The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Chinese name: 肝血郁结
Pinyin name: Gān Xuè Yù Jié
Liver Blood Stagnation usually develops from other patterns and Liver Qi Stagnation, Cold and Heat are the three 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 causes purple or darkness in patients' lips, tongue, face and nails. Sometimes there may be 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 Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)
Tongue description: Purple tongue or purple spots on sides.
Possible symptoms: Dry skin Epistaxis Infertility Purple lips Purple face Purple nails Abdominal pain Painful period Abdominal masses Purple petechiae Vomiting of blood Dark colored blood Hypochondrial pain Irregular menstruation Dark clots in menstrual blood
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 colored blood, hypochondrial pain, abdominal pain and vomiting of blood (full list here above).
Source date: 1602
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.
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.
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.
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.
Source date: 1830 AD
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.
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.
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.
Try other therapies such as moxibustion, cupping over the back and breathing exercises.