Cardiac disease according to Chinese Medicine

Cardiac disease factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, cardiac disease can be associated with two 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 cardiac disease can be caused by two different patterns.

To understand whether someone's cardiac disease 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 cardiac disease alone. For instance when cardiac disease is caused by the pattern Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp, patients also experience symptoms such as generalized body pain, aching bones and joints, cold extremities and no thirst. Similarly, patients with Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), minute (Wei) or slow (Chi) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with cardiac disease 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 two formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with cardiac disease, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with cardiac disease

Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Deep (Chen), Minute (Wei), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Fu Zi Tang

Symptoms: No thirst Cold extremities Generalized body pain Aching bones and joints Aversion to cold (especially at the back)

Cardiac disease might be due to Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as generalized body pain, aching bones and joints, cold extremities and no thirst. Similarly, patients with Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), minute (Wei) or slow (Chi) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp here

Yin and Blood Deficiency

Cardiac disease might be due to Yin and Blood Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as irritability, palpitations with anxiety, fatigue and insomnia with very restless sleep. Similarly, patients with Yin and Blood Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Read more about Yin and Blood Deficiency here

The two herbal formulas that might help with cardiac disease

Fu Zi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Meridians. Assists the Yang. Dispels Cold. Transforms Dampness.

Why might Fu Zi Tang help with cardiac disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp, a pattern sometimes associated with cardiac disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Fu Zi Tang here

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Source date: 16th century

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney. Clears away pathogenic Heat, clears Deficient Heat. Sedative.

Why might Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan help with cardiac disease?

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

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan here