Carbuncles according to Chinese Medicine

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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 boils, sore throat and coughing in the pattern “Toxic-Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause carbuncles.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause carbuncles

In Chinese Medicine carbuncles 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.

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 carbuncles, other symptoms associated with Toxic-Heat include boils, sore throat and coughing.

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

Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) is the king ingredient for Huang Lian Jie Du Tang, a formula used for Toxic-Heat Stagnation

Toxic-Heat Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

In addition to carbuncles, other symptoms associated with Toxic-Heat Stagnation include sore throat, fever and eczema.

Toxic-Heat Stagnation is often treated with Huang Lian Jie Du Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Huang Lian Jie Du Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Fire".

Read more about Toxic-Heat Stagnation 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 carbuncles, other symptoms associated with Toxic Heat include sores, boils 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

Four herbal formulas that might help with carbuncles

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 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 boils, sore throat and coughing.

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 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 swellings.

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here

Huang Lian Jie Du Tang

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxin.

Why might Huang Lian Jie Du Tang help with carbuncles?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic-Heat Stagnation include sore throat, fever and eczema.

Read more about Huang Lian Jie Du Tang 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 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 boils, sore throat and coughing.

Read more about Sang Ju 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 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 Forsythia Fruit (Lian Qiao) 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 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 Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) 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 Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance).

Baikal Skullcap Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.

Read more about Baikal Skullcap Roots here

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) 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 Huang Lian Jie Du 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

Why might Greater Burdock Fruit (Niu Bang 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 Yin Qiao San for instance).

Greater Burdock Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Heat. Allows the release of toxicity from the surface and clears Heat. Reduces swelling and clears pathogenic Heat. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieves sore throat.

Read more about Greater Burdock Fruits here

Other symptoms often associated with carbuncles

Sores Boils Sore throat Jaundice Coughing Fever Edema Dysentery Eczema Erysipelas