Cataracts according to Chinese Medicine

Cataracts 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 cataracts 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 cataracts is often associated with palpitations and coughing in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause cataracts.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause cataracts

In Chinese Medicine cataracts 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.

Kansui Roots (Gan Sui) is the king ingredient for Shi Zao Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium

Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when Phlegm-Fluids clogs up the chest and hypochondriac regions, producing chest pain, cough and shortness of breath.

In addition to cataracts, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium include palpitations and coughing.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium is often treated with Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Kansui Roots - Gan Sui - as a key herb). Shi Zao Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that drive out excess water", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium here

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to cataracts, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency include asthma, cold in the lower extremities and impotence.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with cataracts

Shi Zao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids.

Why might Shi Zao Tang help with cataracts?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium' of which cataracts is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Zao Tang here

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with cataracts?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which cataract is a symptom.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Why might You Gui Wan help with cataracts?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which cataract is a symptom.

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Why might Er Xian Tang help with cataracts?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which cataract is a symptom.

Read more about Er Xian Tang here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with cataracts?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which cataract is a symptom.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

Acupuncture points used for cataracts

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat cataracts

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with cataracts?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' (a pattern with cataracts as a symptom)

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with cataracts?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' (a pattern with cataracts as a symptom)

Water Plantain is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat

Read more about Water Plantain here

Why might Genkwa Flower (Yuan Hua) help with cataracts?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' (a pattern with cataracts as a symptom)

Genkwa Flowers is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves chronic congestion of Fluids in the chest and stops cough. Drains congested Fluids through the urine and the stool. Expels parasites.

Read more about Genkwa Flowers here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with cataracts?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' (a pattern with cataracts as a symptom)

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with cataracts?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' (a pattern with cataracts as a symptom)

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here