Scarlet Feveraccording to TCM

What is Scarlet Fever?

Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina or streptococcal scarlet fever, is an infectious disease marked by a bright red rash covering most of the body, a high fever, and a sore throat. The condition is caused by the same bacteria responsible for strep throat and can affect individuals of all ages, though it primarily occurs in children. The disease can be serious but is generally treatable with antibiotics.

How does TCM View Scarlet Fever?

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, scarlet fever is understood through a holistic lens, considering the imbalance of internal energies rather than focusing solely on the infectious agent.

TCM recognizes that symptoms and diseases, including scarlet fever, are the result of disharmonies within the body's Qi, Yin, Yang, and Blood. Effective treatment in TCM thus depends on accurately identifying the underlying pattern of disharmony.

Causes of Scarlet Fever According to TCM

In TCM, the root causes of scarlet fever are typically attributed to specific patterns of disharmony. One common pattern involves an imbalance in the Heat in Qi Level according to the 4 level theory , where excessive Heat accumulates in the Stomach and Intestines, manifesting as high fever, red rash, and other symptoms.

Another pattern may be related to the invasion of External Pathogenic Factors like Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat, which disrupt the normal functioning of Qi and Blood in the body. Identifying these patterns is crucial for TCM practitioners to provide effective treatment.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Scarlet Fever

TCM employs various formulas and herbs to address scarlet fever, each tailored to specific patterns of disharmony. For instance, Bai Hu Tang, containing Gypsum (Shi Gao) - a Pungent, Sweet, and Cold herb - is often used to treat Bright Yang Stomach Heat and Toxic-Heat patterns. Zhu Ye Shi Gao Tang, also with Gypsum, provides similar benefits.

In cases where Phlegm Fire harasses the Pericardium, Hui Chun Dan, featuring Ox Gallstones (Niu Huang), or Zi Xue Dan with Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao), can be effective. Additionally, Da Chai Hu Tang, which includes Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu), is used for patterns like Liver Yang Rising, while Da Qing Long Tang with Ephedra (Ma Huang) treats Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs and Exterior Cold with Interior Heat.

For patterns involving Blood Stagnation, Tao He Cheng Qi Tang with Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is recommended. Each formula is chosen based on the specific TCM pattern presented in the patient.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address scarlet fever, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear qi-level heat
  • Formulas that clear heat and open sensory orifices
  • Formulas that release the exterior and purge the interior
  • Formulas that clear wind-Cold
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation

All "formulas that clear qi-level heat" recommended for scarlet fever

Formula Key herbs
Bai Hu Tang Gypsum (Shi Gao)
Zhu Ye Shi Gao Tang Gypsum (Shi Gao)

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

Formula Key herbs
Hui Chun Dan Ox Gallstones (Niu Huang), Musk (She Xiang)
Zi Xue Dan Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao), Saiga Antelope's Horns (Ling Yang Jiao), Musk (She Xiang)

TCM Herbs for Scarlet Fever

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that cool the blood
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Cool/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that open the orifices
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Herbs that pacify internal liver wind and stop tremors

"Herbs that cool the Blood" recommended for scarlet fever

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Ox Gallstones (Niu Huang) Hui Chun Dan
Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) Zi Xue Dan