Kidney stones according to Chinese Medicine

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Kidney stones factsheet

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

To understand whether someone's kidney stones 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 kidney stones alone. For instance when kidney stones is caused by the pattern Exterior Cold invading the Interior, patients also experience 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.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with kidney stones

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

Kidney stones 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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Kidney stones 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 two herbal formulas that might help with kidney stones

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 kidney stones?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Exterior Cold invading the Interior, a pattern sometimes associated with kidney stones. 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

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 kidney stones?

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