Rheumatic heart disease according to Chinese Medicine

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Rheumatic heart disease factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, rheumatic heart disease 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 rheumatic heart disease can be caused by two different patterns.

To understand whether someone's rheumatic heart disease 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 rheumatic heart disease alone. For instance when rheumatic heart disease is caused by the pattern Wind-Damp, patients also experience symptoms such as sweating, general sensation of heaviness, edema and urinary difficulty. Similarly, patients with Wind-Damp typically exhibit floating (Fu) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thick white coating.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with rheumatic heart disease

Stephania Roots (Fang Ji) is the key herb for Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a formula used for Wind-Damp

Wind-Damp

Pulse type(s): Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Symptoms: Edema Sweating Urinary difficulty General sensation of heaviness

Rheumatic heart disease might be due to Wind-Damp if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as sweating, general sensation of heaviness, edema and urinary difficulty. Similarly, patients with Wind-Damp typically exhibit floating (Fu) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Wind-Damp here

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Qing Long Tang

Symptoms: Wheezing No thirst Absence of sweating Generalized body pain Alternating fever and chills General sensation of heaviness Stifling sensation in the chest Coughing of copious thin and white sputum

Rheumatic heart disease might be due to Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as alternating fever and chills, absence of sweating, wheezing and stifling sensation in the chest. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm typically exhibit tight (Jin) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm here

The two herbal formulas that might help with rheumatic heart disease

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema. Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Calms External Wind.

Why might Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang help with rheumatic heart disease?

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

Read more about Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm, a pattern sometimes associated with rheumatic heart disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here