Glossitis according to Chinese Medicine

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Glossitis factsheet

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

To understand whether someone's glossitis 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 glossitis alone. For instance when glossitis is caused by the pattern Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, patients also experience symptoms such as toothache, headaches, breast distention and breast lumps. Similarly, patients with Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with glossitis

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

Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formulas: Qing Wei San, Yu Nu Jian

Symptoms: Toothache Headaches

Glossitis might be due to Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as toothache, headaches, breast distention and breast lumps. Similarly, patients with Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat here

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency

This pattern often accompanies Kidney Essence Deficiency, as Kidney Yin includes Essence. When both element are depleted in the Kidneys, not enough Marrow is generated to fill the Brain, thus the symptoms of dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo and poor memory. The dizziness is mild and the tinnitus is often gradual and slow, like a rushing water sound. Marrow is also essential for nourishing the bones, thus the pattern also leads to symptoms like back and bone pain. 

Essence Deficiency also gives rise to symptoms like nocturnal emissions, infertility or little sperm. 

Body Fluids is also a form of Yin, therefore Yin Deficiency causes some degree of Dryness, resulting constipation, scanty dark urine as well as a dry mouth and throat, especially at night. 

When Kidney Yin Deficiency proceed for a long time without being treated properly, it can develop some Empty Heat symptoms such as night sweats, five palm heat, feeling of heat or fever in the afternoon or evening, malar flush, thirst but only with desire to drink in small sips and anxiety in the evening. 

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

The two herbal formulas that might help with glossitis

Yu Nu Jian

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Heat from the Stomach. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Yu Nu Jian help with glossitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat and Kidney Yin Deficiency which are sometimes associated with glossitis. 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 Yu Nu Jian here

Qing Wei San

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Stomach Fire. Cools the Blood. Nourishes the Yin.

Why might Qing Wei San help with glossitis?

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

Read more about Qing Wei San here