Qi and Blood Stagnation

TCM Education Center > Patterns of disharmony > Qi and Blood Stagnation

Pattern factsheet

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Insomnia Moodiness Dark face Dizziness Depression and twenty eight other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Red, Red sides

Qi and Blood Stagnation is a pattern of disharmony in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine views the human body as a complex system that tends toward harmony. A pattern of disharmony is a disorder that prevents that harmony from occurring.

Patterns give rise to symptoms that may at first glance seem unrelated from a Western standpoint but that actually make a lot of sense when one understands Chinese Medicine theory. For instance here Qi and Blood Stagnation gives rise to such diverse symptoms as lower abdominal pain, breast distention, abdominal distention and fullness and pre-menstrual tension (as well as twenty nine others).

To diagnose a pattern, analyzing a patient's pulse as well as their tongue is common practice. In the case of Qi and Blood Stagnation patients tend to exhibit choppy (Se) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a normal (light red), red, red sides tongue.

Patterns aren't exactly the Chinese Medicine equivalent to Western diseases, they're rather the underlying causes behind diseases or health conditions. Here Qi and Blood Stagnation is thought to sometimes induce conditions such as prolonged periods, menopausal syndrome, absence of menstruation or menstrual cramps.

Related conditions

Prolonged periods Menopausal syndrome Absence of menstruation Menstrual cramps

Diagnosing Qi and Blood Stagnation

Qi is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Qi 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 Qi and Blood Stagnation will tend to exhibit choppy (Se) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a normal (light red), red, red sides tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Qi and Blood Stagnation might experience symptoms like lower abdominal pain, breast distention, abdominal distention and fullness and pre-menstrual tension (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Qi and Blood Stagnation

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Formula summary

Si Wu Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) and White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 846 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Si Wu Tang is also used to treat Blood Deficiency or Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Si Wu Tang

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

Read more about Xiao Yao San

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Source date: Ming dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation. Tonifies Spleen. Clears Deficient Heat. Nourishes the blood.

Formula summary

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in Ming dynasty, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Jia Wei Xiao Yao San is also used to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire or Liver Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.

Formula summary

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1830 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang is also used to treat Blood Stagnation or Cold in the Uterus.

Read more about Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Wen Jing Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Uterus and vessels. Nourishes Blood. Dispels Cold. Dispels Blood Stagnation.

Formula summary

Wen Jing Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) and Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu) as principal ingredients. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Wen Jing Tang is also used to treat Cold in the Uterus or Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels.

Read more about Wen Jing Tang

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Formula summary

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) and Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling) as principal ingredients. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is also used to treat Blood Stagnation or Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus.

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Tao Hong Si Wu Tang

Source date: 1291 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Blood and regulates the Liver. Moves Qi and Blood in the lower abdomen. Stops pain.

Formula summary

Tao Hong Si Wu Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) and Safflowers (Hong Hua) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1291 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Tao Hong Si Wu Tang is also used to treat Blood Stagnation or Blood Deficiency and Stagnation.

Read more about Tao Hong Si Wu Tang

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

Read more about Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Wu Yao Tang

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Pacifies the Liver. Moves Qi. Stops pain. Nourishes Liver Blood. Eliminates Stagnation.

Formula summary

Wu Yao Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Lindera Roots (Wu Yao) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1336 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Wu Yao Tang is also used to treat Liver Qi Stagnation or Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Wu Yao Tang

Wei Jing Tang

Source date: 627 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat from the Lungs. Transforms Phlegm. Drives out Blood-Stagnation. Discharges pus.

Formula summary

Wei Jing Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Common Reed Rhizomes (Lu Gen) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 627 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Wei Jing Tang is also used to treat Phlegm in the Lungs or Wind-Heat entering the Lungs.

Read more about Wei Jing Tang

Jin Ling Zi San

Source date: 992 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Moves Liver Blood and Liver Qi. Drains Liver Heat or Fire. Stops pain.

Formula summary

Jin Ling Zi San is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Sichuan Chinaberries (Chuan Lian Zi) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 992 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement.

Besides Qi and Blood Stagnation, Jin Ling Zi San is also used to treat Liver Qi Stagnation that transforms into Heat.

Read more about Jin Ling Zi San

Special highlight: the link between menstrual cramps and Qi and Blood Stagnation

Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) is the key herb for Xiao Yao San, a formula used for menstrual cramps caused by Qi and Blood Stagnation

Qi and Blood Stagnation is one of the most common patterns behind painful periods and it often comes along other patterns. For instance, when there is dysmenorrhea due to Qi and Blood Deficiency as the main pattern, some degree of Qi or Blood Stagnation often occurs at the same time. Similarly the pattern Cold in the Uterus, another frequent cause of menstrual cramps, also causes Blood Stagnation

According to Chinese Medicine, the Liver and the Penetrating Vessel are the body parts most...Read more about menstrual cramps

Special highlight: the link between absence of menstruation and Qi and Blood Stagnation

Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) is the key herb for Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang, a formula used for absence of menstruation caused by Qi and Blood Stagnation

This is an Excess type of Amenorrhoea. This means that the periods are absent because Blood is stagnated rather than being insufficient. 

Qi and Blood Stagnation discussed here typically occurs in the Liver. It normally results from emotional factors such as anger, frustration, resentment, irritation, worry or anxiety. If it is not treated for a long period of time, stagnated Blood can not flow freely from the Liver to fill the Penetrating Vessels and the Uterus. Therefore the menstruation...Read more about absence of menstruation