What is Ulcer?

An ulcer is a break in the skin or mucous membrane with loss of surface tissue, disintegration, and necrosis of epithelial tissue. Ulcers can manifest anywhere on the body but are most commonly found in the digestive tract, skin, and lower extremities. They can range from minor, easily healed sores to severe, deep-rooted wounds that may require significant medical intervention. Sub-symptoms of ulcers include chronic ulcers, which persist over time, deep-rooted ulcers that penetrate deeply into skin layers, and bedsores, often a result of prolonged pressure on the skin.

How does TCM view Ulcer?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perceives ulcers through a distinct lens, emphasizing the imbalance of Qi (vital energy), Blood, and Body Fluids. Contrary to Western medicine's focus on local infection and inflammation, TCM identifies ulcers as manifestations of underlying disharmonies within the body's internal landscape.

It highlights the importance of diagnosing the specific pattern of imbalance, whether it be Qi Deficiency, Blood Stagnation, Damp-Heat accumulation, or Yin Deficiency. Recognizing and addressing these patterns is fundamental to effectively treating ulcers and restoring the body's natural harmony and health.

Causes of Ulcer According to TCM

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) identifies Qi and Blood Deficiency as a primary cause behind the development of ulcers. This condition, often resulting from prolonged illness, stress, or malnutrition, leads to the body's diminished capacity to maintain and repair tissue, making it vulnerable to ulceration.

In parallel, Spleen Qi Deficiency, pivotal in TCM theory, underscores the Spleen's role in producing and managing Blood and Qi. A weakened Spleen fails to provide the necessary nutrients and support, exacerbating the risk and severity of ulcers by hindering the body's healing processes.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Ulcer

TCM offers a variety of herbal formulas to address the diverse patterns associated with ulcers. For conditions stemming from Qi and Blood Deficiency, Ba Zhen Tang is often prescribed. This formula, featuring Ginseng (Ren Shen) as a key ingredient, aims to simultaneously tonify Qi and nourish Blood, tackling the fundamental Deficiencies that can lead to ulcer formation. By fortifying the body's vital energy and enriching the Blood, it aids in healing and preventing the recurrence of ulcers. This approach exemplifies TCM's holistic strategy in treating ulcers, focusing on both symptom management and underlying cause resolution.

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

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that tonify qi and blood
  • Formulas that tonify blood
  • Formulas that tonify
  • Formulas that tonify yin and yang
  • Formulas that warm the meridians and disperse cold

Acupoints for Ulcer

See more details below about Zhoujian EX-UE-1, an acupoint used to address ulcer.

  • By Meridian
  • Extra Points: Upper Extremities (EX-UE)
Zhoujian EX-UE-1

Zhoujian EX-UE-1

On the tip of the olecranon.

TCM Herbs for Ulcer

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs for external application
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency
  • Herbs that stabilize and bind
  • Herbs that nourish the heart and calm the spirit
  • Cathartic herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that drain dampness
  • Herbs that dispel wind and dampness
  • Herbs that regulate qi
  • Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity
  • Tonic herbs for yin deficiency
  • Herbs that cool the blood

"Herbs for external application" recommended for ulcer

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Beeswax (Feng La) Not applicable
Minium (Qian Dan) Not applicable
Sesame Oil (Ma You) Not applicable

"Herbs that invigorate the Blood" recommended for ulcer

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Dragon's Blood (Xue Jie) Not applicable
Frankincense (Ru Xiang) Not applicable
Myrrh (Mo Yao) Not applicable

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

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Tang
Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) Not applicable

"Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency" recommended for ulcer

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang | Shi Quan Da Bu Tang | Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Tang
Ginseng (Ren Shen) Ba Zhen Tang | Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang

"Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency" recommended for ulcer

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) Ba Zhen Tang
White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang