Symptom family: Lumps, Swellings & Abscesses

Sub-symptom(s): Subcutaneous Nodule

Did you mean? Lumps

What are Nodules?

Nodules are small, firm lumps that develop under the skin, often noticeable to the touch. These can vary in size and may appear singly or in clusters, sometimes causing discomfort or pain when pressed. While nodules can manifest due to a variety of reasons, including infections, inflammation, or cysts, they are generally non-cancerous. However, their presence can signal underlying health issues that may require medical attention to diagnose and treat effectively. Understanding the nature of nodules is crucial for determining the appropriate course of action for resolution.

How does TCM view Nodules?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), understanding the pattern behind a condition is pivotal. A pattern is essentially a comprehensive diagnosis that reflects the underlying disharmony and imbalance within the body's energy system, or Qi. Identifying the specific pattern causing symptoms like nodules is crucial because it dictates the personalized treatment strategy.

This approach ensures that therapy is not just symptomatic but addresses the root cause, aiming for long-term healing and balance restoration. Recognizing the pattern is the first step in the holistic healing journey of TCM.

Root Causes of Nodules in TCM

In TCM, the formation of nodules is often attributed to the Stagnation of Qi and the accumulation of Phlegm. These conditions can disrupt the body's energy balance, leading to the physical manifestation of nodules. For instance, Phlegm can become tangible within the body, contributing to nodule formation, particularly when combined with Qi stagnation, which impedes the proper movement of bodily fluids and energy.

Addressing these underlying causes is crucial for effective treatment, requiring a nuanced understanding of the body's energetic landscape to dissolve nodules and restore health.

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

  • By Syndrome
  • Phlegm
Detailed description of the cause


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 Nodules

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Phlegm Nodules, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Head fog, Dizziness Er Chen Tang | Liu Jun Zi Tang | Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang | Wen Dan Tang | Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang | Xing Su San

TCM Herbal Formulas for Nodules

To address nodules, TCM employs specific formulas and herbs aimed at transforming Phlegm and tonifying Qi. Er Chen Tang is one such formula, featuring Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) as a key herb. This formula is adept at drying Dampness and transforming Phlegm, targeting the root cause of nodule formation.

Additionally, Liu Jun Zi Tang, with Ginseng (Ren Shen), is utilized to strengthen the body's Qi, enhancing its ability to dissolve nodules and prevent their recurrence. Through these targeted treatments, TCM seeks to eliminate nodules by correcting the internal imbalances that contribute to their development, offering a holistic path to recovery.

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

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Phlegm
  • Formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm
  • Formulas that tonify qi
  • Formulas that transform phlegm and extinguish wind
  • Formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders
  • Formulas that disperse dryness and moisten

All Formulas Recommended for Nodules Caused by Phlegm

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Er Chen Tang Phlegm
Liu Jun Zi Tang Phlegm
Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang Phlegm
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm
Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang Phlegm
Xing Su San Phlegm

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

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Er Chen Tang Phlegm
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm

TCM Herbs for Nodules

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity
  • Warm herbs that transform phlegm and stop cough
  • Herbs that regulate qi
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency
  • Herbs that pacify internal liver wind and stop tremors
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior

"Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity" recommended for nodules

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Chinese Tulip Bulbs (Shan Ci Gu) Not applicable
Catclaw Buttercup Roots (Mao Zhao Cao) Not applicable