Exhaustion from long-term illness

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Exhaustion from long-term illness 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 exhaustion from long-term illness 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 exhaustion from long-term illness is often associated with aversion to cold, cold extremities and impotence in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of exhaustion from long-term illness 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 exhaustion from long-term illness.

Kidney Yang Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause exhaustion from long-term illness

In Chinese Medicine exhaustion from long-term illness is a symptom for the pattern "Kidney Yang Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to exhaustion from long-term illness, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include aversion to cold, cold extremities and impotence.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with exhaustion from long-term illness

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which exhaustion from long-term illness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include aversion to cold, cold extremities and impotence.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Why might You Gui Wan help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which exhaustion from long-term illness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include aversion to cold, cold extremities and impotence.

Read more about You Gui Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat exhaustion from long-term illness

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat exhaustion from long-term illness as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or You Gui Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because Goji Berry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat exhaustion from long-term illness as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan for instance.

Goji Berries is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Yin of the Liver and Yin of the Kidneys. Brightens the eyes. Moistens the Lungs.

Read more about Goji Berries here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat exhaustion from long-term illness as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

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

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 Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat exhaustion from long-term illness as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Er Xian 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 Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) help with exhaustion from long-term illness?

Because Prepared Aconite is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat exhaustion from long-term illness as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or You Gui Wan for instance.

Prepared Aconite is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Raises the collapse of Yang. Warms the meridians and relieves pain caused by Cold. Reduces Damp caused by Deficiency in Yang.

Read more about Prepared Aconite here

Other symptoms often associated with exhaustion from long-term illness

Aversion to cold Cold extremities Impotence Spermatorrhea Edema of the lower extremities