What is Oliguria?

Oliguria refers to a significant decrease in urine output. This condition is characterized by urinating less than normal, which could be a warning sign of fluid balance issues or kidney dysfunction. It's important to understand that oliguria is not a disease on its own but a clinical symptom that requires attention to underlying causes.

How does TCM View Oliguria?

Traditional Chinese Medicine interprets oliguria as a signal of internal imbalance, often related to the Kidney organ system. TCM doesn't just aim to increase urine output but seeks to restore harmony within the body's systems. Recognizing the specific pattern causing oliguria, whether it be due to a deficiency or an excess, is pivotal for successful treatment in TCM.

Root Causes of Oliguria in TCM

In TCM, oliguria is typically seen as a symptom of deeper imbalances. For instance, Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency may manifest as scanty urination accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness and a dry throat.

On the other hand, Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising can also present with oliguria, along with tremors and hypertension. These patterns are critical in TCM, as they guide practitioners to the most appropriate and individualized treatments.

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

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Liver
Detailed description of the cause

Yin Deficiency

Yin deficiency in TCM is a pattern of disharmony characterized by a depletion of the body's Yin energy, which represents the cooling, moistening, and nurturing aspects of our physiology. This condition often arises from factors like chronic stress, overwork, insufficient rest, or prolonged illness. Symptoms of Yin deficiency can include a sensation of heat, especially in the afternoon or evening, night sweats, insomnia, a dry mouth or throat, and a red tongue with little coating. There might also be a general feeling of restlessness or irritability. Since Yin is essential for balancing the body's active and warm Yang energy, its deficiency leads to a relative excess of Yang, manifesting as heat or dryness symptoms.... see more

Yin Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency Scanty urination, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Night dry coughing, Dry throat, Xerostomia, Emaciation, Exertional dyspnea, Lower back pain, Night sweats, Hearing loss, Oliguria... see more Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan
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 Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising Scanty urination, Tremors, Facial tic, Severe dizziness, Tinnitus, Headaches, Hypertension, Dry throat, Dry eyes, Blurry vision, Limb numbness, Tingling of limbs, Poor memory, Back pain, Oliguria, Night sweats... see more Liu Wei Di Huang Wan | Qi Ju Di Huang Wan | E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang | Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang | Feng Yin Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Wind

In TCM "Wind" is a concept that represents a pattern of disharmony, often characterized by its sudden and unpredictable nature, much like a gusty wind changing direction without warning. This pattern is associated with symptoms that come and go quickly or move around the body, such as itching, tremors, or even certain types of pain. Wind is considered to be a primary cause of illnesses that have these rapidly changing characteristics. In TCM, external Wind often refers to illnesses that start suddenly, like the common cold, believed to be caused by external pathogenic factors like climatic changes. On the other hand, internal Wind can be linked to internal imbalances and can manifest in conditions like dizziness or spasms. ... see more

Wind Patterns That Can Lead to Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising Scanty urination, Tremors, Facial tic, Severe dizziness, Tinnitus, Headaches, Hypertension, Dry throat, Dry eyes, Blurry vision, Limb numbness, Tingling of limbs, Poor memory, Back pain, Oliguria, Night sweats... see more Liu Wei Di Huang Wan | Qi Ju Di Huang Wan | E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang | Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang | Feng Yin Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Summer Heat

"Summer-Heat" in TCM is a unique concept that refers to a pattern of disharmony often associated with the hot summer months. Imagine the intense heat of summer stressing your body, like being in a sweltering, humid environment for too long. This can lead to symptoms like feeling overheated, excessive sweating, a feeling of irritation, and sometimes even nausea or dizziness. In TCM, this condition is thought to arise from the external environment's heat affecting the body's internal balance. It's similar to how we might feel uncomfortable and out of sorts on a very hot day. ... see more

Summer Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Summer Heat with Dampness Scanty urination, Fever, Aversion to cold, Perspiration, Headaches, Feeling of heaviness, Tight feeling in chest and stomach, Anxiety, Thirst, Chest distension, Lack of appetite... see more Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San | Xiang Ru San | Gui Ling Gan Lu Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Dampness

"Dampness" in TCM is a concept that describes a pattern of disharmony where the body accumulates excess moisture. Imagine the heavy, sticky feeling you get on a very humid day; that's similar to what dampness feels like internally. It can manifest as a sense of heaviness, bloating, sluggishness, or even a foggy mind. This condition is often thought to arise from environmental factors like living in a damp place, dietary habits that promote moisture in the body, or internal imbalances that hinder the body's ability to process fluids properly. In TCM, dampness can obstruct the normal flow of energy and fluids in the body, leading to various symptoms.... see more

Dampness Patterns That Can Lead to Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Summer Heat with Dampness Scanty urination, Fever, Aversion to cold, Perspiration, Headaches, Feeling of heaviness, Tight feeling in chest and stomach, Anxiety, Thirst, Chest distension, Lack of appetite... see more Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San | Xiang Ru San | Gui Ling Gan Lu Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Kidney

In TCM the Kidneys are regarded as the body's most fundamental reservoir of Essence, known as Jing, which influences growth, reproduction, and aging. They are not just organs for filtering blood, but a holistic system governing vital life forces. When the Kidneys malfunction in TCM, it can manifest as a variety of health issues, such as chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, imbalances in fluid metabolism leading to edema or dryness, lower back pain, and a sense of fear or insecurity.... see more

