Septicemia according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, septicemia can be associated with three 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 septicemia can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's septicemia 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 septicemia alone. For instance when septicemia is caused by the pattern Heat in the Blood, patients also experience 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.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with septicemia

Heat in the Blood

Septicemia 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

Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation

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

Recommended herbal formula: Da Qing Long Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Irritability Generalized body pain Severe fever and chills without sweating

Septicemia might be due to Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as severe fever and chills without sweating, generalized body pain, thirst and irritability. Similarly, patients with Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation typically exhibit tight (Jin) or floating (Fu) pulses.

Read more about Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation here

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the key herb for Da Qing Long Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Da Qing Long Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Irritability Absence of sweating Feeling of heaviness Generalized body pain Alternating fever and chills Superficial edema in the extremities

Septicemia might be due to Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as feeling of heaviness, generalized body pain, superficial edema in the extremities and alternating fever and chills. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs typically exhibit tight (Jin) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with sticky coating, thick white coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs here

The two herbal formulas that might help with septicemia

Da Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Promotes sweating. Releases the Exterior. Clears Interior Heat.

Why might Da Qing Long Tang help with septicemia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Exterior Cold invading with Interior Heat from Stagnation and Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs which are sometimes associated with septicemia. 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 Da Qing Long Tang 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 septicemia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat in the Blood, a pattern sometimes associated with septicemia. 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