Cor pulmonale according to Chinese Medicine

Cor pulmonale 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 cor pulmonale 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 cor pulmonale is often associated with palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause cor pulmonale.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause cor pulmonale

In Chinese Medicine cor pulmonale 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 Pericardium is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Pericardium in Chinese Medicine

Pericardium Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Knotted (Jie), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

In addition to cor pulmonale, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation include palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation is often treated with Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates the Blood".

Read more about Pericardium Blood Stagnation here

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

Stomach Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

In addition to cor pulmonale, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation include nausea, epigastric pain and vomiting.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation is often treated with Shi Xiao San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Cattail Pollen - Pu Huang - as a key herb). Shi Xiao San belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates Blood".

Read more about Stomach Blood Stagnation here

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 cor pulmonale, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium include palpitations and shortness of breath.

/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

Four herbal formulas that might help with cor pulmonale

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Dispels blood Stagnation. Spreads the Liver Qi. Unblocks the channels.

Why might Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation' of which cor pulmonale is a symptom.

Read more about Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang here

Shi Xiao San

Source date: 1108 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Eases pain.

Why might Shi Xiao San help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation' of which cor pulmonale is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Xiao San here

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.

Why might Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation' of which cor pulmonale is a symptom.

Read more about Ge Xia Zhu Yu 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 cor pulmonale?

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

Read more about Shi Zao Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat cor pulmonale

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a key herb in Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with cor pulmonale as a symptom)

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Kansui Root (Gan Sui) help with cor pulmonale?

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 cor pulmonale as a symptom)

Kansui Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves water retention and congestion of Fluids. Cools swellings and reduces inflammation when applied topically. Strong purgative, driving water and Food Stagnation out though the stool.

Read more about Kansui Roots here

Why might Peach Kernel (Tao Ren) help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a key herb in Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with cor pulmonale as a symptom)

Peach Kernels is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood and breaks up Stasis. Moistens the Intestines. Relieves coughing.

Read more about Peach Kernels here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a key herb in Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with cor pulmonale as a symptom)

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Red Peony Root (Chi Shao) help with cor pulmonale?

Because it is a key herb in Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with cor pulmonale as a symptom)

Red Peony Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood, relieves pain and reduces swelling. Cools the Blood and the Liver.

Read more about Red Peony Roots here