Oedema

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 水肿      Pinyin name: Shuǐ Zhǒng

Pattern nature: Full

Causes

Precursor patterns: Kidney Yang Deficiency Spleen Yang Deficiency Wind-Cold invading the Lungs and one other possible precursors

Common causes: 1. External Wind Evils, 2. Diet, 3. External Dampness, 4. Excessive sexual activity, 5. Lack of sleep, 6. Mental over-work

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Eye swelling Oedema of face Oedema of feet Oedema of legs Oedema of hands and three other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Hidden (Fu), Slowed-down (Huan)

Tongue description: Pale tongue with white sticky coating or white slippery coating

Treatment

Treatment principle: Tonify the Yang of Lungs, remove Oedema, Spleen and Kidneys, expel Dampness or any external Pernicious Influences that come along such as Damp-Cold, Damp-Wind, Damp-Heat, Damp-Phlegm and etc,

Common formulas: Wu Ling San Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang Ping Wei San and four other formulas

Pathology

Oedema (also spelled "Edema") a retention of Body Fluids that results in swellings, depending where the retention occurs: it can be in the limbs, the legs, the face, etc. The swellings are usually so that if one presses on it with a finger, the resulting dip takes a long time to disappear.

Oedema is caused by a Yang Deficiency of either the Spleen, the Lungs or the Kidneys. Those are the three Organs most associated with the production and transportation of Body Fluids. If their function is disturbed due to a Yang Deficiency, the Body Fluids end up overflowing and settling in the space under the skin.

The location of the Oedema depends on the Organ that suffers the Deficiency:

Causes

Precursor patterns: Oedema can derive from Kidney Yang Deficiency Spleen Yang Deficiency Wind-Cold invading the Lungs Lung Yang Deficiency

External Wind Evils : Bacterial or virus can be regarded as a type of external Wind Evil, which can cause allergic type of Oedema.

Diet: Prolonged unhealthy diet such as pick eating, overeating or undereating,  can hurt Spleen Qi and Yang and result in Oedema.

External Dampness: The Spleen can be invaded directly by external Dampness and result in Oedema. The Dampness here also includes Cold-Damp, Damp-Heat, Damp-Phlegm and etc.

Excessive sexual activity: Excessive sexual activity harms the Kidney Yang.

Lack of sleep: Prolonged lack of sleep consume the Kidney Qi and Yang.

Mental over-work: Prolonged mental over-work or emotional stress can cause Liver Qi Stagnation and as a result, harm the Spleen Qi and Yang.

Diagnosing Oedema

Pulse type(s): Hidden (Fu) or slowed-down (Huan)

Tongue description: Pale tongue with white sticky coating or white slippery coating

Main symptoms: Eye swelling Oedema of face Oedema of feet Oedema of legs Oedema of hands Oedema of ankles Oedema of abdomen Abdomen distension

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the swelling under skin, which is often pitting. If you press the swelling part with a finger, it creates a dip which takes a while to recover.

Treating Oedema

Treatment principle

Tonify the Yang of Lungs, remove Oedema, Spleen and Kidneys, expel Dampness or any external Pernicious Influences that come along such as Damp-Cold, Damp-Wind, Damp-Heat, Damp-Phlegm and etc, 

Herbal formulas used to treat Oedema

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Formula summary

Wu Ling San is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote urination and leach out Dampness.

Besides Oedema, Wu Ling San is also used to treat Yin Excess or Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing.

Read more about Wu Ling San

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Strengthens the Spleen. Resolves Dampness.

Formula summary

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and transform water and Dampness.

Besides Oedema, Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang is also used to treat Phlegm-Fluids in the Stomach and Small intestine or Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Zhen Wu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies the Yang and Qi of the Spleen and Kidneys. Eliminates Dampness.

Formula summary

Zhen Wu Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and transform water and Dampness.

Besides Oedema, Zhen Wu Tang is also used to treat Spleen Yang Deficiency or Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency.

Read more about Zhen Wu Tang

Ping Wei San

Source date: 1051 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Dries Dampness. Improves the Spleen's transportive function. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Formula summary

Ping Wei San is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1051 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that transform Dampness and harmonize Stomach.

Besides Oedema, Ping Wei San is also used to treat Cold-Damp invading the Spleen or Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Ping Wei San

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Formula summary

Shen Qi Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm Yang and tonify.

Besides Oedema, Shen Qi Wan is also used to treat Damp-Phlegm or Kidney Yang Deficiency.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan

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.

Formula summary

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote urination and leach out Dampness.

Besides Oedema, Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang is also used to treat Wind-Damp.

Read more about Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Wu Pi Yin

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Reduces edema, diuretic. Regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi.

Formula summary

Wu Pi Yin is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote urination and leach out Dampness.

Besides Oedema, Wu Pi Yin is also used to treat Yin Excess.

Read more about Wu Pi Yin

Diet recommendations

Keep a balanced diet with right proportion of carbohydrate, proteins and fat. 

Avoid excessive sexual activities. 

Avoid going to bed late frequently. 

Related conditions

Urticaria Congestive heart failure Ascites from cirrhosis Pre-eclampsia Protein-deficiency edema Menopausal edema