* Depression with low energy, prolonged sadness or irritability, and lack of interest in daily activities



* Antidepressant effect to elevate mood and energy

* Promotes the digestion and utilization of energy



* Relieves food, qi, blood, and phlegm stagnation

* Promotes movement of qi

* Releases constraint



Take 4 capsules three times daily with warm water on an empty stomach. Dosage may be increased up to 5 to 7 capsules if the condition is severe.



Cha Ye (Folium Camelliae)

Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)

Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong)

Da Zao (Fructus Jujubae)

Gan Cao (Radix et Rhizoma Glycyrrhizae)

Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati)

He Huan Pi (Cortex Albiziae)

Long Gu (Os Draconis)

Mu Li (Concha Ostreae)

Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata)

Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii)

Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi)

Yu Jin (Radix Curcumae)

Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae)

Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae)



Depression is a mood disorder characterized by severe or prolonged sadness that interferes with energy levels, daily functions and quality of life. Depression is characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, poor concentration, loss of interest and pleasure, and absence of sexual desires. While the exact cause of depression is unknown, common contributing factors include heredity, endocrine disorders, neurological disorders, mental disorders, and use of certain medications.



Shine is formulated specifically to treat depression, which according to traditional Chinese medicine is a disease caused by prolonged stagnation of qi, blood, dampness, and/or food. The treatment protocol is to break up all stagnation and nourish the internal organs.

        Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi) and Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri) promote the flow of Liver qi and reduce hypochondriac distension. Yu Jin (Radix Curcumae) and Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong) relieve stagnation by invigorating blood flow. Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) helps digestion by removing food stagnation. Gan Cao (Radix et Rhizoma Glycyrrhizae) and Da Zao (Fructus Jujubae) nourish the Heart and moisten internal dryness. Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae) and He Huan Pi (Cortex Albiziae) calm the shen (spirit) and relieve depression. Cha Ye (Folium Camelliae) lifts the mood. Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae) sedates heat in the Heart and relieves irritability. Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii) opens the orifices, eliminates phlegm to increase alertness, and calms the shen (spirit). Long Gu (Os Draconis) and Mu Li (Concha Ostreae) have tranquilizing functions to alleviate insomnia and dream-disturbed sleep. Finally, Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati), also known as St. John’s Wort, is clinically found to be effective against depression, and enhances the overall effectiveness of this formula.

        In short, Shine resolves food, qi, blood, and phlegm stagnation to lift depression.



* This formula is contraindicated during pregnancy and nursing.

* Use of Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) is sometimes associated with increased photosensitivity. Patients should avoid excessive exposure to UV irradiation (e.g., sunlight, tanning) when using this herb.

* Do not use Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) while taking prescription drug(s) without advice of your prescribing physician. The following are two herb-drug interactions:

§ The concurrent use of Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) and antidepressant drugs should be avoided, as the combination may lead to serotonin syndrome. Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) has been shown to inhibit the uptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in vitro at high concentrations. The antidepressant drugs include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).[1]

§ Use of Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) may induce the cytochrome P450 system of the liver, leading to increased metabolism and decreased plasma concentration of certain drugs, such as Sandimmune/Neoral (cyclosporine), combined oral contraceptive (ethinylestradiol and desogestrel), Theo-Dur (theophylline), Lanoxin (digoxin), and Crixivan (indinavir).[2]

* Allergy warning: Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) used in this product contains wheat. Persons with allergy to wheat should not take this product.



* Depression may be treated effectively with Shine or Shine (DS).

§ Shine is more effective for depression characterized by stagnation (food, qi, blood and phlegm). Shine should not be used concurrently with antidepressant drugs, as this formula contains Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati), commonly known as St John’s Wort.

§ Shine (DS) is more effective for depression with stress characterized by Liver qi stagnation and Heart fire. Shine (DS) may be used concurrently with antidepressant drugs, as there are no known interactions.

