Feelings of frustration according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Feelings of frustration

Feelings of frustration 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 feelings of frustration 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 feelings of frustration is often associated with flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs and suppressed emotions in the pattern “Liver Qi Stagnation”.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause feelings of frustration

In Chinese Medicine feelings of frustration is a symptom for the pattern "Liver Qi Stagnation". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. The feeling of ‘Distension’ (zhang 胀) is the main symptom of Liver Qi Stagnation.

In addition to feelings of frustration, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs and suppressed emotions.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

Two herbal formulas that might help with feelings of frustration

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Source date: Ming dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation. Tonifies Spleen. Clears Deficient Heat. Nourishes the blood.

Why might Jia Wei Xiao Yao San help with feelings of frustration?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which feelings of frustration is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Qi Stagnation include flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs and suppressed emotions.

Read more about Jia Wei Xiao Yao San here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with feelings of frustration?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which feelings of frustration is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Qi Stagnation include flank pain, stifling sensation in the chest causing one to have deep sighs and suppressed emotions.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat feelings of frustration

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with feelings of frustration?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feelings of frustration as a symptom, like Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Xiao Yao San 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with feelings of frustration?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feelings of frustration as a symptom, like Yue Ju Wan or Xiao Yao San for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with feelings of frustration?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feelings of frustration as a symptom, like Yue Ju Wan or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

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

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with feelings of frustration?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feelings of frustration as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San 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 Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with feelings of frustration?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feelings of frustration as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for instance.

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here