Chronic cholecystitis according to Chinese Medicine

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Chronic cholecystitis factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, chronic cholecystitis can be associated with three 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 chronic cholecystitis can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's chronic cholecystitis 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 chronic cholecystitis alone. For instance when chronic cholecystitis is caused by the pattern Liver Qi Stagnation, patients also experience symptoms such as flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs, suppressed emotions and feelings of frustration. Similarly, patients with Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with chronic cholecystitis

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Chronic cholecystitis might be due to Liver Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs, suppressed emotions and feelings of frustration. Similarly, patients with Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses.

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

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

Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Tight (Jin)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Symptoms: Coughing Dizziness Headaches Depression Moving pain Listlessness Hypochondrium fullness

Chronic cholecystitis might be due to Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as coughing, hypochondrium fullness, dizziness and headaches. Similarly, patients with Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit empty (Xu) or tight (Jin) pulses as well as a normal (light red), pale tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation here

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red tip

Recommended herbal formula: Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang

Symptoms: Poor appetite Abdominal fullness Dry heaves or vomiting Borborygmi with diarrhea Epigastric focal distention

Chronic cholecystitis might be due to Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as epigastric focal distention, abdominal fullness, dry heaves or vomiting and borborygmi with diarrhea. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tip tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner here

The three herbal formulas that might help with chronic cholecystitis

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Why might Chai Hu Shu Gan San help with chronic cholecystitis?

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

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Treats the Lesser Yang Channels (Gallbladder and Triple Warmer). Regulates the Liver and Spleen functions. Addresses combined Yin-Yang symptoms of External and Internal, Excess and Deficiency, and Hot and Cold.

Why might Xiao Chai Hu Tang help with chronic cholecystitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation, a pattern sometimes associated with chronic cholecystitis. If it looks like you might suffer from Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Chai Hu Tang here

Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Reverses the flow of Rebellious Stomach Qi. Relieves both Heat and Cold Stagnation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Why might Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang help with chronic cholecystitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner, a pattern sometimes associated with chronic cholecystitis. If it looks like you might suffer from Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang here