Gouty arthritis according to Chinese Medicine

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

To understand whether someone's gouty arthritis 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 gouty arthritis alone. For instance when gouty arthritis is caused by the pattern Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp, patients also experience symptoms such as swollen and painful joints that are warm to the touch and worsen at night, reduced range of motion in the affected joints, chills without sweating and weight loss. Similarly, patients with Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with gouty arthritis 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 gouty arthritis, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with gouty arthritis

Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp

Gouty arthritis might be due to Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as swollen and painful joints that are warm to the touch and worsen at night, reduced range of motion in the affected joints, chills without sweating and weight loss. Similarly, patients with Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp here

Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels

Gouty arthritis might be due to Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as heat and pain in the joints, reduced mobility, fever and shaking chills.

Read more about Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels here

The two herbal formulas that might help with gouty arthritis

Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and inflammations. Unblocks the flow of Yang Qi and promotes movement (in areas with painful obstruction). Clears Wind and Damp. Relieves pain.

Why might Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang help with gouty arthritis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp, a pattern sometimes associated with gouty arthritis. If it looks like you might suffer from Painful Obstruction with Wind-Cold-Damp, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang here

Xuan Bi Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears and resolves Damp-Heat. Unblocks the meridians. Disbands painful obstruction.

Why might Xuan Bi Tang help with gouty arthritis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels, a pattern sometimes associated with gouty arthritis. If it looks like you might suffer from Painful Obstruction due to Damp Heat in Channels, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xuan Bi Tang here