Appendicitis according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, appendicitis can be associated with five 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", as a matter of fact here appendicitis can be caused by five different patterns.

To understand whether someone's appendicitis might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from appendicitis alone. For instance when appendicitis is caused by the pattern Blood Stagnation with Heat, patients also experience symptoms such as lower abdominal distension and pain that increases with pressure, guarding of the abdominal musculature, pain in the groin and alternating fever and chills. Similarly, patients with Blood Stagnation with Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a pale tongue with yellow coating.

We've listed below a description of the five patterns associated with appendicitis so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities 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 four formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with appendicitis, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The five "patterns of disharmony" associated with appendicitis

Blood Stagnation with Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Symptoms: Pain in the groin Alternating fever and chills Guarding of the abdominal musculature Lower abdominal distension and pain that increases with pressure

Appendicitis might be due to Blood Stagnation with Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as lower abdominal distension and pain that increases with pressure, guarding of the abdominal musculature, pain in the groin and alternating fever and chills. Similarly, patients with Blood Stagnation with Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a pale tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Blood Stagnation with Heat here

Exterior Cold invading the Interior

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Da Huang Fu Zi Tang

Symptoms: Chills Constipation Abdominal pain Low-grade fever Hypochondriac pain Cold hands and feet

Appendicitis might be due to Exterior Cold invading the Interior if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, hypochondriac pain and chills. Similarly, patients with Exterior Cold invading the Interior typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Exterior Cold invading the Interior here

Rhubarb (Da Huang) is the key herb for Da Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Heat in Yang brightness Organs

Heat in Yang brightness Organs

Pulse type(s): Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Grey or black coating, Yellow coating

Recommended herbal formula: Da Cheng Qi Tang

Symptoms: Flatulence Focal distention Abdominal fullness Severe constipation Tense and firm abdomen Abdominal pain that increases upon pressure

Appendicitis might be due to Heat in Yang brightness Organs if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as severe constipation, flatulence, focal distention and abdominal fullness. Similarly, patients with Heat in Yang brightness Organs typically exhibit full (Shi) pulses as well as a tongue with grey or black coating, yellow coating.

Read more about Heat in Yang brightness Organs here

Rhubarb (Da Huang) is the key herb for Da Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Yang Excess

Yang Excess

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Da Cheng Qi Tang

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Red face Irritability Restlnessness Scanty dark urination Yellow vaginal discharge

Yang Excess is a Full Yang state and its symptoms are similar to those are caused by the Heat Pernicious invasion. Yang is associated with Heat, activity and Dryness and these are the general symptoms when patients have Excess Yang. However, they become more specific depending on the Organ involved. For instance, Excess Liver Yang can cause migraines, or Excess Heart Yang can result in manic behavior and extreme restlessness. When there is Excess Yang, the body is in a hyperfunctional state. Over time, the Body Fluids can be "burned off" by the presence of Excessive Yang, resulting in a condition of Yin Deficiency.

Excess Yang is most likely caused by the Heat Pernicious Influence, either External or Internal. It can also be caused by internal damage from the Seven Emotions, the Stagnation of Qi or Blood, over-exposure to hot climates or environments, indigestion, and the over consumption of hot-natured and fried greasy foods, coffee, alcohol and red meat.

Read more about Yang Excess here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the key herb for Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a formula used for Toxic Heat

Toxic Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Symptoms: Boils Sores Erythema Swellings Carbuncles

Appendicitis might be due to Toxic Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as boils, carbuncles, erythema and swellings. Similarly, patients with Toxic Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Toxic Heat here

The four herbal formulas that might help with appendicitis

Da Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Purges Heat from the Stomach and Intestines. Relieves constipation.

Why might Da Cheng Qi Tang help with appendicitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Heat in Yang brightness Organs and Yang Excess which are sometimes associated with appendicitis. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Da Cheng Qi Tang here

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Stagnant Heat in the intestines. Reduces swelling and disperses lumps.

Why might Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang help with appendicitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Blood Stagnation with Heat, a pattern sometimes associated with appendicitis. If it looks like you might suffer from Blood Stagnation with Heat, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang here

Da Huang Fu Zi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Interior. Disperses Cold. Unblocks the bowels. Alleviates pain.

Why might Da Huang Fu Zi Tang help with appendicitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Exterior Cold invading the Interior, a pattern sometimes associated with appendicitis. If it looks like you might suffer from Exterior Cold invading the Interior, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Da Huang Fu Zi Tang here

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Why might Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin help with appendicitis?

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

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here