Symptom family: Cognitive Impairment

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Root Causes of Confusion in TCM

Explore below more details about what might cause Confusion according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Phlegm
  • Mind Disturbance
  • Heat
  • Blood Deficiency
  • Qi Stagnation
  • Yang Excess
  • Cold
Detailed description of the cause

Phlegm

In TCM "Phlegm" as a pattern of disharmony is a complex concept that extends beyond the physical manifestation of mucus. It represents a pathological factor that can disrupt the flow of Qi (vital energy) and blood, leading to various health issues. Phlegm in TCM is seen as a sticky, turbid substance arising from the body's inability to metabolize fluids properly, often due to a dysfunction of the spleen. It's not only associated with respiratory problems like cough and congestion but also with systemic issues. Symptoms can include a feeling of heaviness, mental cloudiness, dizziness, and in some cases, the formation of lumps or masses. Phlegm can even be "invisible," contributing to emotional disturbances like depression or stress. ... see more

Phlegm Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Common Symptoms: Noisy Breathing Incoherent Or Confused Speech Talking To Oneself Depression Aphasia Coma Palpitations Flushed Face

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Chest pain, Rapid respiration... see more Zhi Bao Dan | Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Hui Chun Dan
Phlegm Misting the Heart Mental confusion, Confusion, Fainting, Hypersomnia, Incoherent or confused speech, Slurred speech, Aphasia, Noisy breathing, Vomit... see more Wen Dan Tang | Di Tan Tang | Gun Tan Wan | Su He Xiang Wan
Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression... see more Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Sheng Tie Luo Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Mind Disturbance

In TCM "Shen" refers to the mind or spirit, and a Shen disturbance is a pattern of disharmony that affects the mental and emotional state. This concept reflects the TCM belief in the deep interconnectedness of mind and body. Symptoms of Shen disturbance can vary widely but often include anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, confusion, or in severe cases, hallucinations or delirium. These symptoms indicate an imbalance in the body's energies affecting the heart, which in TCM is not only the center of blood circulation but also the seat of the mind and consciousness. The root of Shen disturbance can be traced to various factors, including emotional stress, physical illness, or an imbalance in fundamental substances like Qi, Yin, or Yang.... see more

Mind Disturbance Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Common Symptoms: Noisy Breathing Incoherent Or Confused Speech Talking To Oneself Depression Aphasia Coma Palpitations Flushed Face

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Chest pain, Rapid respiration... see more Zhi Bao Dan | Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Hui Chun Dan
Phlegm Misting the Heart Mental confusion, Confusion, Fainting, Hypersomnia, Incoherent or confused speech, Slurred speech, Aphasia, Noisy breathing, Vomit... see more Wen Dan Tang | Di Tan Tang | Gun Tan Wan | Su He Xiang Wan
Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression... see more Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Sheng Tie Luo Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Heat

In TCM "Heat" signifies an excess of Yang energy, leading to an imbalance where heat predominates over the body's cool Yin aspects. This condition is metaphorically akin to an internal over-heating. Symptoms indicative of Heat can include feelings of warmth, fever, sweating, irritability, red face, thirst with a preference for cold drinks, and a rapid pulse. The tongue may appear red with a yellow coating. Unlike the common interpretation of heat in terms of temperature, in TCM, it represents a state of hyperactivity or inflammation in the body.... see more

Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Common Symptoms: Incoherent Or Confused Speech Aphasia Coma Palpitations Flushed Face Bitter Taste In The Mouth Noisy Breathing Restlessness

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heat in Pericardium Mental confusion, Nighttime fever, Delirium, Confusion, Incoherent or confused speech, Cold extremities... see more Qing Ying Tang | Zhi Bao Dan
Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Chest pain, Rapid respiration... see more Zhi Bao Dan | Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Hui Chun Dan
Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression... see more Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Sheng Tie Luo Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Blood Deficiency

Blood Deficiency in TCM is like when your body's tank runs low on the vital energy that blood provides. It's not exactly the same as anemia in modern medicine, which is about having too few red blood cells. Instead, Blood Deficiency in TCM is about your body not having enough of the life-giving qualities that blood brings, like nourishment and moisture. This can make you feel tired, look pale, and even feel dizzy or have blurry vision. It's like a garden not getting enough water to stay lush and vibrant. TCM sees this as an imbalance where the body isn't being nourished as it should be, impacting overall health and well-being.... see more

Blood Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Blood Deficiency with Liver Qi Stagnation Disorientation, Confusion, Melancholia, Crying, Abnormal behavior, Insomnia, Yawning Gan Mai Da Zao Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Qi Stagnation

Qi Stagnation in TCM is like having a traffic jam in your body's energy system. Qi, the vital life force that flows through your body, is supposed to move smoothly to maintain health and balance. But with Qi Stagnation, this flow gets blocked or slowed down, like cars stuck on a highway. This can lead to symptoms like feeling stressed, emotional mood swings, and physical discomfort, often described as a feeling of fullness or tightness, especially in the chest or abdomen. It's as though the body's internal energy circulation is disrupted, causing various issues. TCM sees this as an energy flow problem, different from modern medicine's focus on specific physiological processes.... see more

