Skin Abscessaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Lumps, Swellings & Abscesses

Sub-symptom(s): Subcutaneous Abscess

What is Skin Abscess?

A skin abscess is a localized infection deep within the skin that results in the accumulation of pus and dead tissue, creating a lump. This condition often arises from bacterial infections, most commonly involving staphylococcus bacteria. Skin abscesses can vary in size, are usually painful, and may appear anywhere on the body. They are characterized by a noticeable swelling, redness, and tenderness, signaling the body's immune response to infection. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent the spread of infection and to alleviate discomfort.

How does TCM view Skin Abscess?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on skin abscesses, diverging from the pathogen-centric approach of Western medicine. TCM views skin abscesses as manifestations of underlying imbalances and disharmonies within the body's Qi, or vital energy, and its interaction with external pathogenic factors.

It emphasizes the importance of diagnosing the specific pattern of disharmony leading to the abscess, such as the Stagnation of Qi and Blood or the invasion of Toxic-Heat, to tailor an effective treatment strategy. This holistic approach aims to treat both the symptoms and the root cause of the condition, restoring balance and health.

Causes of Skin Abscess According to TCM

In TCM, skin abscesses are primarily attributed to the accumulation of Toxic-Heat, leading to the formation of pus as the body attempts to isolate and expel the pathogenic factors. Toxic-Heat is often linked to environmental factors or internal conditions that introduce or generate heat and toxicity within the body, manifesting externally as abscesses. Understanding the underlying cause is crucial for selecting the appropriate TCM treatment to restore balance and promote healing.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Skin Abscess

TCM treatment for skin abscesses involves the use of specific formulas and herbs that address the identified pattern of disharmony. For conditions resulting from Toxic-Heat, Er Qing Gao, featuring Natural indigo (Qing Dai) with its Salty and Cold properties, is often recommended to clear heat and remove toxicity, effectively treating the abscess.

Another formula, Shi Wei Bai Du San, which includes Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng) as a key ingredient, combines Pungent, Sweet, and Warm properties to dispel Wind, Dampness, and Heat, offering a comprehensive approach to treating skin abscesses. These formulas exemplify TCM's nuanced treatment strategies, focusing on harmonizing the body's internal environment to facilitate natural healing processes.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address skin abscess, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • External formulas for external disorders
  • Formulas that clear external abscesses and sores
  • Formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores

TCM Herbs for Skin Abscess

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that cool the blood
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Warm herbs that transform phlegm and stop cough
  • Herbs that regulate qi
  • Herbs that nourish the heart and calm the spirit
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency
  • Cathartic herbs that drain downward
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency
  • Herbs for external application
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that drain dampness

"Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity" recommended for skin abscess

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Natural Indigo (Qing Dai) Er Qing Gao
Bistort Rhizomes (Quan Shen) Not applicable
Black Nightshade Herbs (Long Kui) Not applicable
Bushy Sophora Roots (Shan Dou Gen) Not applicable
Chinese Lobelia Herbs (Ban Bian Lian) Not applicable
Chinese Tulip Bulbs (Shan Ci Gu) Not applicable
Paris Rhizomes (Chong Lou) Not applicable
Patrinia (Bai Jiang Cao) Not applicable
Semiaquilegia Root Tubers (Tian Kui Zi) Not applicable
Tokyo Violets (Zi Hua Di Ding) Not applicable

"Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior" recommended for skin abscess

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) Shi Wei Bai Du San
Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng) Shi Wei Bai Du San
Scallions (Cong Bai) Not applicable

"Herbs that cool the Blood" recommended for skin abscess

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Hibiscus Leaves (Fu Rong Ye) Er Qing Gao
Ox Gallstones (Niu Huang) Not applicable