Kidney Patterns That Can Lead to Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency Scanty urination, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Night dry coughing, Dry throat, Xerostomia, Emaciation, Exertional dyspnea, Lower back pain, Night sweats, Hearing loss, Oliguria... see more Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Lung

In TCM the Lungs are seen as the organ responsible for controlling Qi and respiration, as well as being a key part of the body's defensive system. They are thought to maintain the balance and flow of air and moisture, and are closely linked to the skin and hair. When the Lungs are imbalanced or malfunctioning in TCM, it can lead to respiratory issues like coughing or asthma, a weakened immune system, dry skin, and emotional disturbances such as sadness or grief. These symptoms are believed to arise from disruptions in the Lungs' ability to regulate Qi and protect the body, highlighting their central role in maintaining overall health and well-being.... see more

Lung Patterns That Can Lead to Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency Scanty urination, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Night dry coughing, Dry throat, Xerostomia, Emaciation, Exertional dyspnea, Lower back pain, Night sweats, Hearing loss, Oliguria... see more Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan
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 Oliguria

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising Scanty urination, Tremors, Facial tic, Severe dizziness, Tinnitus, Headaches, Hypertension, Dry throat, Dry eyes, Blurry vision, Limb numbness, Tingling of limbs, Poor memory, Back pain, Oliguria, Night sweats... see more Liu Wei Di Huang Wan | Qi Ju Di Huang Wan | E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang | Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang | Feng Yin Tang

TCM Herbal Formulas for Oliguria

To address oliguria from a TCM perspective, formulas like Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan are used to nourish Yin and tonify, particularly when symptoms suggest a Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency.

In the case of Yang Excess or Wind patterns, practitioners may turn to Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, both of which nourish Yin but also aim to subdue the excess Yang or Wind, respectively. These formulas are selected based on a patient's unique presentation and are part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

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

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind
  • Formulas that expel dampness
  • Formulas that dredge and disperse external wind
  • Formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach
  • Formulas that dispel summer-Heat and resolve exterior
  • Formulas that dispel summer-Heat and facilitate resolution of dampness

All Formulas Recommended for Oliguria Caused by Yang Excess

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Qi Ju Di Huang Wan Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Feng Yin Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

All Formulas Recommended for Oliguria Caused by Wind

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Qi Ju Di Huang Wan Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Feng Yin Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

All Formulas Recommended for Oliguria Caused by Summer Heat

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San Summer Heat with Dampness
Xiang Ru San Summer Heat with Dampness
Gui Ling Gan Lu Yin Summer Heat with Dampness

All Formulas Recommended for Oliguria Caused by Dampness

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San Summer Heat with Dampness
Xiang Ru San Summer Heat with Dampness
Gui Ling Gan Lu Yin Summer Heat with Dampness

All "formulas that nourish yin and tonify" recommended for oliguria

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Qi Ju Di Huang Wan Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

All "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind" recommended for oliguria

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising
Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

TCM Herbs for Oliguria

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that drain dampness
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity
  • Herbs that pacify internal liver wind and stop tremors
  • Cathartic herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Aromatic herbs that transform dampness
  • Herbs that anchor and calm the spirit
  • Herbs that regulate qi
  • Laxative herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that relieve food stagnation
  • Herbs that cool the blood
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency
  • Tonic herbs for yin deficiency
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency

"Herbs that drain Dampness" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Talc (Hua Shi) Gui Ling Gan Lu Yin
Water Plantain (Ze Xie) Wei Ling Tang
Wax Gourd Peels (Dong Gua Pi) Not applicable
Common Rush (Deng Xin Cao) Not applicable
Corn Silk (Yu Mi Xu) Not applicable
Job's Tears (Yi Yi Ren) Not applicable
Polyporus (Zhu Ling) Not applicable
Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling) Not applicable
Red Poria (Chi Fu Ling) Not applicable
Stachyurus Stem Piths (Xiao Tong Cao) Not applicable
Tetrapanax Piths (Tong Cao) Not applicable
Akebia Stems (Mu Tong) Not applicable
Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai) Not applicable
Kochia Fruits (Di Fu Zi) Not applicable
Plantain Grass (Che Qian Cao) Not applicable

"Herbs that invigorate the Blood" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao) E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang
Achyranthes Roots (Niu Xi) Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang
Motherwort Herbs (Yi Mu Cao) Not applicable

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

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Castor Beans (Bi Ma Zi) Not applicable
Forsythia Fruits (Lian Qiao) Not applicable

"Herbs that pacify Internal Liver Wind and stop Tremors" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Earthworms (Di Long) Not applicable
Dogbane Leaves (Luo Bu Ma) Not applicable

"Cathartic herbs that drain downward" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Genkwa Flowers (Yuan Hua) Not applicable
Poke Roots (Shang Lu) Not applicable

"Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Sophora Roots (Ku Shen) Not applicable
Stephania Roots (Fang Ji) Not applicable

"Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Vietnamese Balm (Xiang Ru) Xiang Ru San
Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) Feng Yin Tang

"Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu) Wei Ling Tang
Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

"Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit" recommended for oliguria

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Dragon Bones (Long Gu) Feng Yin Tang
Oyster Shells (Mu Li ke) Feng Yin Tang