* Discontinuation of antidepressant drugs, particularly abruptly, may cause certain withdrawal symptoms such as "electric shock" sensations (also known as "brain shivers" or "brain zaps"), dizziness, acute depressions and irritability. Therefore, it is best to taper off the drugs slowly, and offer herbal treatment simultaneously. Shine (DS) may be used concurrently with antidepressant drugs or during the tapering process. Shine should not be used until the antidepressant drugs have been discontinued for two weeks.


Pulse Diagnosis by Dr. Jimmy Wei-Yen Chang:

* Deep and concave pulse on the left guan



* For vegetative depression with withdrawal, no desire to speak, poor appetite, and insomnia, combine with Schisandra ZZZ.

* For depression with stress, anxiety, restlessness (manic-depressives), add Calm (ES).

* For chronic depressive patients who do not respond to any of the above treatment or show little result, add Circulation (SJ).

* For a quick boost of energy and vitality, combine with Vibrant.

* Post-partum or for constant fatigue and lack of energy, combine with Imperial Tonic.

* To strengthen the constitutional weakness and deficiency, use with Cordyceps 3.

* For loss of sexual desire, combine with Vitality.

* For over-weight or excessive weight gain, combine with Herbalite.

* For patients who are “burned out” with adrenal insufficiency, use with Adrenal +.

* For difficulty with concentration, poor memory or forgetfulness, use with Enhance Memory.

* With insomnia in patients who worry excessively or have anemia, Schisandra ZZZ.

* For insomnia with stress in patients with deficiency, add Calm ZZZ.

* Pre-menopausal and menopausal depression, add Balance (Heat).

* With headache, add Corydalin (AC).

* For heat sensations, irritability or nightmares due to excess fire, add Gardenia Complex.



Traditional Points:

* Qimen (LR 14), Taichong (LR 3), Xingjian (LR 2), Guanyuan (CV 4), Shanzhong (CV 17), Ganshu (BL 18)

* Taichong (LR 3), Shuaigu (GB 8), Neiguan (PC 6)


Classic Master Tung's Points:

* Depression: Tongguan (T 88.01), Tongshen (T 88.09), Neiguan (PC 6), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18), Huoying (T 66.03), Huoxi (T 11.16). Bleed the HT and LU areas of the back with cupping. Bleed before needling for best result.


Master Tung’s Points by Dr. Chuan-Min Wang:

* Depression: Zhenjing (T 1010.08), Huoying (T 66.03)


Balance Method by Dr. Richard Tan:

* Left side: Zulinqi (GB 41), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Shenmen (HT 7), Tongli (HT 5), Shaohai (HT 3), Quze (PC 3), Daling (PC 7)

* Right side: Taichong (LR 3), Ligou (LR 5), Ququan (LR 8), Zhongzhu (TH 3), Waiguan (TH 5), Tianjing (TH 10)

* Bilateral ear Shenmen, Anmian

* Alternate sides with each treatment.


Auricular Medicine by Dr. Li-Chun Huang:

* Shenmen, Liver, Heart, Occiput, Nervous Subcortex, Anxious Point, Be Happy Point. Bleed Ear Apex.



* Depression may be due in part to nutritional deficiency. Foods such as white bread, flour, saturated animal fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils, sweets, soft drinks, and canned goods deprive the body of B vitamins and increase the probability of depression.

* Avoid a diet too low in complex carbohydrates as it may cause serotonin depletion and depression.


General Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

* Eat a variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables of all colors. 

* Incorporate more high-fiber whole grains and nuts into diet.

* Drink warm or hot liquids with meals. Putting cold and ice on any part of the body will immediately constrict the flow of blood to that region. Similarly, drinking cold or iced drinks with meals will hinder the natural peristaltic movements of the digestive system.

* Foods with antioxidant effects, such as vitamin A, C and E are beneficial as they neutralize the free radicals and minimize damage to cells. Beneficial foods include citrus fruits, carrots, green leaf vegetables, and green tea.

* Chew food completely and thoroughly. The digestive tract can process and absorb smaller pieces of food much better than food that is incompletely chewed. Larger pieces of food can lead to incomplete digestion and digestive discomfort.