Qi Stagnation Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Blood Deficiency with Liver Qi Stagnation Disorientation, Confusion, Melancholia, Crying, Abnormal behavior, Insomnia, Yawning Gan Mai Da Zao Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Yang Excess

Yang Excess in TCM refers to a state where there is an overabundance of Yang energy, leading to symptoms of heat and hyperactivity in the body. This pattern of disharmony often arises from factors like stress, excessive physical activity, overconsumption of spicy or heating foods, or an internal imbalance that causes Yang to flare up. Symptoms of Yang Excess include a feeling of heat, red face, irritability, restlessness, thirst, constipation, and a rapid, forceful pulse. Treatment in TCM for Yang Excess aims to cool down and subdue the excessive Yang while nurturing Yin energy to restore balance.... see more

Yang Excess Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Bladder Deficiency with Cold Disorientation, Confusion, Poor memory, Urinary or fecal incontinence, Lower back pain, Dizziness, White urethral discharge, Chills, Frequent urination, Cloudy urine, Pediatric nocturnal enuresis... see more Sang Piao Xiao San
Detailed description of the cause

Cold

In TCM "Cold" as a pattern of disharmony refers to a specific type of imbalance within the body's systems, often linked to a deficiency or weakness. It's not about feeling physically cold or having a common cold, but rather a metaphorical description of certain symptoms and underlying conditions. When a TCM practitioner says someone suffers from "Cold," it usually implies that the body's Yang energy, which is warm and active, is insufficient or overpowered by Yin energy, which is cool and passive. Symptoms of Cold in TCM can include a general feeling of coldness, cold limbs, pale complexion, low energy, slow metabolism, and a preference for warmth. ... see more

Cold Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Bladder Deficiency with Cold Disorientation, Confusion, Poor memory, Urinary or fecal incontinence, Lower back pain, Dizziness, White urethral discharge, Chills, Frequent urination, Cloudy urine, Pediatric nocturnal enuresis... see more Sang Piao Xiao San
Detailed description of the cause

Heart

In TCM the Heart is considered the "emperor" of all organs, primarily responsible for governing Blood and housing the mind, known as "Shen." It plays a crucial role in maintaining mental-emotional equilibrium and controlling the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body. When the Heart is imbalanced or malfunctions in TCM, it can lead to a range of issues like heart palpitations, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, and a flushed complexion. Emotional disturbances such as excessive joy or lack of joy are also seen as signs of Heart disharmony. These symptoms reflect not just physical heart conditions but also the state of one's Shen, indicating the interconnectedness of physical and emotional well-being in TCM.... see more

Heart Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Common Symptoms: Abnormal Behavior Insomnia Incoherent Or Confused Speech Aphasia Noisy Breathing Talking To Oneself Depression Coma

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Blood Deficiency with Liver Qi Stagnation Disorientation, Confusion, Melancholia, Crying, Abnormal behavior, Insomnia, Yawning Gan Mai Da Zao Tang
Phlegm Misting the Heart Mental confusion, Confusion, Fainting, Hypersomnia, Incoherent or confused speech, Slurred speech, Aphasia, Noisy breathing, Vomit... see more Wen Dan Tang | Di Tan Tang | Gun Tan Wan | Su He Xiang Wan
Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression... see more Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Sheng Tie Luo Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Pericardium

In TCM the Pericardium is more than a physical membrane protecting the heart; it's considered an organ system that acts as the "Heart's protector." It plays a crucial role in safeguarding the heart from external pathogenic factors and emotional disturbances. The Pericardium is also involved in regulating blood circulation and influencing emotional well-being, especially in terms of relationships and intimacy. When the Pericardium malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to symptoms that mirror heart issues, such as chest pain or palpitations, but often with an emotional component like difficulty in forming emotional connections or excessive vulnerability to external stressors. Additionally, a disturbed Pericardium can result in sleep disturbances, anxiety, and in severe cases, mental confusion, reflecting its integral role in both physical heart protection and emotional balance.... see more

Pericardium Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Common Symptoms: Incoherent Or Confused Speech Aphasia Coma Nighttime Fever Delirium Cold Extremities Feeling Hot Macules

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heat in Pericardium Mental confusion, Nighttime fever, Delirium, Confusion, Incoherent or confused speech, Cold extremities... see more Qing Ying Tang | Zhi Bao Dan
Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium Mental confusion, Palpitations, Flushed face, Bitter taste in the mouth, Noisy breathing, Restlessness, Insomnia, Vivid dreaming, Anxiety, Incoherent or confused speech, Confusion, Rash behaviour, Uncontrolled laughing or crying, Verbal aggression, Talking to oneself, Depression, Dull shallow face, Aggression, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Chest pain, Rapid respiration... see more Zhi Bao Dan | Wen Dan Tang | Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang | Hui Chun Dan
Detailed description of the cause

