Absentmindness according to Chinese Medicine

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Absentmindness 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 absentmindness 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 absentmindness is often associated with poor bone development, late closure of fontanelle and weak limbs in the pattern “Kidney Essence Deficiency”.

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

We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat absentmindness.

Kidney Essence Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause absentmindness

In Chinese Medicine absentmindness is a symptom for the pattern "Kidney Essence Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Kidney Essence Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Pale

Kidney Essence (Jing 精) Deficiency usually involves Deficiency of Kidney Yin and, to some extent, Kidney Yang. Its symptoms are typically in relation to growth, development, reproduction, sexuality, bones, marrow, the brain, teeth, memory and hair.

In addition to absentmindness, other symptoms associated with Kidney Essence Deficiency include poor bone development, late closure of fontanelle and weak limbs.

Kidney Essence Deficiency is often treated with Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Zuo Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Kidney Essence Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with absentmindness

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Kidney Yang. Strengthens the Essence.

Why might Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan help with absentmindness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Essence Deficiency' of which absentmindness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Essence Deficiency include poor bone development, late closure of fontanelle and weak limbs.

Read more about Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan here

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with absentmindness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Essence Deficiency' of which absentmindness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Essence Deficiency include poor bone development, late closure of fontanelle and weak limbs.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat absentmindness

Why might Cuscuta Seed (Tu Si Zi) help with absentmindness?

Because Cuscuta Seed is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat absentmindness as a symptom, like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or Zuo Gui Wan for instance.

Cuscuta Seeds is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies Kidney Yang and Essence. Nourishes the Liver.

Read more about Cuscuta Seeds here

Why might Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) help with absentmindness?

Because Goji Berry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat absentmindness as a symptom, like Zuo Gui Wan or Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan for instance.

Goji Berries is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Yin of the Liver and Yin of the Kidneys. Brightens the eyes. Moistens the Lungs.

Read more about Goji Berries here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with absentmindness?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Essence Deficiency' (a pattern with absentmindness as a symptom)

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here