* Always eat breakfast. According to the TCM clock, the most optimal time for the digestive system is in the morning from 8 to 10 a.m.

* Give the body two to three hours between the last meal of the day and bedtime. During sleep, the digestive system slows down as well. Make sure the body has adequate time to digest the food before going into sleep mode.

* If the patient is allergic to any food or feel uncomfortable after eating certain foods, then avoid eating them.

* Avoid fast food, processed foods, junk food, artificial sugars, and carbonated drinks. Stay away from meat, greasy food, alcohol, caffeine, dairy products (except for unsweetened low-fat yogurt), tap water, iron supplements and vegetables and fruits with pesticides.

* The Spleen is responsible for generating post-natal qi and good Spleen function also contributes to a healthy immune system. Foods that damage the Spleen should be avoided:

§ Avoid any and all foods that contain sugar, such as cake, dessert, candy, chocolate, canned juice, soft drinks, caffeinated drinks, stevia, sugar substitutes, agave, xylitol, and corn syrup.

§ Avoid raw or uncooked meats, such as sashimi, sushi, steak tartar, and seared meat. Minimize consumption of foods that are cooling in nature, including tofu, tomato, celery, asparagus, bamboo, seaweed, kelp, bitter melon, cucumber, gourd, luffa, eggplant, winter melon, watermelon, honeydew, citrus, oranges, guava, grapefruit, pineapple, plums, pear, banana, papaya, white radish, mustard leaf, potherb mustard, Chinese kale, napa, and bamboo sprout. Do not eat foods straight from the refrigerator. Long-term use of cold fruits and vegetables like the ones listed above may be damaging to the Spleen. To make the property more neutral, one can add about 20 pieces of Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) when cooking them.

* Warm and hot natured foods that damage qi and yin should be avoided, such as:

§ certain fruits like mango and durian that produce heat.

§ stimulants like coffee, alcohol, and energy drinks.

§ spicy/pungent/aromatic vegetables such as pepper, garlic, onions, basil, rosemary, cumin, funnel, anise, leeks, chives, scallions, thyme, saffron, wormwood, mustard, chili pepper, and wasabi.

* Avoid food and drinks with artificial coloring.

*  Consume as few meat products as possible. Do not eat processed meats, such as lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages, as they contain nitrites that are associated with inflammation and chronic disease.



* Exercise outdoors and under the sun will help to lift depression. It has been found that exercise helps people who are depressed by making them more energetic and stress-tolerant.

* A balanced lifestyle of work, rest and exercise is extremely important to achieve better mental and physical health.

* Massaging the nerves along the spine will help to relieve tension associated with depression.



* S.J., 31-year-old female, presented with depression. Symptoms included no social desire, lack of energy in the mornings, and easily fatigued. Objective findings included black circles under the eyes, no shine to the eyes, and overweight. The practitioner diagnosed the condition as qi stagnation and Kidney qi deficiency. After taking Shine at three capsules three times a day, the patient felt immediate results of more energy and elevated mood. The most significant change was how she felt in the morning, saying how she bounced out of bed ready to start the day. Submitted by L.M., Gresham, Oregon.

* J.M., a 36-year-old female, presented with depression. She was a single mother with two children and a pending divorce. Her psychologist wanted her on medication. She had poor appetite for food but increased cravings for candy and carbohydrates and alcohol. She was crying, unfocused and said she felt scattered emotionally and deflated energetically. Her blood pressure was 118/72 mmHg and her heart rate was 78 beats per minute. The diagnosis was qi and blood stagnation with Liver and Spleen disharmony. Shine was prescribed at 4 capsules three times daily. Results were apparent within 24 hours. Her depression began lifting the next day. She reported that she felt more solid, grounded and focused again. She was also more interested in moving physically and felt emotionally more stable. As the symptoms resolved, the dosage was reduced to 4 capsules twice daily and finally, once daily. The practitioner reported that the patient had previously been seeing another acupuncturist, and was on an herbal formula from another company. She reported that with the other formula, she felt stuck and was unable to move forward. With Shine, she felt the difference dramatically. Submitted by M.H., West Palm Beach, Florida.

