Abdominal masses according to Chinese Medicine

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Abdominal masses can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like abdominal masses here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here abdominal masses is often associated with painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and abdominal pain in the pattern “Blood Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause abdominal masses.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of abdominal masses we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat abdominal masses.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause abdominal masses

In Chinese Medicine abdominal masses is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Blood Stagnation

Blood Stagnation

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

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Blood Stagnation, like the name indicates, is when Blood flow becomes Stagnant. It can happen in the whole body or in specific Organs.

It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the body.

In addition to abdominal masses, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and abdominal pain.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Scanty Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Blood Stagnation is often treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Tao He Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dispels Heat and".

Read more about Blood Stagnation here

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

Liver Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple sides

Liver Blood Stagnation usually develops from Qi Stagnation, Cold and Heat. It has great influence over the Directing and Penetrating Vessels and thus the menstruation functions.

In addition to abdominal masses, other symptoms associated with Liver Blood Stagnation include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and abdominal pain.

Liver Blood Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Blood Stagnation here

Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

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

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

In addition to abdominal masses, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and irregular menstruation.

Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels is often treated with Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Cinnamon Twigs - Gui Zhi - as a key herb). Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation".

Read more about Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels here

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

Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold

In addition to abdominal masses, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and lower abdominal pain.

Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold is often treated with Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Szechuan Lovage Roots - Chuan Xiong - as a key herb). Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood".

Read more about Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold here

Four herbal formulas that might help with abdominal masses

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with abdominal masses?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which abdominal masses is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and abdominal pain.

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here

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.

Why might Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan help with abdominal masses?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels' of which abdominal masses is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation In The Directing And Penetrating Vessels include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan here

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.

Why might Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang help with abdominal masses?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold' of which abdominal masses is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation In The Lower Burner Caused By Cold include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and lower abdominal pain.

Read more about Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang here

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.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with abdominal masses?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Blood Stagnation' of which abdominal masses is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Blood Stagnation include painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and abdominal pain.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat abdominal masses

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with abdominal masses?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abdominal masses as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Peach Kernel (Tao Ren) help with abdominal masses?

Because Peach Kernel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abdominal masses as a symptom, like Tao He Cheng Qi Tang or Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang for instance.

Peach Kernels is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood and breaks up Stasis. Moistens the Intestines. Relieves coughing.

Read more about Peach Kernels here

Why might Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with abdominal masses?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abdominal masses as a symptom, like Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang or Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with abdominal masses?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abdominal masses as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with abdominal masses?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abdominal masses as a symptom, like Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here