Erysipelas according to Chinese Medicine

Erysipelas 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 erysipelas 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 erysipelas is often associated with irritability, generalized body pain and feeling of heaviness in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs”.

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

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause erysipelas

In Chinese Medicine erysipelas is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Da Qing Long Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when Body Fluids stagnate in the four limbs instead of flowing in the body and getting released as sweat.

In addition to erysipelas, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs include irritability, generalized body pain and feeling of heaviness.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs is often treated with Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Da Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes sweating".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs here

Two herbal formulas that might help with erysipelas

Da Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Promotes sweating. Releases the Exterior. Clears Interior Heat.

Why might Da Qing Long Tang help with erysipelas?

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

Read more about Da Qing Long Tang here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with erysipelas?

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

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Acupuncture points used for erysipelas

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat erysipelas

Why might Ephedra (Ma Huang) help with erysipelas?

Because it is a key herb in Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs' (a pattern with erysipelas as a symptom)

Ephedra is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Bladder and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Releases the surface through sweating. Promotes the circulation of Lung Qi and stop wheezing. Promotes urination.

Read more about Ephedra here

Why might Gypsum (Shi Gao) help with erysipelas?

Because it is a key herb in Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs' (a pattern with erysipelas as a symptom)

Gypsum is a Cold herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Lung and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and drains Fire. Clears Lung Heat. Relieves thirst and restlessness. Clears Stomach Heat.

Read more about Gypsum here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with erysipelas?

Because it is a key herb in Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs' (a pattern with erysipelas as a symptom)

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with erysipelas?

Because it is a key herb in Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs' (a pattern with erysipelas as a symptom)

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

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might Jujube Date (Da Zao) help with erysipelas?

Because it is a key herb in Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs' (a pattern with erysipelas as a symptom)

Jujube Dates is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach Qi. Tonifies the Blood. Calms the Shen (spirit). Moderates the actions of other herbs in formula.

Read more about Jujube Dates here