooth flow of blood, eliminate blood stagnation and reinforce blood production which in turn cools down heat.