Hepatitis according to Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, hepatitis can be associated with thirteen 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 hepatitis can be caused by thirteen different patterns.

To understand whether someone's hepatitis 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 hepatitis alone. For instance when hepatitis is caused by the pattern Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, patients also experience symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, anemia and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

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

The thirteen "patterns of disharmony" associated with hepatitis

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

Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen

Hepatitis might be due to Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, anemia and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen here

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Hepatitis might be due to Liver Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs, suppressed emotions and feelings of frustration. Similarly, patients with Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses.

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

Heat in the Blood

Hepatitis might be due to Heat in the Blood if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as fever, black and tarry stools, abdominal distention and fullness and thirst with an inability to swallow. Similarly, patients with Heat in the Blood typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Heat in the Blood here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the key herb for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formulas: Er Chen Tang, Liu Jun Zi Tang, Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang, Wen Dan Tang, Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang, Xing Su San, Wu Ling San

Symptoms: Lumps Nausea Nodules Dizziness Chest pressure Feeling of heaviness Numbness in the limbs

Phlegm has a great importance in Chinese Medicine as it is both a condition in and of itself as well as a cause for other diseases.

The main cause for the formation of Phlegm is Spleen Deficiency since the Spleen rules the transformation and transportation of Body Fluids. If this function is impaired, Body Fluids accumulates and change into Phlegm. 

The Lungs and Kidneys may also be involved since they each play a role in handling body Fluids: the Lungs disperse and descend Body Fluids while the Kidneys transform and excrete them. Again, if they fail to perform those roles, Body Fluids will accumulate and become Phlegm.

That being said, the Spleen malfunction is the fundamental reason behind the formation of Phlegm and, as such, treatments will focus on it first and foremost.

There are two broad types of Phlegm: so-called "Substantial Phlegm" and "Non-Substantial Phlegm". Simply put, Substantial Phlegm can be seen, such as sputum in the Lungs and throat. Non-Substantial Phlegm is more hidden and will manifest itself into, for instance, kidney stones, gallstones or arthritic bone deformities.

Phlegm can further be categorized according to its nature: there is Damp-Phlegm, Phlegm-Heat, Cold-Phlegm, etc. 

Lastly, there is a type of Phlegm called "Phlegm-Fluids". It is very similar to Dampness and is very watery and thin. It can be heard splashing in the body, found usually in the Stomach, Intestines, hypochondrium, limbs or above the diaphragm.

Read more about Phlegm here

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

Spleen Deficiency with Dampness

Hepatitis might be due to Spleen Deficiency with Dampness if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as edema, general sensation of heaviness, diarrhea and urinary difficulty.

Read more about Spleen Deficiency with Dampness here

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

Phlegm in the Lower Burner

Hepatitis might be due to Phlegm in the Lower Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as throbbing pulsations just below the umbilicus, vomiting frothy saliva, vertigo and shortness of breath.

Read more about Phlegm in the Lower Burner here

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

Phlegm Heat in the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Xian Xiong Tang

Symptoms: Clump Phlegm Chest pain Constipation Epigastric pain Clumping in the chest Bitter taste in the mouth Epigastric focal distention Focal distention of the chest Coughing of copious thick yellow sputum

Hepatitis might be due to Phlegm Heat in the Lungs if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as constipation, bitter taste in the mouth, coughing of copious thick yellow sputum and chest pain. Similarly, patients with Phlegm Heat in the Lungs typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, yellow coating.

Read more about Phlegm Heat in the Lungs here

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

Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Tight (Jin)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Symptoms: Coughing Dizziness Headaches Depression Moving pain Listlessness Hypochondrium fullness

Hepatitis might be due to Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as coughing, hypochondrium fullness, dizziness and headaches. Similarly, patients with Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit empty (Xu) or tight (Jin) pulses as well as a normal (light red), pale tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation here

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

Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red tip

Recommended herbal formula: Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang

Symptoms: Poor appetite Abdominal fullness Dry heaves or vomiting Borborygmi with diarrhea Epigastric focal distention

Hepatitis might be due to Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as epigastric focal distention, abdominal fullness, dry heaves or vomiting and borborygmi with diarrhea. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tip tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Heat in the Middle Burner here

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

Lung Qi Deficiency

Recommended herbal formula: Ba Zhen Tang

Symptoms: Weak voice Aversion to speak Shortness of breath

Hepatitis might be due to Lung Qi Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as shortness of breath, weak voice and aversion to speak.

Read more about Lung Qi Deficiency here

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

Spleen Qi Deficiency

Recommended herbal formula: Ba Zhen Tang

Symptoms: Weak Limbs Poor appetite

Hepatitis might be due to Spleen Qi Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as poor appetite and weak limbs.

Read more about Spleen Qi Deficiency here

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the key herb for Ba Zhen Tang, a formula used for Blood and Qi Deficiency

Blood and Qi Deficiency

Recommended herbal formula: Ba Zhen Tang

Symptoms: Vertigo Pale face Pale lips Pale tongue Palpitations

Hepatitis might be due to Blood and Qi Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as palpitations, vertigo, pale face and pale lips.

Read more about Blood and Qi Deficiency here

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

Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Jin Ling Zi San

Symptoms: Hernial pain Irritability Bitter taste in the mouth Intermittent epigastric pain Painful periods that get worse with hot food or drinks

Hepatitis might be due to Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as intermittent epigastric pain, hernial pain, painful periods that get worse with hot food or drinks and irritability. Similarly, patients with Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat here

The ten herbal formulas that might help with hepatitis

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with hepatitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Phlegm, Spleen Deficiency with Dampness and Phlegm in the Lower Burner which are sometimes associated with hepatitis. 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 Wu Ling San here

Ba Zhen Tang

Source date: 1326 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and augments Qi. Tonifies and augments Blood.

Why might Ba Zhen Tang help with hepatitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Lung Qi Deficiency, Spleen Qi Deficiency and Blood and Qi Deficiency which are sometimes associated with hepatitis. 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 Ba Zhen Tang here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Why might Chai Hu Shu Gan San help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Why might Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang here

Xiao Xian Xiong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Phlegm. Expands the chest. Dissipates clumps.

Why might Xiao Xian Xiong Tang help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Xiao Xian Xiong Tang here

Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Treats the Lesser Yang Channels (Gallbladder and Triple Warmer). Regulates the Liver and Spleen functions. Addresses combined Yin-Yang symptoms of External and Internal, Excess and Deficiency, and Hot and Cold.

Why might Xiao Chai Hu Tang help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Xiao Chai Hu Tang here

Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Reverses the flow of Rebellious Stomach Qi. Relieves both Heat and Cold Stagnation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Why might Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang here

Jin Ling Zi San

Source date: 992 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Moves Liver Blood and Liver Qi. Drains Liver Heat or Fire. Stops pain.

Why might Jin Ling Zi San help with hepatitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat, a pattern sometimes associated with hepatitis. If it looks like you might suffer from Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Jin Ling Zi San here

Wan Dai Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies the Middle Burner. Removes Dampness. Stops vaginal discharge. Strengthens the Spleen.

Why might Wan Dai Tang help with hepatitis?

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

Read more about Wan Dai Tang here