* W.P., a 45-year-old female, presented with pain in the kidney and liver areas. It was also noted that the patient had a history of Kidney infection and pancreatitis. She was also experiencing anxiety and depression as a result of relationship issues. Pulse was weak and slightly slippery, and tongue was pale with a long center fissure. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver qi stagnation with heat disturbing the shen (spirit), and toxins in the kidney. Upon diagnosis the patient was prescribed Shine and Kidney DTX. Within four weeks of taking the herbs the patient had noticed her mood was stable and she was no longer experiencing pain in the liver and kidney areas. The patient had also made lifestyle changes in her diet and received acupuncture one time a week. Submitted by T.W., Perrysburg, Ohio.

* S.F., a 33-year-old female, presented with premenstrual symptoms consisting of fatigue and depression, three days before her cycle. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as qi deficiency with shen (spirit) disturbance. Imperial Tonic, Calm and Shine were prescribed at 2 to 3 capsules each, three times a day. As a result of taking Imperial Tonic for three weeks, she reported increase in energy and a more positive attitude. She only took the Calm and Shine for three months, and thereafter only continued with the Imperial Tonic as she felt recovered from her depression. Submitted by S.L., Yuma, Arizona.

* A.B., a 22-year-old female, presented with anxiety and fear of failure. Additional symptoms she had been experiencing were depression, insomnia, and poor eating habits. It was noted that her shen (spirit) was not settled and she had dysglycemia. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver qi stagnation and Spleen qi deficiency; Western diagnosis was low self-esteem along with low caloric diet. Calm (ES) was prescribed to take during the day and then Calm ZZZ to take at night. After two weeks she was then instructed to take Schisandra ZZZ at night and Shine during the day. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Decoction) was taken as well until she began eating at regular intervals. After 1 month of taking the herbs, the insomnia had resolved and regular sleeping habits were occurring. In addition, her depression was lifted. She started experiencing major changes in attitude, life purpose and direction. Six weeks later she maintained her results by taking Calm. The anxiety had also reduced, only being anxious during stressful situations, which she had been resolving. She had also established regular eating habits, her energy had improved and her menses became regular without pain. Overall, the patient was very pleased with the outcome of taking the herbs. Submitted by N.T., Bethesda, Maryland.

* A 26-year-old female presented with chronic depression, which may have been due to not working for a few years. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Signs of depression manifested as constant somnolence and a lack of interest in any activity. According to traditional Chinese medicine, she was diagnosed with phlegm stagnation, evidenced by a “puffy” tongue body with a thick white tongue coating and a “rolling” pulse. Within a month of taking Shine, her somnolence subsided and she became more active during the day, which in turn made her less depressed. Submitted by T.G., Albuquerque, New Mexico.

* A woman presented with depression and irritability. Her anxiety was enhanced upon hearing that her Western doctor was to discontinue her Vicodin (APAP/hydrocodone) prescription, and the consequence of withdrawal. Hence, she was quite angry with her doctor. Her diagnosis included hepatitis C, fibromyalgia and Liver qi stagnation. The patient began taking Shine. In a separate event, a serious altercation with her spouse exacerbated her condition to a point where she considered suicide. After immediate administration of Shine, she began feeling much calmer. A half hour after ingesting the herbs, she said that thoughts of suicide were dismissed. The practitioner concluded that Shine was quite effective in treating patients with similar conditions. Submitted by M.H., Jupiter, Florida.

