Burning urination according to Chinese Medicine

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Burning urination 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 burning urination 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 burning urination is often associated with blood in urine, frequent and urgent urination and dark urine in the pattern “Damp-Heat in the Bladder”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause burning urination.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause burning urination

In Chinese Medicine burning urination 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 Bladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Bladder in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Heat in the Bladder

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

In addition to burning urination, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Bladder include blood in urine, frequent and urgent urination and dark urine.

Damp-Heat in the Bladder is often treated with Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Chinese Pink Herbs - Qu Mai - as a key herb). Ba Zheng San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Bladder here

The Small Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Small Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu)

In addition to burning urination, other symptoms associated with Full-Heat in the Small Intestine include blood in urine, insomnia and tongue ulcers.

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine is often treated with Dao Chi San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Akebia Stems - Mu Tong - as a key herb). Dao Chi San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears the Heart".

Read more about Full-Heat in the Small Intestine here

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

Damp Heat in the Liver

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern is caused by excessive Heat in the Liver and Dampness due to Spleen Deficiency. Dampness can cause the formation of Phlegm.  Patients often have a feeling of fullness. It is often caused by bad diet and lifestyle, hot and damp environment and emotional stress such as anger.

In addition to burning urination, other symptoms associated with Damp Heat in the Liver include hypochondrium fullness, chest fullness and vaginal discharge.

Damp Heat in the Liver is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Damp Heat in the Liver here

Four herbal formulas that might help with burning urination

Liu Yi San

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Clears Summer-Heat. Drains Dampness. Supplements Qi.

Why might Liu Yi San help with burning urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Bladder' of which burning urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Bladder include blood in urine, frequent and urgent urination and dark urine.

Read more about Liu Yi San here

Dao Chi San

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Heart. Promotes urination.

Why might Dao Chi San help with burning urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Full-Heat in the Small Intestine' of which burning urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Full-Heat In The Small Intestine include blood in urine, insomnia and tongue ulcers.

Read more about Dao Chi San here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with burning urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp Heat in the Liver' of which burning urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp Heat In The Liver include hypochondrium fullness, chest fullness and vaginal discharge.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San help with burning urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Bladder' of which burning urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Bladder include blood in urine, frequent and urgent urination and dark urine.

Read more about Ba Zheng San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat burning urination

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with burning urination?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat burning urination as a symptom, like Liu Yi San or Dao Chi 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 Akebia Stem (Mu Tong) help with burning urination?

Because Akebia Stem is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat burning urination as a symptom, like Dao Chi San or Ba Zheng San for instance.

Akebia Stems is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and clears Heat. Clears Heat and inflammation of the Heart. Promotes lactation. Moves and smoothes the flow of Blood. Used for painful obstruction associated with either Dampness, Blood Stagnation, Wind or Heat.

Read more about Akebia Stems here

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with burning urination?

Because Unprepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat burning urination as a symptom, like Dao Chi San or Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance.

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with burning urination?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat burning urination as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Ba Zheng San for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Talc (Hua Shi) help with burning urination?

Because Talc is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat burning urination as a symptom, like Liu Yi San or Ba Zheng San for instance.

Talc is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination. Expels Damp-Heat from the Urinary Bladder. Dispels Summer Heat. Dries Dampness when applied topically.

Read more about Talc here