Anxiety according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, anxiety is sometimes associated with Heart and Spleen Deficiency, a so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease" because both concepts arise from totally different ways of seeing the human body.

To understand whether someone's anxiety might be caused by the pattern Heart and Spleen Deficiency, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from anxiety alone. Indeed if anxiety is caused by Heart and Spleen Deficiency, patients also experience symptoms such as forgetfulness, palpitations, insomnia and fatigue. Similarly, patients with Heart and Spleen Deficiency typically exhibit fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

We've listed below a more detailed description of Heart and Spleen Deficiency so that you can have a better understanding of where anxiety might find its root according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below Gui Pi Tang, a formula that can help treat Heart and Spleen Deficiency.

Heart and Spleen Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" associated with anxiety

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Heart and Spleen Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Gui Pi Tang

Symptoms: Fatigue Anxiety Insomnia Menorrhagia Palpitations Forgetfulness Poor appetite Pale complexion Abnormal uterine bleeding

Anxiety might be due to Heart and Spleen Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as forgetfulness, palpitations, insomnia and fatigue. Similarly, patients with Heart and Spleen Deficiency typically exhibit fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Heart and Spleen Deficiency here

Gui Pi Tang, a herbal formula that might help with anxiety

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with anxiety?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heart and Spleen Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with anxiety. If it looks like you might suffer from Heart and Spleen Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Most common herbs used to treat anxiety in Chinese Medicine