* A 58-year-old male teacher presented with palpitations, which began one year ago following the death of his significant other. Stress or jogging appeared to exacerbate his condition. His symptoms were indicative of mitral valve prolapse. The diagnosis was Liver oppressing the Heart and Liver yang rising. The tongue was pink with a red tip and the pulse was wiry and pounding. Along with acupuncture treatment, the patient was given 4 capsules of Shine three times daily for about six months. The patient displayed a 75% (subjective) improvement within two weeks. The palpitations became less frequent. Feelings of stress reduced significantly along with a milder pounding sensation in the chest. After six weeks, the pulse was still full but had lost some of its wiry quality. The diagnosis was changed to Heart qi and blood deficiency. Within ten weeks, the pulse became slow and leisurely. Palpitations were also rare after seven months of treatment. Herbs were eventually discontinued with acupuncture maintenance every three to four weeks. The practitioner concluded that Shine was quite effective in reducing the stress level as well as the palpitations of the patient in a prompt and efficient manner. Submitted by C.C., Cromwell, Connecticut.

* A 42-year-old female finance administrator presented with “plum-pit” syndrome, belching, constipation, and irritability especially when angered. Her tongue was pale and her pulse was wiry. The patient’s demeanor was always uptight or tense and short-tempered. In addition, the patient reported constant burping. The practitioner diagnosed the condition as follows: (1) Liver qi stagnation with dampness in the middle jiao and lower jiao, in turn, attacking the Stomach leading to continuous belching; (2) stagnation causing phlegm to congeal and stick, resulting in a “plum-pit” syndrome; and (3) stagnation of the Large Intestines causing constipation. The patient was instructed to take Shine. As a result of taking one bottle of Shine during the course of the treatment, significant improvements in the elimination of “plum-pit” qi and constipation were noted. Belching was also relieved by 90%. Upon taking the second bottle of Shine, the patient felt queasy and edgy and decided to stop taking the herbs. The patient however noted a positive change in mood and a more uplifted spirit. The practitioner concluded that the side effects might have been due to the fact that the patient had a deficient constitution. Submitted by P.L., San Diego, California.

* H.E., a 20-year-old female, presented with depression, difficulty with concentration, difficulty falling asleep, very active mind and short-temper. She startled easily. Her tongue was dry with white coating. Pulse was wiry. The diagnosis was Liver qi stagnation and Gallbladder/Heart disharmony. Wen Dan Tang (Warm the Gallbladder Decoction) and Shine were prescribed at 2 capsules each three times daily. Patient reported much improvement in symptoms after using herbs. She also reported that symptoms came back after stopping the herbs. Submitted by S.F., Greenbrae, California.

* A 53-year-old female patient presented with anxiety, depression and pale complexion. Her pulse was thin, weak and deep in all positions. She had cyclical bouts of rage, fatigue, sleeplessness, anxiety and severe depression. Periods were irregular. Her tongue was puffy and pale. The TCM diagnosis was blood and yin deficiencies with Liver qi stagnation, Kidney yin and yang deficiencies. Shine and Nourish, along with an iron supplement were prescribed. The patient noticed a change within the first ten days and more so around her cycle. She felt as if a cloud had been lifted from above. She found herself smiling more. Restlessness was still bothering her but her sleep was much better. This patient has suffered from depression for a long time and is very deficient. Submitted by N.V., Muir Beach, California.

* J.C., a 57-year-old female, presented with nervousness, insomnia, and anxiety with a desire to stop smoking. Night sweats were also present. Her tongue was red with no coating present. The practitioner diagnosed the condition as Kidney yin deficiency with heat and Liver qi stagnation. Her Western diagnosis was menopause and hypothyroidism. The patient was given a combination of Nourish, Shine, and Calm. Nourish was taken daily while Shine and Calm were taken as needed. After taking the herbs for six months, the patient reported improvement in sleep; she was calmer and more balanced overall with a positive attitude. Submitted by K.F., Honolulu, Hawaii.

* L.W., a 22-year-old male, presented with septic facial acne. Very depressed, he did not want to be seen in public. The TCM diagnosis was damp-heat with Liver qi stagnation. After one week of taking Dermatrol (PS) and Shine, the acne was 80% resolved and the depression improving. After washing his face with a mild soap, the patient applied a topical skin wash (Yin Care) diluted with tea tree oil. The acne was gone in 28 days. The patient now socializes happily with family and friends. Submitted by H.C., Stephens City, Virginia.



Shine is designed to treat depression by using herbs with demonstrated effectiveness to elevate mood, alleviate stress, and increase energy.

        Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati), commonly known as St. John’s Wort, is an herb used in both China and European countries dating back to the Middle Ages. It was used historically in treatment of inflammation, gastritis and insomnia; more recently, however, its use centers almost exclusively on the treatment of depression. Pharmacologically, Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) works primarily by increasing the level of serotonin and secondarily by inhibiting the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO).[3],[4] Another study shows that hyperforin, one of the main active compounds in the herb, also has the effect of inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine.[5] Clinically, the effectiveness of this herb in treating depression has been demonstrated in many studies. One study using the Hamilton Depression Scale found Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) to be clinically effective in the treatment of depression with ratings close to a 70% treatment response.[6],[7],[8],[9] In another study, the long-term intake of the herb for up to one year among 517 patients was deemed as a safe and effective way to treat mild to moderate depression, and is especially suitable for a relapse prevention.[10] In comparison with Western medicine, Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) has shown comparable effectiveness to many antidepressant drugs. According to a randomized, double-blind, comparative trial involving 149 outpatients with mild or moderate depression, Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) and Prozac (fluoxetine) demonstrated equivalent therapeutic effect for treatment of depression. The duration of treatment was 6 weeks. Patients in the herb group received 800 mg of the extract per day, and patients in the drug group received 20 mg of Prozac (fluoxetine).[11] In another study with 1,757 mild-to-moderate depressed patients, Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) was found to be significantly superior to placebo and “similarly effective” to antidepressant drugs.[12] Lastly, one study reported Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) and Prozac (fluoxetine) to be therapeutically equivalent in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.[13] Side effects of Guan Ye Jin Si Tao (Herba Hyperici Perforati) are rare, with rash and photosensitivity being the most common.[14]

        Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae) and He Huan Pi (Cortex Albiziae) are two other herbs in Shine that have also shown marked effects to treat depression. Use of Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae) is associated with marked antidepressant effects to reverse the harmful effects of chronic mild stress on mood and behaviors. The mechanism of this action is attributed in part to its neuroendocrine and neuropropective activities, as well as involvement of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal system.[15] He Huan Pi (Cortex Albiziae) exerts its antidepressant effect via the 5-HT1A receptor system. Its therapeutic effect is comparable to Tofranil (imipramine), a tricyclic antidepressant drug.[16] Clinically, one study reported 81.8% rate of effectiveness in treating depression in 33 patient (12 with recovery, 15 with improvement, and 6 with no effect) using an herbal formula that contained He Huan Pi (Cortex Albiziae), Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii), and others. [17]

        Beyond using herbs to directly treat depression, Shine incorporates other herbs to support the patient and treat other aspects of depression. Since stress is a main contributor of depression, many herbs are used in this formula to calm the patient and alleviate depression, such as Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri),[18] Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong),[19] Da Zao (Fructus Jujubae), [20] and Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi).[21] To improve sleep pattern and treat insomnia, Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae) is added for its sedative effect.[22] To improve and increase energy, Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) is used to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, and Cha Ye (Folium Camelliae) is added to gently stimulant the central nervous system and increase body metabolism.[23],[24],[25]

        In summary, Shine is a great formula to treat depression and its associated symptoms.




Depression is an emotional disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. In Western medicine, the biomedical understanding of depression is relatively new, as antidepressant drugs were mostly developed only in the last two decades. Though there are several categories of drugs for depression, the most commonly used are the serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Paxil (paroxetine). As the name implies, these drugs have the specific effect of increasing serotonin activities in the brain to lift depression. However, despite their specific mechanism, they often require six to eight weeks before they exert their effect to lift depression. Furthermore, they are associated with a great number of side effects, including but not limited to nausea, vomiting, weight loss, sexual dysfunction, and increased risk of suicide. Therefore, these drugs must be prescribed and monitored carefully to avoid such adverse reactions.

