Hydrocephalus, commonly referred to as “water on the brain”, is a condition characterized by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain.
This accumulation can increase intracranial pressure and lead to swelling of the head, potentially impairing brain function. Hydrocephalus can be congenital or acquired and may present in infants, children, or adults. The condition requires careful medical evaluation to manage the symptoms and prevent long-term neurological damage.
In the framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), hydrocephalus is understood as a manifestation of an imbalance within the body’s fundamental substances, particularly concerning the flow of Jin Ye (Body Fluids).
TCM does not view hydrocephalus as merely a localized issue but rather as a symptom of underlying systemic disharmony. It's believed that factors such as Kidney Essence Deficiency or Spleen Qi not managing fluids properly can lead to the pathological accumulation of fluid. Identifying the correct pattern behind the symptoms is essential for TCM practitioners to provide an effective treatment plan.
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, hydrocephalus is typically associated with an imbalance in the body's ability to process and regulate Body Fluids. The condition may be linked to an Excess of Yin, which can lead to an accumulation of fluids due to the body's decreased Heat or Yang energy necessary to transform and transport these fluids.
Additionally, a Deficiency in Kidney Yang can result in a failure to warm and evaporate fluids adequately, causing them to collect abnormally. This pathological state is often described in terms such as "Water overflowing," where the sustaining and containing functions of the Kidney are compromised, leading to an excessive build-up of fluid in the cerebral ventricles.
In addressing hydrocephalus, TCM emphasizes formulas that can promote diuresis and resolve dampness, targeting the underlying patterns contributing to fluid accumulation. A principal formula used in such cases is Wu Ling San, which incorporates Water plantain as a chief ingredient. Known for its sweet and cold properties, Water plantain is adept at facilitating the flow of water and clearing Dampness.
The formula is particularly suited for patterns involving Yin Excess, where there's an overabundance of cool, passive energy resulting in fluid accumulation. It's also used when Kidney Yang is Deficient, losing its warming and active quality, leading to water retention. By applying such formulas, TCM practitioners aim to restore the dynamic balance between Yin and Yang, ensuring the proper distribution and management of bodily fluids.
See more details below about Wu Ling San, a herbal formula used to address hydrocephalus.
See more details below about Water Plantain (Ze Xie), a herb used to address hydrocephalus.