Dull-yellow complexion according to Chinese Medicine

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Dull-yellow complexion 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 dull-yellow complexion 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 dull-yellow complexion is often associated with feeling of heaviness, thirst without a desire to drink and feeling of heat in the pattern “Damp-Heat invading the Spleen”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause dull-yellow complexion.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of dull-yellow complexion we’ve identified two 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 dull-yellow complexion.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause dull-yellow complexion

In Chinese Medicine dull-yellow complexion is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

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

In addition to dull-yellow complexion, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat invading the Spleen include feeling of heaviness, thirst without a desire to drink and feeling of heat.

Damp-Heat invading the Spleen is often treated with Lian Po Yin, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Lian Po Yin 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".

Read more about Damp-Heat invading the Spleen here

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

Dampness in the Gallbladder

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

In addition to dull-yellow complexion, other symptoms associated with Dampness in the Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, sticky taste in the mouth and jaundice.

Dampness in the Gallbladder is often treated with San Ren Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Apricot Seeds - Xing Ren - as a key herb). San Ren Tang 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 Damp-Heat".

Read more about Dampness in the Gallbladder here

Two herbal formulas that might help with dull-yellow complexion

Lian Po Yin

Source date: 1862 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Lian Po Yin help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat invading the Spleen' of which dull-yellow complexion is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat Invading The Spleen include feeling of heaviness, thirst without a desire to drink and feeling of heat.

Read more about Lian Po Yin here

San Ren Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Damp-Heat. Disseminates the Qi. Facilitates the Qi mechanisms.

Why might San Ren Tang help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' of which dull-yellow complexion is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Dampness In The Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, sticky taste in the mouth and jaundice.

Read more about San Ren Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat dull-yellow complexion

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because Houpu Magnolia Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dull-yellow complexion as a symptom, like Lian Po Yin or San Ren Tang for instance.

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dull-yellow complexion as a symptom, like Lian Po Yin or San Ren Tang for instance.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Cardamon Fruit (Bai Dou Kou) help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because it is a key herb in San Ren Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with dull-yellow complexion as a symptom)

Cardamon Fruits is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and transforms Dampness. Invigorates Qi to remove Stomach and Spleen Qi Stagnation due to Dampness. Encourages appetite. Settles a restless fetus, stops morning sickness and prevents miscarriage. Used with tonifying herbs to prevent cloying and Stagnation.

Read more about Cardamon Fruits here

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because it is a key herb in Lian Po Yin, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat invading the Spleen' (a pattern with dull-yellow complexion as a symptom)

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

Why might Job's Tears (Yi Yi Ren) help with dull-yellow complexion?

Because it is a key herb in San Ren Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with dull-yellow complexion as a symptom)

Job's Tears is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Regulates water and encourages urination. Tonic to the Spleen and stops diarrhea caused by Spleen Deficiency. Reduces inflammation and eliminates pus. Dispels Wind-Damp Bi Pain. Expels Damp-Heat.

Read more about Job's Tears here