General weakness according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > General weakness

General weakness 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 general weakness 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 general weakness is often associated with fatigue, chest fullness and nausea in the pattern “Phlegm in the Uterus”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause general weakness.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause general weakness

In Chinese Medicine general weakness 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.

Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu) is the king ingredient for Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a formula used for Phlegm in the Uterus

Phlegm in the Uterus

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

In addition to general weakness, other symptoms associated with Phlegm in the Uterus include fatigue, chest fullness and nausea.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm in the Uterus is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation.

Phlegm in the Uterus is often treated with Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Coco-Grass Rhizomes - Xiang Fu - as a key herb). Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan 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: "Resolves Dampness and Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm in the Uterus here

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

Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to general weakness, other symptoms associated with Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency include dizziness, palpitations and fatigue.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Early Menstruation.

Spleen or Kidney Qi 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 Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency here

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

Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to general weakness, other symptoms associated with Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency include dizziness, night sweats and dry throat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation.

Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency is often treated with Dang Gui Di Huang Yin, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Dong Quai - Dang Gui - as a key herb). Dang Gui Di Huang Yin 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: "Nourishes Blood".

Read more about Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency here

Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) is the king ingredient for Xiao Yao San, a formula used for Qi and Blood Stagnation

Qi and Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Red, Red sides

In addition to general weakness, other symptoms associated with Qi and Blood Stagnation include dizziness, insomnia and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi and Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Absence Of Menstruation or Menopausal Syndrome.

Qi and Blood 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 Qi and Blood Stagnation here

Dong Quai (Dang Gui) is the king ingredient for Sheng Yu Tang, a formula used for Blood and Qi Deficiency

Blood and Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to general weakness, other symptoms associated with Blood and Qi Deficiency include dizziness, insomnia and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood and Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Menstrual Cramps or Absence Of Menstruation.

Blood and Qi Deficiency is often treated with Sheng Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Dong Quai - Dang Gui - as a key herb). Sheng Yu 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: "Tonifies Qi and Blood".

Read more about Blood and Qi Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with general weakness

Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan

Source date: 1817 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Resolves Dampness and Phlegm.

Why might Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan help with general weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in the Uterus' of which general weakness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm in the Uterus can contribute to many health issues, including Absence Of Menstruation.

Read more about Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan here

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with general weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency' of which general weakness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen or Kidney Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Early Menstruation.

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here

He Che Da Zao Wan

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies the Kidneys. Strengthens the Directing and Penetrating Vessels. Regulates the periods.

Why might He Che Da Zao Wan help with general weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency' of which general weakness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Absence Of Menstruation.

Read more about He Che Da Zao Wan 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 general weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood and Qi Deficiency' of which general weakness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood and Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Absence Of Menstruation.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

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

Why might Si Wu Tang help with general weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi and Blood Stagnation' of which general weakness is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Qi and Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Absence Of Menstruation.

Read more about Si Wu Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat general weakness

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with general weakness?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan or Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

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

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 Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with general weakness?

Because Dwarf Lilyturf Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang for instance.

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here

Why might Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with general weakness?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan or Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with general weakness?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like He Che Da Zao Wan or Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with general weakness?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang 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

Conditions associated with general weakness

Early menstruation Absence of menstruation Menopausal syndrome