Liver Blood Stagnation

TCM Education Center > Patterns of disharmony > Liver Blood Stagnation

Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 肝血郁结

Pinyin name: Gān Xuè Yù Jié

Associated TCM concepts: Liver Blood Blood Stagnation

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Dry skin Epistaxis Dark face Infertility Purple lips and eleven other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple sides

Liver Blood Stagnation usually develops from other patterns, Liver Qi Stagnation, Cold and Heat being the most common ones. Sometimes Qi Deficiency, Blood Deficiency and Phlegm can also be the precursors. 

Liver Qi Stagnation is the most common cause. If left unchecked for a while without being addressed properly, it eventually leads to stagnant Blood in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels. Both vessels have a great impact on the menstruation function in women. It can typically cause dark and clotted menstrual blood as well as menstrual cramps and irregular periods.

Pain caused by Liver Blood Stagnation is often sharp and stabbing. It usually fixed in one place in the abdomen or chest. Sometimes swelling or mass comes along as well. It usually happens to women, but occasional men can also experience pain due to Liver Blood Stagnation.

The Liver stores Blood and it manifests in the nails. Therefore Stagnant Liver Blood can show purple or darkness in patients' lips, tongue, face and nails.  Sometimes there maybe vomiting of Blood and epistaxis if the Liver Channel is blocked.

Liver Blood Stagnation shouldn't be taken lightly as it can potentially lead to very serious conditions such as coronary heart disease or stroke.

The treatment principle is to calm the Liver, move Qi and Blood as well as eliminate Stagnation. 

Diagnosing Liver Blood Stagnation

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

Diagnosing a pattern in Chinese Medicine is no easy feat and should be left to professional practitioners.

In particular one has to know how to differentiate between different types of pulses and tongue coatings, shapes and colors. Here patients with Liver Blood Stagnation will tend to exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple sides tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Liver Blood Stagnation might experience symptoms like dark clots in menstrual blood, dark colored blood, irregular menstruation and painful period (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Liver Blood Stagnation

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Formula summary

Xiao Yao San is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen.

Besides Liver Blood Stagnation, Xiao Yao San is also used to treat Liver Qi Stagnation or Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Xiao Yao San

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Formula summary

Chai Hu Shu Gan San is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1602, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement.

Besides Liver Blood Stagnation, Chai Hu Shu Gan San is also used to treat Liver Qi Stagnation or Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.

Formula summary

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong), Safflowers (Hong Hua) and Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1830 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Besides Liver Blood Stagnation, Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang is also used to treat Blood Stagnation or Qi and Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Shi Xiao San

Source date: 1108 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Eases pain.

Formula summary

Shi Xiao San is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cattail Pollen (Pu Huang) and Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1108 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Besides Liver Blood Stagnation, Shi Xiao San is also used to treat Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Shi Xiao San

Diet recommendations

Avoid hot, spicy, caffeinated, fried and greasy foods. Also avoid nuts and nut butters, avocados, cheese and dairy, chips of all kinds, turkey and red meats, alcohol.

Avoid drinks such as coffee, black tea, cocoa, colas and chocolate, drugs and
stimulants.

Eat plenty of grains, legumes, vegetables and dark leafy greens, such as kale, collards, dandelion, mustard, beet and mustard greens. Lemon juice also helps decongest the Liver.