Ulcerative Colitisaccording to TCM

Symptom families: Gastrointestinal Ulcers, Inflammatory Bowel Disorders

Parent symptom: Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon and rectum. It is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that can cause persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody stools.

The inflammation typically occurs in a continuous stretch of the colon, starting from the rectum. This condition varies in severity and can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. Accurate diagnosis and effective management are key to controlling symptoms and achieving long-term remission.

How does TCM view Ulcerative Colitis?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), ulcerative colitis is seen through a holistic lens, emphasizing the balance of the body's internal environment. TCM interprets this condition as a manifestation of disharmony within the body's organs, primarily the Spleen, Liver, and Kidney, and an imbalance of Qi (vital energy), Blood, and Body Fluids.

Factors such as emotional stress, dietary habits, and environmental conditions are considered contributory to the disruption of these systems. TCM treatments aim to restore harmony and balance, addressing both the symptoms and the root causes of the disease.

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis according to TCM

TCM attributes the causes of ulcerative colitis to several patterns of disharmony, including Yang Deficiency, where a lack of warming and activating energy leads to cold accumulating in the Stomach, or Damp-Heat, where excessive Heat and moisture in the body cause inflammation and ulcers.

Another common pattern involves Blood Stagnation, where the Blood flow in the body is impeded, causing pain and swelling. These TCM patterns underline the importance of diagnosing the specific imbalances within each individual to tailor the treatment effectively.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Ulcerative Colitis

To address the complex patterns of imbalance causing ulcerative colitis, TCM employs a variety of herbal formulas. For conditions marked by Yang Deficiency and cold, Li Zhong Wan and Wu Zhu Yu Tang are prescribed to warm the middle and dispel cold, enhancing the Yang energy in the body.

In cases where Damp-Heat prevails in the Large Intestine, Shao Yao Tang is used for its cooling and dampness-expelling properties.

For Blood Stagnation, Tao He Cheng Qi Tang is recommended to invigorate blood circulation and clear blockages. Additionally, Tao Hua Tang and Wen Pi Tang may be used to bind up the intestines and warm the body, respectively, targeting specific conditions such as Large Intestine Cold and Empty Cold due to Yang Deficiency. These formulas are selected based on a comprehensive diagnosis of the individual's pattern of disharmony, aiming to restore balance and alleviate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

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

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation
  • Formulas that bind up intestines and secure abandoned conditions
  • Formulas that warm and purge
  • Formulas that expel parasites
  • Formulas that purge heat accumulation

All "formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold" recommended for ulcerative colitis

Formula Key herbs
Li Zhong Wan Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang)
Wu Zhu Yu Tang Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu)

TCM Herbs for Ulcerative Colitis

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that warm the interior and/or expel cold
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Herbs that stabilize and bind
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward

"Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold" recommended for ulcerative colitis

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang) Li Zhong Wan
Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) Wen Pi Tang
Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu) Wu Zhu Yu Tang

"Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness" recommended for ulcerative colitis

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) Shao Yao Tang
Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin) Shao Yao Tang

"Herbs that stabilize and bind" recommended for ulcerative colitis

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Red Halloysite (Chi Shi Zhi) Tao Hua Tang
Chinese Plums (Wu Mei) Wu Mei Wan