Aphasia according to Chinese Medicine

aphasia after windstroke, difficult speaking, inability to speak, motor aphasia and postpartum aphasia redirect here

Aphasia 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 aphasia 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 aphasia is often associated with incoherent speech, coma and mental confusion in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause aphasia.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of aphasia we’ve identified five 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 aphasia.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause aphasia

In Chinese Medicine aphasia 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.

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

Phlegm Misting the Heart

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is a condition where Phlegm enters the Heart and disturbs the Mind (Shen).

In addition to aphasia, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart include incoherent speech, coma and mental confusion.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart is often treated with Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Wen Dan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Misting the Heart here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Qing Ying Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-nutritive-qi-level

Heat in Nutritive Qi level

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

In addition to aphasia, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-nutritive-qi-level include incoherent speech, insomnia and fever at night.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-nutritive-qi-level is often treated with Qing Ying Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Qing Ying Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears the Nutritive level Heat".

Read more about Heat in Nutritive Qi level here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/wind-phlegm

Wind-Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating

Tongue shape: Deviated, Swollen

Wind-Phlegm is when Phlegm invades the Channels and sensory orifices, leading to such symptoms as dizziness, vertigo, or headache.

In addition to aphasia, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/wind-phlegm include rattling sound in the throat, feeling of oppression of the chest and chest pain.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/wind-phlegm is often treated with Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that transform phlegm and extinguish wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries and dissolves Phlegm".

Read more about Wind-Phlegm here

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

Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to aphasia, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium include incoherent speech, insomnia and coma.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium is often treated with Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Wen Dan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium here

Five herbal formulas that might help with aphasia

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with aphasia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Qing Ying Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Nutritive level Heat. Relieves Fire Toxin. Removes Heat. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Qing Ying Tang help with aphasia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-nutritive-qi-level' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Read more about Qing Ying Tang here

Di Tan Tang

Source date: 1470 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Removes Phlegm. Opens the sensory orifices. Tonifies Qi.

Why might Di Tan Tang help with aphasia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Read more about Di Tan Tang here

Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang

Source date: 1732 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Dries and dissolves Phlegm. Strengthens the Spleen. Smoothes the Liver and calms Liver Wind (antispasmodic).

Why might Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang help with aphasia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/wind-phlegm' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Read more about Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang here

Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1852 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder Heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang help with aphasia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Read more about Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang here

Acupuncture points used for aphasia

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat aphasia

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with aphasia?

Because it is a key herb in Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' (a pattern with aphasia as a symptom)

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Bamboo Shaving (Zhu Ru) help with aphasia?

Because it is a key herb in Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' (a pattern with aphasia as a symptom)

Bamboo Shavings is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Gallbladder, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. Clears Heat in the Stomach and stops vomiting. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding.

Read more about Bamboo Shavings here

Why might Immature Bitter Orange (Zhi Shi) help with aphasia?

Because it is a key herb in Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' (a pattern with aphasia as a symptom)

Immature Bitter Oranges is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter, Pungent and Sour. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Large intestine.

Its main actions are: Regulates the flow of Qi in the Middle Burner and reduces Food Stagnation. Moves Qi downward and helps constipation. Reduces Stagnant Phlegm and lessens distention and pain. For prolapse of organs when used with the appropriate herbs.

Read more about Immature Bitter Oranges here

Why might Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with aphasia?

Because it is a key herb in Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' (a pattern with aphasia as a symptom)

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with aphasia?

Because it is a key herb in Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' (a pattern with aphasia as a symptom)

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here