Boils according to Chinese Medicine

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Boils 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 boils 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 boils is often associated with carbuncles, sore throat and constipation in the pattern “Toxic-Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause boils.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause boils

In Chinese Medicine boils is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Yin Qiao San, a formula used for Toxic-Heat

Toxic-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

In addition to boils, other symptoms associated with Toxic-Heat include carbuncles, sore throat and constipation.

Toxic-Heat is often treated with Yin Qiao San, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Yin Qiao San belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Disperses Wind Heat".

Read more about Toxic-Heat here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a formula used for Toxic Heat

Toxic Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to boils, other symptoms associated with Toxic Heat include carbuncles, sores and swellings.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Toxic Heat is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Toxic Heat is often treated with Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that clear external abscesses and sores", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat".

Read more about Toxic Heat here

Three herbal formulas that might help with boils

Yin Qiao San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.

Why might Yin Qiao San help with boils?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Toxic-Heat' of which boils is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic-Heat include carbuncles, sore throat and constipation.

Read more about Yin Qiao San here

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Why might Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin help with boils?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Toxic Heat' of which boils is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic Heat include carbuncles, sores and swellings.

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here

Sang Ju Yin

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind. Stops coughing by invigorating Lung Qi. Clears Heat.

Why might Sang Ju Yin help with boils?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Toxic-Heat' of which boils is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic-Heat include carbuncles, sore throat and constipation.

Read more about Sang Ju Yin here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat boils

Why might Forsythia Fruit (Lian Qiao) help with boils?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat boils and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat boils as a symptom (such as Yin Qiao San for instance).

Forsythia Fruits is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and toxicity from the Blood. Dispels External Wind-Heat. Reduces lumps, swollen lymph nodes and sores of a Heated nature.

Read more about Forsythia Fruits here

Why might Honeysuckle Flower (Jin Yin Hua) help with boils?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat boils and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat boils as a symptom (such as Yin Qiao San for instance).

Honeysuckle Flowers is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Dispels Wind-Heat derived from an External pathogen. Expels Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner. Relieves Carbuncles.

Read more about Honeysuckle Flowers here

Why might Red Peony Root (Chi Shao) help with boils?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat boils and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat boils as a symptom (such as Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang for instance).

Red Peony Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood, relieves pain and reduces swelling. Cools the Blood and the Liver.

Read more about Red Peony Roots here

Why might Ningpo Figwort Root (Xuan Shen) help with boils?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat boils and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat boils as a symptom (such as Qing Ying Tang for instance).

Ningpo Figwort Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Stomach, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels true or Internal Heat and cools the Blood. Tonifies the Yin. Reduces inflammations and drains Fire toxicity. Reduces hard nodules, especially associated with the lymph.

Read more about Ningpo Figwort Roots here

Why might Tokyo Violet (Zi Hua Di Ding) help with boils?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat boils and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat boils as a symptom (such as Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin for instance).

Tokyo Violets is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and toxicity and reduces swellings. Cools and reduces Hot swellings if applied topically.

Read more about Tokyo Violets here