Dark urine according to Chinese Medicine

Dark urine 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 dark urine 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 dark urine is often associated with dizziness, tinnitus and constipation in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-fire-blazing”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause dark urine.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause dark urine

In Chinese Medicine dark urine is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Liver Fire Blazing

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to dark urine, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-fire-blazing include dizziness, tinnitus and constipation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-fire-blazing is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Liver Fire Blazing here

Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin) is the king ingredient for Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-uterus-blood

Heat in Uterus Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to dark urine, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-uterus-blood include constipation, red face and feeling of heat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-uterus-blood is associated with health issues such as Heavy Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-uterus-blood is often treated with Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Baikal Skullcap Roots - Huang Qin - as a key herb). Qing Re Gu Jing Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from deficiency", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Empty Heat".

Read more about Heat in Uterus Blood here

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

Heart Fire blazing

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi), Hasty (Cu)

In addition to dark urine, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing include red face, feeling of heat and bitter taste in the mouth.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing is often treated with Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Xie Xin 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 Heart Fire blazing here

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

Bright Yang Fire in Stomach and Intestines

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)

In addition to dark urine, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/bright-yang-fire-in-stomach-and-intestines include constipation, irritability and dry stools.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/bright-yang-fire-in-stomach-and-intestines is often treated with Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that purge heat accumulation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Removes Heat and Dryness in the Lower Burner".

Read more about Bright Yang Fire in Stomach and Intestines here

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

Damp-Heat in the Bladder

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

In addition to dark urine, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat-in-the-bladder include feeling of heat, fever and blood in urine.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat-in-the-bladder is often treated with Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Chinese Pink Herbs - Qu Mai - as a key herb). Ba Zheng San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Bladder here

Five herbal formulas that might help with dark urine

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-fire-blazing' of which dark urine is a symptom.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Gu Jing Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin . Clears Heat. Stops bleeding. Stabilizes the menses.

Why might Gu Jing Wan help with dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-uterus-blood' of which dark urine is a symptom.

Read more about Gu Jing Wan here

Zi Xue Dan

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 17 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Opens the sensory orifices. Controls spasms and convulsions. Extinguishes Wind.

Why might Zi Xue Dan help with dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing' of which dark urine is a symptom.

Read more about Zi Xue Dan here

Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Removes Heat and Dryness in the Lower Burner. Removes constipation.

Why might Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang help with dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/bright-yang-fire-in-stomach-and-intestines' of which dark urine is a symptom.

Read more about Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang here

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San help with dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat-in-the-bladder' of which dark urine is a symptom.

Read more about Ba Zheng San here

Acupuncture points used for dark urine

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat dark urine

Why might Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) help with dark urine?

Because it is a key herb in Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' (a pattern with dark urine as a symptom)

Chinese Gentian is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind.

Read more about Chinese Gentian here

Why might Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) help with dark urine?

Because it is a key herb in Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' (a pattern with dark urine as a symptom)

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

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 Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with dark urine?

Because it is a key herb in Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' (a pattern with dark urine as a symptom)

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

Why might Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with dark urine?

Because it is a key herb in Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' (a pattern with dark urine as a symptom)

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here

Why might Akebia Stem (Mu Tong) help with dark urine?

Because it is a key herb in Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' (a pattern with dark urine as a symptom)

Akebia Stems is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and clears Heat. Clears Heat and inflammation of the Heart. Promotes lactation. Moves and smoothes the flow of Blood. Used for painful obstruction associated with either Dampness, Blood Stagnation, Wind or Heat.

Read more about Akebia Stems here