Liver

In TCM the Liver is viewed as the organ responsible for the smooth flow of Qi, Blood, and emotions throughout the body. It plays a key role in regulating mood, storing blood, supporting digestion, and ensuring the health of tendons and eyes. When the Liver malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to a range of issues such as irritability, mood swings, menstrual irregularities, eye problems, and muscular stiffness or pain. A malfunctioning Liver in TCM reflects not only physical disturbances but also emotional and mental disharmony, emphasizing the holistic approach of TCM in addressing health and wellness.... see more

Liver Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Blood Deficiency with Liver Qi Stagnation Disorientation, Confusion, Melancholia, Crying, Abnormal behavior, Insomnia, Yawning Gan Mai Da Zao Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Bladder

In TCM the Bladder plays a crucial role beyond its basic function of storing and excreting urine. It is intimately connected with the Kidney system, helping to regulate the body's water balance and being a key component in the processing and elimination of fluids. The Bladder also influences the lower part of the body and the back. When it malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to urinary issues like frequent urination, incontinence, or painful urination. Additionally, there may be problems related to its meridian pathway, such as lower back pain, stiffness, or weakness in the legs. The Bladder’s condition in TCM can also reflect emotional states, with imbalances potentially leading to feelings of fear or anxiety.... see more

Bladder Patterns That Can Lead to Confusion

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Bladder Deficiency with Cold Disorientation, Confusion, Poor memory, Urinary or fecal incontinence, Lower back pain, Dizziness, White urethral discharge, Chills, Frequent urination, Cloudy urine, Pediatric nocturnal enuresis... see more Sang Piao Xiao San

TCM Herbal Formulas for Confusion

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address confusion, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Phlegm
  • Mind Disturbance
  • Heat
  • Blood Deficiency
  • Qi Stagnation
  • Yang Excess
  • Cold
  • Formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind
  • Formulas that clear heat and open sensory orifices
  • Formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm
  • Formulas that secure essence and stop enuresis
  • Formulas that clear nutritive-level heat
  • Formulas that dispel phlegm
  • Formulas that clear heat and transform phlegm
  • Formulas that warm and open sensory orifices
  • Formulas that sedate and calm the mind

All Formulas Recommended for Confusion Caused by Phlegm

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm Misting the Heart, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart... see more
Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart
Zhi Bao Dan Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Hui Chun Dan Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Di Tan Tang Phlegm Misting the Heart
Gun Tan Wan Phlegm Misting the Heart
Su He Xiang Wan Phlegm Misting the Heart
Sheng Tie Luo Yin Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart

All Formulas Recommended for Confusion Caused by Mind Disturbance

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm Misting the Heart, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart... see more
Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart
Zhi Bao Dan Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Hui Chun Dan Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Di Tan Tang Phlegm Misting the Heart
Gun Tan Wan Phlegm Misting the Heart
Su He Xiang Wan Phlegm Misting the Heart
Sheng Tie Luo Yin Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart

All Formulas Recommended for Confusion Caused by Heat

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart
Zhi Bao Dan Heat in Pericardium, Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart
Qing Ying Tang Heat in Pericardium
Hui Chun Dan Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Sheng Tie Luo Yin Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart

All "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm" recommended for confusion

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm Misting the Heart, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart... see more
Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart

All "formulas that clear heat and open sensory orifices" recommended for confusion

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Zhi Bao Dan Heat in Pericardium, Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium
Hui Chun Dan Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

All "formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind" recommended for confusion

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Gan Mai Da Zao Tang Heart Blood Deficiency with Liver Qi Stagnation
Bai Zi Yang Xin Tang 2 Not applicable

Acupoints for Confusion

Explore below some acupoints used to address confusion, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Bladder Channel
  • Governing Vessel
  • Kidney Channel
  • Directing Vessel
  • Spleen Channel
Luoque BL-8

Luoque BL-8

1.5 cun lateral to the anterior midline and 5.5 cun superior to the anterior hairline. Or 0.5 cun posterior to Baihui Du-20 at the vertex.

Tianzhu BL-10

Tianzhu BL-10

1.3 cun lateral to Yamen DU-15 on the posterior midline, 0.5 cun above the posterior hairline, on the lateral side of trapezius muscle.

Xinshu BL-15

Xinshu BL-15

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 5th thoracic vertebra (T5).

Mingmen DU-4

Mingmen DU-4

On the lower back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Shendao DU-11

Shendao DU-11

On the back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 5th thoracic vertebra (T5).

Futonggu KID-20

Futonggu KID-20

5 cun above the umbilicus, 0.5 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Juque REN-14

Juque REN-14

On the midline of the abdomen, 6 cun above the umbilicus and 2 cun below the sternocostal angle.

Taibai SP-3

Taibai SP-3

Proximal and inferior to the head of the 1st metatarsal bone, at the border of the red and white skin.