Central serous chorioretinopathy according to Chinese Medicine

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Central serous chorioretinopathy 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 central serous chorioretinopathy 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 central serous chorioretinopathy is often associated with lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus in the pattern “Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause central serous chorioretinopathy.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause central serous chorioretinopathy

In Chinese Medicine central serous chorioretinopathy 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 Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to central serous chorioretinopathy, other symptoms associated with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency include lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Vaginal Itching.

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency is often treated with Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Zuo Gui 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: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

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

Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red points on the sides

This is a type of empty Fire pattern arising out of Liver Blood Deficiency or Kidney Yin Deficiency. It shares similar symptoms as Liver Blood Deficiency, but with extra signs of Dryness and Yin-Deficient Heat. It can be caused by excessive activity, overwork, 'burning the candle at both ends' without sufficient rest, and poor and irregular diet.

In addition to central serous chorioretinopathy, other symptoms associated with Liver Yin Deficiency include night sweats, dizziness and numbness in the limbs.

Liver Yin Deficiency is often treated with Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Qi Ju 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: "Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin".

Read more about Liver Yin Deficiency here

Kansui Roots (Gan Sui) is the king ingredient for Shi Zao Tang, a formula used for 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 central serous chorioretinopathy, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium include palpitations.

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

Five herbal formulas that might help with central serous chorioretinopathy

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' of which central retinopathy is a symptom.

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' of which central retinopathy is a symptom.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' of which central retinopathy is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Bu Gan Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and regulates the Blood. Nourishes the Liver Yin.

Why might Bu Gan Tang help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Yin Deficiency' of which central retinopathy is a symptom.

Read more about Bu Gan Tang here

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 central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' of which central serous retinopathy is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Zao Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat central serous chorioretinopathy

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a key herb in Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with central serous chorioretinopathy 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 Yam (Shan Yao) help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a key herb in Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with central serous chorioretinopathy 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 central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a key herb in Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with central serous chorioretinopathy 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 (Yan Hua) help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

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 central serous chorioretinopathy 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 Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with central serous chorioretinopathy?

Because it is a key herb in Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with central serous chorioretinopathy 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