Breast hardness according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Breast hardness

Breast hardness 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 breast hardness 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 breast hardness is often associated with breast lumps, breast pain and breast distention in the pattern “Liver Qi Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause breast hardness.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of breast hardness 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 breast hardness.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause breast hardness

In Chinese Medicine breast hardness is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. The feeling of ‘Distension’ (zhang 胀) is the main symptom of Liver Qi Stagnation.

In addition to breast hardness, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include breast lumps, breast pain and breast distention.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

Liver Qi 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 Qi Stagnation here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.

In addition to breast hardness, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include breast distention, irritability and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen 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: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm here

Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) is the king ingredient for Tuo Li Xiao Du San, a formula used for Blow Breast (Chui Ru)

Blow Breast (Chui Ru)

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to breast hardness, other symptoms associated with Blow Breast (Chui Ru) include breast lumps, breast pain and breast distention.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blow Breast (Chui Ru) is associated with health issues such as Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

Blow Breast (Chui Ru) is often treated with Tuo Li Xiao Du San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Milkvetch Roots - Huang Qi - as a key herb). Tuo Li Xiao Du San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Draws out toxicity".

Read more about Blow Breast (Chui Ru) here

Five herbal formulas that might help with breast hardness

Unblock Nursing Tea

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Alleviates milk blockages and uneven supply issues*

Rating: from 123 customer reviews

Why might Unblock Nursing Tea help with breast hardness?

Designed by Me & Qi's expert practitioners to tackle some of the patterns that can cause breast hardness, Unblock Nursing Tea is a 100% natural and vegan product composed solely of the 12 herbs listed in its ingredients.

Read more about Unblock Nursing Tea here

Xia Ru Yong Quan San

Source date: 1840 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Blood. Increases breast milk supply.

Why might Xia Ru Yong Quan San help with breast hardness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which breast hardness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Liver Qi Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Low Breast Milk Supply.

Read more about Xia Ru Yong Quan San here

Tuo Li Xiao Du San

Source date: 1548 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Draws out toxicity. Expels pus from the interior. Tonifies Qi and Blood.

Why might Tuo Li Xiao Du San help with breast hardness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blow Breast (Chui Ru)' of which breast hardness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blow Breast (Chui Ru) can contribute to many health issues, including Mastitis.

Read more about Tuo Li Xiao Du San here

Yue Ju Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Releases all types of Stagnation (Qi, Blood, Phlegm, Fire, Food and Dampness).

Why might Yue Ju Wan help with breast hardness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which breast hardness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Low Breast Milk Supply.

Read more about Yue Ju Wan 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 breast hardness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which breast hardness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Liver Qi Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Low Breast Milk Supply.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat breast hardness

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with breast hardness?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat breast hardness as a symptom, like Xia Ru Yong Quan San or Xiao Yao San for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with breast hardness?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat breast hardness as a symptom, like Tuo Li Xiao Du San or Xiao Yao 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with breast hardness?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat breast hardness as a symptom, like Yue Ju Wan or Tuo Li Xiao Du San for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with breast hardness?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat breast hardness as a symptom, like Xia Ru Yong Quan San or Xiao Yao 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 breast hardness?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat breast hardness as a symptom, like Yue Ju Wan or Xia Ru Yong Quan 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

Me & Qi product associated with breast hardness

Conditions associated with breast hardness

Low breast milk supply Mastitis Breast engorgement