Kidney Infectionaccording to TCM

What is Kidney Infection?

Kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis, is a type of urinary tract infection that generally starts in the urethra or bladder and travels up into the kidneys. This serious condition can cause high fever, chills, nausea, and pain in the back, side, or groin.

If not treated promptly, it can lead to kidney scarring or sepsis, a potentially life-threatening response to infection. It’s crucial to treat a kidney infection with appropriate medical intervention to prevent these complications.

How Does TCM View Kidney Infection?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) regards kidney infection as a disturbance of the body's natural balance, particularly involving the kidney organ system. TCM differentiates conditions not by the infecting organism, as in Western medicine, but by patterns of symptoms and constitutional imbalances.

A TCM diagnosis might involve identifying patterns such as Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder or a Deficiency in the kidney's Yang. The precise pattern identified guides the treatment strategy, emphasizing the importance of a tailored approach to restore health.

Causes of Kidney Infection According to TCM

TCM attributes kidney infection to factors such as Damp-Heat accumulating in the Bladder and Kidney Yang Deficiency. The former can cause symptoms like burning on urination and dark, cloudy urine, while the latter may present with fatigue, a sensation of cold, and edema.

These patterns indicate an excess or deficiency affecting the body's Qi, the vital force that maintains health. Treatment in TCM seeks to correct these imbalances, thereby addressing both the symptoms and the deeper causes of kidney infection.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Kidney Infection

In managing kidney infections, TCM practitioners may use Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan, a formula containing Baikal Skullcap Roots, to clear Damp-Heat and Toxic-Heat from the body. San Ren Tang, with its key herb Apricot Seeds, is utilized for Dampness in the Gallbladder. For more severe Heat and Blood Stagnation, Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang with Rhubarb can be effective.

Additionally, Dao Chi San may be prescribed for Full-Heat in the Small Intestine, illustrating the wide range of herbal formulas available to treat the diverse patterns associated with kidney infections in TCM. These treatments are highly individualized, reflecting the patient's specific disharmony and the holistic nature of TCM.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address kidney infection, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that clear heat and expel dampness
  • Formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores
  • Formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness
  • Formulas that clear external abscesses and sores

All "formulas that clear heat from the organs" recommended for kidney infection

Formula Key herbs
Dao Chi San Akebia Stems (Mu Tong)
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao)

TCM Herbs for Kidney Infection

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address kidney infection, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that drain dampness
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing
  • Aromatic herbs that transform dampness
  • Herbs that warm the interior and/or expel cold
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity

"Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness" recommended for kidney infection

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin) Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan | Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang
Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) Long Dan Xie Gan Tang