Dermatitis according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, dermatitis 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 dermatitis can be caused by two different patterns.

To understand whether someone's dermatitis 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 dermatitis alone. For instance when dermatitis is caused by the pattern Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation, patients also experience symptoms such as severe fever and chills without sweating, generalized body pain, thirst and irritability. Similarly, patients with Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation typically exhibit tight (Jin) or floating (Fu) pulses.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with dermatitis 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 Da Qing Long Tang, a formula that can help treat the patterns Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation and Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with dermatitis

Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Recommended herbal formula: Da Qing Long Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Irritability Generalized body pain Severe fever and chills without sweating

Dermatitis might be due to Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as severe fever and chills without sweating, generalized body pain, thirst and irritability. Similarly, patients with Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation typically exhibit tight (Jin) or floating (Fu) pulses.

Read more about Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation here

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the key herb for Da Qing Long Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

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

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Da Qing Long Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Irritability Absence of sweating Feeling of heaviness Generalized body pain Alternating fever and chills Superficial edema in the extremities

Dermatitis might be due to Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as feeling of heaviness, generalized body pain, superficial edema in the extremities and alternating fever and chills. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick white coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs here

Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula that might help with dermatitis

Da Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Promotes sweating. Releases the Exterior. Clears Interior Heat.

Why might Da Qing Long Tang help with dermatitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation and Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs which are sometimes associated with dermatitis. 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 Qing Long Tang here