Dream disturbed sleep according to Chinese Medicine

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Dream disturbed sleep 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 dream disturbed sleep 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 dream disturbed sleep is often associated with dizziness, red face and bitter taste in the mouth in the pattern “Liver Fire Blazing”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause dream disturbed sleep.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause dream disturbed sleep

In Chinese Medicine dream disturbed sleep 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 dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Liver Fire Blazing include dizziness, red face and bitter taste in the mouth.

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

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

Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency is often treated with Gui Pi Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Gui Pi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi and blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood".

Read more about Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency here

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

Heart Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Thin

Heart Blood Deficiency hurts the Mind (神 Shen) and it causes insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, poor memory, dizziness and tendency to be scared. It can be caused by Deficient Spleen Qi that fails to produce Blood, long-term anxiety and worry, a severe blood loss and excessive workload.

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heart Blood Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Postpartum Depression.

Heart Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Heart Blood Deficiency here

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

Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart is often treated with Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Hot Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart here

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

Pericardium Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Pericardium Blood Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Pericardium Blood Deficiency is often treated with Shen Qi Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Shen Qi Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Pericardium Blood Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with dream disturbed sleep

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Drains Liver and Gallbladder Fire Excess.

Why might Dang Gui Long Hui Wan help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Fire Blazing include dizziness, red face and bitter taste in the mouth.

Read more about Dang Gui Long Hui Wan here

Sheng Yu Tang

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Preserves the Blood.

Why might Sheng Yu Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver And Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Read more about Sheng Yu Tang here

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Blood Deficiency' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1852 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder Heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Fire Harassing The Heart include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Read more about Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang here

Shen Qi Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation. Tonifies Qi.

Why might Shen Qi Si Wu Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Blood Deficiency' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Pericardium Blood Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and anxiety.

Read more about Shen Qi Si Wu Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat dream disturbed sleep

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Dang Gui Long Hui Wan or Sheng Yu Tang for instance.

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

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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Shen Qi Si Wu Tang for instance.

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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Goldthread Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Jiao Tai Wan or Xie Xin Tang for instance.

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here