Darkened skin according to Chinese Medicine

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Darkened skin 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 darkened skin 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 darkened skin is often associated with numbness in the limbs, numbness of the muscles and stifling sensation in the chest in the pattern “Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of darkened skin we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause darkened skin

In Chinese Medicine darkened skin is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian)

The bone deformities that occur in chronic rheumatoid arthritis are seen as a form of Phlegm.

In addition to darkened skin, other symptoms associated with Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles include numbness in the limbs, numbness of the muscles and stifling sensation in the chest.

Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles is often treated with Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that regulate blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates Blood".

Read more about Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles here

A herbal formula that might help with darkened skin

Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Unblocks painful obstruction. Relieves pain. Invigorate Qi. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Unblock Channels.

Why might Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang help with darkened skin?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles' of which darkened skin is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm In The Channels, Joints And Muscles include numbness in the limbs, numbness of the muscles and stifling sensation in the chest.

Read more about Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang here

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat darkened skin

Why might Safflower (Hong Hua) help with darkened skin?

Because it is a key herb in Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles' (a pattern with darkened skin as a symptom)

Safflowers is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Stagnant Blood and regulates menses. Relieves pain caused by Blood Stasis.

Read more about Safflowers here

Why might Peach Kernel (Tao Ren) help with darkened skin?

Because it is a key herb in Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles' (a pattern with darkened skin 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 darkened skin?

Because it is a key herb in Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in the Channels, joints and muscles' (a pattern with darkened skin 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