        In TCM, depression is characterized by stagnation of qi, blood, food, and phlegm. Therefore, optimal treatment requires use of herbs to relieve such stagnation. These same herbs have also been found to have an excellent effect to increase energy levels and lift depression. Generally speaking, most patients begin to benefit within approximately two weeks. Most importantly, these herbs are safe and natural, and are associated with few or no side effects.

        Depression is an emotional disorder that should be addressed cautiously. Though use of drugs is effective, one must carefully evaluate the potential benefits versus risks. Once decision is made to start drug therapy, the patient must be monitored carefully to ensure that the drugs do not cause serious side effects. In comparison, herbs are also effective, and definitely much safer. It provides an additional option that definitely should be explored. Furthermore, in addition to drug or herbal therapies, counseling and behavior therapy should be initiated as they are extremely helpful toward long-term improvement. Lastly, exercise is also helpful as this increases one’s inherent ability to deal with stress and depression.


[1] Muller WE, Schafer C er al., In-vitro-Studie uber Hypericum-Extrakt, Hyericin und Kampferol. DAZ 136(13):1015-1022.1996.

[2] PDR for Nutritional Supplements 1st Edition, Medical Economics, 2001.

[3] Bombardelli, E. et al. Fitoterapia; 66(1):43-68. 1995.

[4] Suzuki, O. et al. Planta Med; 2:272. 1984.

[5] Muller, WE et al., Hyperforin represents the neurotransmitter reuptake inhibiting constituent of Hypericum extract. Pharmacopsychiatry 1998 Jun;31 Suppl 1:16-21.

[6] Ernst, E. Fortschr Med; 113(25): 354-55. 1995.

[7] Mueller, W. et al. Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung; 136:17-22,24. Mar 28, 1996.

[8] DeSmet, P. et al. Br. Med J; 313:241-42. Aug 3, 1996.

[9] Harrer, G. et al. Phytomedicine; 1:3-8. 1994.

[10] Brattström A. Long-term effects of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) treatment: a 1-year safety study in mild to moderate depression. Max Zeller Söhne Zeller AG, Seeblickstr. 4, CH-8590 Romanshorn, Switzerland. Phytomedicine. 2009 Apr;16(4):277-83.

[11] Harrer, G et al., Comparison of equivalence between the St. John’s Wort extract LoHyp-57 and fluoxetine. Arzneimittelforschung 1999 Apr;(4):289-96.

[12] Linde, K. et al. Br Med J; 313(7052):253-58. 1996.

[13] Behnke K, Jensen GS, Graubaum HJ, Gruenwald J. Hypericum perforatum versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. PhytoPharm Consulting, Institute for Phytopharmaceuticals, Berlin, Germany. Adv Ther. 2002 Jan-Feb;19(1):43-52.

[14] Muldner, VH. and Zoller, M. Arzneimittelforschung; 34:918. 1984.

[15] Hu Y, Liu P, Guo DH, Rahman K, Wang DX, Xie TT. Antidepressant effects of the extract YZ-50 from Polygala tenuifolia in chronic mild stress treated rats and its possible mechanisms. Dept. of Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy Care Center, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China. Pharm Biol. 2010 Jul;48(7):794-800.

[16] Kim JH, Kim SY, Lee SY, Jang CG. Antidepressant-like effects of Albizzia julibrissin in mice: involvement of the 5-HT1A receptor system. Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 440-746, Republic of Korea. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007 May;87(1):41-7.

[17] Zhong Yao Lin Chuan Xin Yong (New Clinical Applications of Chinese Medicine), 2001; 282.

[18] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong (Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1983; 888.

[19] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong (Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1983:123.

[20] Guo Wai Yi Xue Zhong Yi Zhong Yao Fen Ce (Monograph of Chinese Herbology from Foreign Medicine), 1985; 7(4):48.

[21] Zhong Guo Yao Ke Da Xue Xue Bao (Journal of University of Chinese Herbology), 1989; 20(1):48.

[22] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong (Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1983; 477.

[23] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 436:437.

[24] Tyler, V. The New Honest Herbal. Philadelphia, PA: G.F. Stickley Co., 1987.

[25] Olin, R. et al. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparison. Green Tea. May 1993.