Shengmai San: An Ancient Formula now Used in Chinese Hospitals

Shengmai San is a widely used formula in modern China, often given as a prepared liquid (Shengmai Yin), a decoction (Shengmai Tang), or as an intravenous drip (Shengmai Zhusheye). The formula is administered to patients who have suffered a serious illness, especially heart attack, congestive heart failure, or severe bronchitis, and to treat a sudden drop in blood pressure associated with cardiogenic or septic shock. The name of the formula includes a description of its action: shengmai means “to generate the pulse,” indicating that the prescription is given to persons who have a very weak pulse, with the expectation that the pulse strength will improve markedly. The original form of the prescription was a powder (san), but the form of administration is not deemed critical other than to assure that the patient is able to utilize it.

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