Chronic hepatitis according to Chinese Medicine

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Chronic hepatitis factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, chronic hepatitis can be associated with six 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 hepatitis can be caused by six different patterns.

To understand whether someone's chronic hepatitis 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 hepatitis alone. For instance when chronic hepatitis is caused by the pattern Spleen Qi Deficiency, patients also experience symptoms such as pale complexion, weak voice, poor appetite and loose stools. Similarly, patients with Spleen Qi Deficiency typically exhibit soggy (Ru) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

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

The six "patterns of disharmony" associated with chronic hepatitis

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

Spleen Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Si Jun Zi Tang

Symptoms: Weak voice Loose stools Poor appetite Pale complexion Weakness in the limbs

Chronic hepatitis might be due to Spleen Qi Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as pale complexion, weak voice, poor appetite and loose stools. Similarly, patients with Spleen Qi Deficiency typically exhibit soggy (Ru) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Spleen Qi Deficiency here

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

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Symptoms: Deafness Tinnitus Dizziness Weak voice Unsteadiness Loose stools Poor appetite Blurred vision Pale complexion Shortness of breath

Chronic hepatitis might be due to Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as dizziness, unsteadiness, blurred vision and deafness. Similarly, patients with Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency typically exhibit weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency here

Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) is the key herb for Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a formula used for Qi Deficiency Fever

Qi Deficiency Fever

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Symptoms: Aversion to cold Spontaneous sweating Thirst for warm drinks Intermittent fever that worsens upon exertion

Chronic hepatitis might be due to Qi Deficiency Fever if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as intermittent fever that worsens upon exertion, spontaneous sweating, aversion to cold and thirst for warm drinks. Similarly, patients with Qi Deficiency Fever typically exhibit empty (Xu) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Qi Deficiency Fever here

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

Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat

Chronic hepatitis might be due to Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, dizziness or vertigo, dream disturbed sleep with strange or unusual dreams and palpitations. Similarly, patients with Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat here

Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu) is the key herb for Yue Ju Wan, a formula used for Qi Stagnation

Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

Recommended herbal formula: Yue Ju Wan

Symptoms: Belching Vomiting Acid reflux Indigestion Poor appetite Fixed pain in the hypochondria Mild coughing with copious sputum Stifling sensation in the chest and abdomen

Chronic hepatitis might be due to Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as stifling sensation in the chest and abdomen, fixed pain in the hypochondria, belching and vomiting. Similarly, patients with Qi Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a normal (light red) tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Qi Stagnation here

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

Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Symptoms: Hiccuping Regurgitation Nausea or vomiting Unremitting belching Hard epigastric focal distention

Chronic hepatitis might be due to Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as unremitting belching, hiccuping, regurgitation and nausea or vomiting. Similarly, patients with Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm here

The eight herbal formulas that might help with chronic hepatitis

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with chronic hepatitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency and Qi Deficiency Fever which are sometimes associated with chronic hepatitis. 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 Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Si Jun Zi Tang help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang here

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Yue Ju Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Releases all types of Stagnation (Qi, Blood, Phlegm, Fire, Food and Dampness).

Why might Yue Ju Wan help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Yue Ju Wan here

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi. Expectorant, treats hiccups.

Why might Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang here

Xiao Jian Zhong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies the Middle Burner (Spleen and Stomach). Tonifies Qi. Relieves spasmodic pain.

Why might Xiao Jian Zhong Tang help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Xiao Jian Zhong Tang here

Shen Ling Bai Zhu San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Augments the Qi. Strengthens the Spleen. Leaches out Dampness. Stops diarrhea.

Why might Shen Ling Bai Zhu San help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Shen Ling Bai Zhu San here

Wei Ling Tang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wei Ling Tang help with chronic hepatitis?

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

Read more about Wei Ling Tang here