What is a Sore?

A sore is an open wound or lesion on the skin that can result from a variety of causes, including injury, infection, or underlying health conditions. Sores can vary widely in size, appearance, and severity, ranging from minor irritations to significant wounds that require medical attention.

They may present with additional symptoms such as pain, redness, swelling, or discharge, depending on the cause. Recognizing and treating sores effectively is crucial for preventing infection and promoting healing, underscoring the importance of understanding their origins and care requirements.

How does TCM view Sore?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perceives sores as external manifestations of internal imbalances, particularly involving the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood, as well as the presence of pathogenic factors such as Heat or Dampness.

TCM emphasizes the importance of diagnosing the specific pattern of disharmony underlying the sore to tailor the treatment effectively. This holistic approach seeks to not only heal the sore but also to restore balance and harmony within the body, addressing both the symptoms and their root causes to facilitate comprehensive healing.

Root Causes of Sore in TCM

In TCM, sores are often associated with specific imbalances such as Toxic-Heat or Damp-Heat within the body. Toxic-Heat represents an accumulation of pathogenic Heat that becomes intense enough to manifest as fever, pus, discharge, and, notably, sores with red skin eruptions. This condition highlights the body's struggle to expel the toxic Heat through the skin. Identifying and addressing these patterns of disharmony is essential for developing an effective treatment strategy that not only alleviates the sore but also rebalances the body's internal environment.

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

  • By Syndrome
  • Heat
Detailed description of the cause


In TCM "Heat" signifies an excess of Yang energy, leading to an imbalance where heat predominates over the body's cool Yin aspects. This condition is metaphorically akin to an internal over-heating. Symptoms indicative of Heat can include feelings of warmth, fever, sweating, irritability, red face, thirst with a preference for cold drinks, and a rapid pulse. The tongue may appear red with a yellow coating. Unlike the common interpretation of heat in terms of temperature, in TCM, it represents a state of hyperactivity or inflammation in the body.... see more

Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Sore

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Toxic-Heat Sores, Fever, Edema, Pus and discharge, Boils, Carbuncles, Pustule, Red skin eruptions, Sore throat, Eczema, Perineum swollen, Prostate swollen, Testicular swelling, Mouth ulcers, Tonsil swelling... see more Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

TCM Herbal Formulas for Sore

To combat sores, particularly those arising from Toxic-Heat, TCM recommends specific formulas and herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity. A prime example is Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a formula that includes Honeysuckle flowers (Jin Yin Hua) as a key ingredient.

This formula is adept at clearing external abscesses and sores by eliminating Toxic-Heat, thereby reducing inflammation, fever, and pus associated with sores. Such targeted herbal treatments exemplify TCM's nuanced approach to care, aiming to neutralize the pathogenic factors and support the body's natural healing processes.

See more details below about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a herbal formula used to address sore.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Heat
  • Formulas that clear external abscesses and sores

Acupoints for Sore

In addition to herbal medicine, TCM utilizes acupuncture as a complementary treatment for sores, focusing on acupoints that can enhance healing. One such acupoint is Xuehai SP-10, located on the Spleen Channel. Situated 2 cun above the medial upper border of the patella on the vastus medialis muscle, stimulating Xuehai SP-10 can cool the Blood, invigorate Blood circulation, and remove stagnation.

This action not only aids in the healing of sores but also benefits the skin and can regulate menstruation, showcasing the interconnectedness of the body's systems and the holistic nature of TCM treatments.

See more details below about Xuehai SP-10, an acupoint used to address sore.

  • By Meridian
  • Spleen Channel
Xuehai SP-10

Xuehai SP-10

When knee is flexed, Xuehai SP-10 is 2 cun above the medial upper border of the patella, in a depression on the vastus medialis muscle.