General weakness according to Chinese Medicine

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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 dizziness, fatigue and palpitations in the pattern “Qi Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record three 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 three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause general weakness

In Chinese Medicine general weakness is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the king ingredient for Si Jun Zi Tang, a formula used for Qi Deficiency

Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Qi Deficiency simply means lack of Qi. It includes the lack of Original Qi, Nutritive Qi, Defensive Qi or the Qi that resides in Organs or Channels. It mainly manifests itself in a weakened function of Organs and a declining ability of the body to resist diseases.

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

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Qi Deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Qi Deficiency here

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a formula used for Yin Deficiency

Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Red

In the case of Yin Deficiency, the body is short in the cooling, moistening and nurturing aspects. This leads to Heat and Dryness accompanied by weakness and lack of strength and resistance. Yin becomes Deficient by over-working, lack of sleep, over-exercising, overindulgence in sex, long-term chronic diseases, internal injury due to the seven emotions, and the over-eating of dry and hot-natured foods.

In addition to general weakness, other symptoms associated with Yin Deficiency include dizziness, insomnia and night sweats.

Yin Deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu 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: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Yin Deficiency here

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the king ingredient for Gui Pi Tang, a formula used for Qi and Blood Deficiency

Qi and Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Slowed-down (Huan), Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

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

Qi and Blood 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 Qi and Blood Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with general weakness

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 'Qi Deficiency' of which general weakness is a symptom.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with general weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yin Deficiency' of which weakness is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Ba Zhen Tang

Source date: 1326 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and augments Qi. Tonifies and augments Blood.

Why might Ba Zhen Tang help with general weakness?

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

Read more about Ba Zhen Tang here

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Si Jun Zi Tang help with general weakness?

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

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with general weakness?

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

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

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

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with general weakness?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Zuo Gui Wan for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia 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 Si Jun Zi Tang or 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

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 Si Jun Zi Tang or Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with general weakness?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general weakness as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Huang Lian E Jiao Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

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 Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

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

Other symptoms often associated with general weakness

Dizziness Insomnia Night sweats Fatigue Tinnitus Palpitations Malar flush Depression Dry mouth Dry throat