Carbuncles according to Chinese Medicine

Carbuncles 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 carbuncles 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 carbuncles is often associated with sores, boils and abdominal pain in the pattern “Toxic Heat”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of carbuncles we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Toxic Heat, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause carbuncles

In Chinese Medicine carbuncles is a symptom for the pattern "Toxic Heat". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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 carbuncles, other symptoms associated with Toxic Heat include sores, boils and abdominal pain.

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

A herbal formula that might help with carbuncles

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 carbuncles?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic Heat include sores, boils and abdominal pain.

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat carbuncles

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

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat carbuncles and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat carbuncles as a symptom (such as Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin 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 Dandelion (Pu Gong Ying) help with carbuncles?

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

Dandelions is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Stomach and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Fire toxicity. Dispels Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Increases lactation. Treats all kinds of inflammations.

Read more about Dandelions here

Why might Semiaquilegia Root Tuber (Tian Kui Zi) help with carbuncles?

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

Semiaquilegia Root Tubers is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat, resolves toxicity, reduces swelling and disperses Stagnation

Read more about Semiaquilegia Root Tubers here

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

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat carbuncles and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat carbuncles 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

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

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat carbuncles as can be seen on Cape Jasmine Fruit's page.

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

Other symptoms often associated with carbuncles

Sores Boils Jaundice Sore throat Dysentery Fever Erysipelas Edema Coughing Nosebleed