Optic neuritis according to Chinese Medicine

Optic neuritis factsheet

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

To understand whether someone's optic neuritis 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 optic neuritis alone. For instance when optic neuritis is caused by the pattern Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, patients also experience symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Similarly, patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with optic neuritis

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Symptoms: Vertigo Tinnitus Night sweats Lightheadedness Diminished hearing Chronic sore throat Spontaneous and nocturnal emissions Soreness and weakness in the lower back

Optic neuritis might be due to Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Similarly, patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

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

Liver Yin Deficiency

Optic neuritis might be due to Liver Yin Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as dizziness, numbness in the limbs, insomnia and blurred vision. Similarly, patients with Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a normal (light red) tongue with complete absence of coating.

Read more about Liver Yin Deficiency here

The two herbal formulas that might help with optic neuritis

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with optic neuritis?

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

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with optic neuritis?

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

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here