Aphasia according to Chinese Medicine

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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 coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech in the pattern “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 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 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 Phlegm Misting the Heart include coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech.

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 Hot-Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Misting the Heart here

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

Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart

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

In addition to aphasia, other symptoms associated with Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart include coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech.

Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart is often treated with Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Huang Lian 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 Hot Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang, a formula used for 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 Wind-Phlegm include rattling sound in the throat, feeling of oppression of the chest and dizziness.

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

Heat in Pericardium

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

In addition to aphasia, other symptoms associated with Heat in Pericardium include coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech.

Heat in Pericardium 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 Pericardium here

Four herbal formulas that might help with aphasia

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

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

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with aphasia?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Misting The Heart include coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech.

Read more about Wen Dan 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 'Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Fire Harassing The Heart include coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech.

Read more about Huang Lian Wen Dan 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 'Wind-Phlegm' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Phlegm include rattling sound in the throat, feeling of oppression of the chest and dizziness.

Read more about Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma 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 'Heat in Pericardium' of which aphasia is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heat In Pericardium include coma, mental confusion and incoherent speech.

Read more about Qing Ying Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat aphasia

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

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aphasia as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Di Tan Tang for instance.

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

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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with aphasia?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aphasia as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang for instance.

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

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 Bamboo Shaving (Zhu Ru) help with aphasia?

Because Bamboo Shaving is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aphasia as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang for instance.

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 Jujube Date (Da Zao) help with aphasia?

Because Jujube Date is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aphasia as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang for instance.

Jujube Dates is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach Qi. Tonifies the Blood. Calms the Shen (spirit). Moderates the actions of other herbs in formula.

Read more about Jujube Dates here

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with aphasia?

Because Goldthread Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aphasia as a symptom, like Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang or Qing Ying Tang for instance.

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here