Eczema according to Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, eczema can be associated with five 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 eczema can be caused by five different patterns.

To understand whether someone's eczema 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 eczema alone. For instance when eczema is caused by the pattern Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, patients also experience symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, night fever, delirious speech and irritability. Similarly, patients with Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner typically exhibit choppy (Se) or full (Shi) pulses.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" associated with eczema

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

Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Full (Shi)

Recommended herbal formula: Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Amenorrhea Night fever Irritability Dysmenorrhea Restlnessness Delirious speech Lower abdominal pain

Eczema might be due to Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, night fever, delirious speech and irritability. Similarly, patients with Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner typically exhibit choppy (Se) or full (Shi) pulses.

Read more about Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner here

Exterior Cold invading the Interior

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

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Da Huang Fu Zi Tang

Symptoms: Chills Constipation Abdominal pain Low-grade fever Hypochondriac pain Cold hands and feet

Eczema might be due to Exterior Cold invading the Interior if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, hypochondriac pain and chills. Similarly, patients with Exterior Cold invading the Interior typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Exterior Cold invading the Interior here

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

Painful Obstruction with Liver and Kidney Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Slow (Chi), Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang

Symptoms: Palpitations Aversion to cold Shortness of breath Attraction to warmth Weakness and stiffness Heavy and painful sensations in the lower back and lower extremities

Eczema might be due to Painful Obstruction with Liver and Kidney Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as heavy and painful sensations in the lower back and lower extremities, weakness and stiffness, aversion to cold and attraction to warmth. Similarly, patients with Painful Obstruction with Liver and Kidney Deficiency typically exhibit slow (Chi), weak (Ruo) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Painful Obstruction with Liver and Kidney Deficiency here

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

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

Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder

Eczema might be due to Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as fixed pain in the hypochondria, headaches, dizziness and red and sore eyes. Similarly, patients with Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder typically exhibit full (Shi) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder here

The five herbal formulas that might help with eczema

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with eczema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, a pattern sometimes associated with eczema. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here

Da Huang Fu Zi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Interior. Disperses Cold. Unblocks the bowels. Alleviates pain.

Why might Da Huang Fu Zi Tang help with eczema?

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

Read more about Da Huang Fu Zi Tang here

Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 15 herbs

Key actions: Anti-rheumatic, clears Wind, Cold and Damp Stagnation. Strengthens the function of the Liver and Kidney. Tonifies Qi and Blood.

Why might Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang help with eczema?

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

Read more about Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang 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 eczema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yang Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with eczema. 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

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with eczema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder, a pattern sometimes associated with eczema. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here