Stomatitis according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, stomatitis 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 stomatitis can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's stomatitis 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 stomatitis alone. For instance when stomatitis is caused by the pattern Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat, patients also experience symptoms such as thirst, epigastric pain, dry mouth and restlnessness. Similarly, patients with Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua) or full (Shi) pulses as well as a red centre tongue with yellow coating.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with stomatitis

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

Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red centre

Recommended herbal formulas: Qing Wei San, Yu Nu Jian

Symptoms: Thirst Dry mouth Toothache Headaches Dry stools Constipation Mouth ulcers Irritability Restlnessness Bleeding gums Epigastric pain Sour regurgitation

Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst and bleeding of the gums. Body Fluids are burned off by the excessive Heat, which creates extreme thirst and constipation. Over time the Heat can cause obstruction to Stomach Qi, resulting in vomiting, acid reflux and nausea.

Stomach Fire can be the result of excessive intake of hot, spicy, greasy, sugary and deep fried foods. Other factors such as alcohol and tobacco use may also be the reason. Stomach Fire often derives from other patterns such as Stomach Qi Stagnation. Anger, frustration and resentment can cause such stagnation, which as a result leads to Stomach Fire. 

Read more about Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat here

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

Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Recommended herbal formula: Ba Zheng San

Symptoms: Dry mouth Dry throat Painful urination Urinary retention Lower abdominal pain Scanty and dark urine

Stomatitis might be due to Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as scanty and dark urine, painful urination, dry mouth and dry throat. Similarly, patients with Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner here

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Cracked

Recommended herbal formulas: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, Yu Nu Jian

Symptoms: Vertigo Tinnitus Dizziness Dry mouth Bone ache Back pain Dry throat Poor memory Night sweats Nocturnal emissions

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can also lead to an insufficient amount of Marrow to fill the Brain, causing poor memory and dizziness. Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys is often paired together with Deficient Liver Yin and/or Deficient Lung Yin.

It can be caused by overwork over a period of several years. Another common cause is excessive sexual activity that consumes both Kidney Essence and Kidney Yin. Other causes include chronic long term illness, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Yang tonic herbs, smoking and Kidney-depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar and fruit juices.

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

The three herbal formulas that might help with stomatitis

Yu Nu Jian

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Heat from the Stomach. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Yu Nu Jian help with stomatitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat and Kidney Yin Deficiency which are sometimes associated with stomatitis. 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 Yu Nu Jian here

Qing Wei San

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Stomach Fire. Cools the Blood. Nourishes the Yin.

Why might Qing Wei San help with stomatitis?

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

Read more about Qing Wei San here

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San help with stomatitis?

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

Read more about Ba Zheng San here