Diabetes mellitus according to Chinese Medicine

Diabetes mellitus factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, diabetes mellitus 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 diabetes mellitus can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's diabetes mellitus 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 diabetes mellitus alone. For instance when diabetes mellitus is caused by the pattern Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, patients also experience 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.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with diabetes mellitus

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

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Diabetes mellitus might be due to Kidney Yang Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, cold in the lower extremities, impotence and spermatorrhea.

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

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

Liver Yin Deficiency

Diabetes mellitus might be due to Liver Yin Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as dizziness, numbness in the limbs, insomnia and blurred vision. Similarly, patients with Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a normal (light red) tongue with complete absence of coating.

Read more about Liver Yin Deficiency here

The four herbal formulas that might help with diabetes mellitus

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 diabetes mellitus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with diabetes mellitus. 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

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with diabetes mellitus?

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

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with diabetes mellitus?

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

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with diabetes mellitus?

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

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here