Coronary artery disease according to Chinese Medicine

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Coronary artery disease factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, coronary artery disease can be associated with four 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 coronary artery disease can be caused by four different patterns.

To understand whether someone's coronary artery 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 coronary artery disease alone. For instance when coronary artery disease is caused by the pattern Heat in Gall Bladder, patients also experience symptoms such as mild chills alternating with pronounced fever, bitter taste in the mouth, stifling sensation in the chest and spitting up bitter or sour fluids. Similarly, patients with Heat in Gall Bladder typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with thick coating, yellow coating.

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

The four "patterns of disharmony" associated with coronary artery disease

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

Heat in Gall Bladder

Coronary artery disease might be due to Heat in Gall Bladder if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as mild chills alternating with pronounced fever, bitter taste in the mouth, stifling sensation in the chest and spitting up bitter or sour fluids. Similarly, patients with Heat in Gall Bladder typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with thick coating, yellow coating.

Read more about Heat in Gall Bladder here

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Symptoms: Vertigo Tinnitus Night sweats Lightheadedness Diminished hearing Chronic sore throat Spontaneous and nocturnal emissions Soreness and weakness in the lower back

Coronary artery disease might be due to Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Similarly, patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

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

Pericardium Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Knotted (Jie), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

Recommended herbal formula: Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Symptoms: Chest pain Purple lips Palpitations Purple nails Painful period Hypochondriac pain Shortness of breath Dark clots in menstrual blood Feeling of oppression of the chest

Coronary artery disease might be due to Pericardium Blood Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as chest pain, hypochondriac pain, palpitations and painful period. Similarly, patients with Pericardium Blood Stagnation typically exhibit knotted (Jie) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Pericardium Blood Stagnation here

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

Stomach Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

Recommended herbal formula: Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Symptoms: Nausea Vomiting Epigastric pain Vomiting of blood

Coronary artery disease might be due to Stomach Blood Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting and vomiting of blood. Similarly, patients with Stomach Blood Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Stomach Blood Stagnation here

The three herbal formulas that might help with coronary artery disease

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Dispels blood Stagnation. Spreads the Liver Qi. Unblocks the channels.

Why might Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang help with coronary artery disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Pericardium Blood Stagnation and Stomach Blood Stagnation which are sometimes associated with coronary artery disease. 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 Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang here

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Source date: Qing Dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder. Relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes. Resolves Phlegm. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang help with coronary artery disease?

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

Read more about Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang here

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with coronary artery disease?

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

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here