Generalized body pain according to Chinese Medicine

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Generalized body pain 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 generalized body pain 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 generalized body pain is often associated with aversion to cold, fever and chills in the pattern “Exterior-Cold”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause generalized body pain.

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

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause generalized body pain

In Chinese Medicine generalized body pain is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Ma Huang Tang, a formula used for Exterior-Cold

Exterior-Cold

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

In addition to generalized body pain, other symptoms associated with Exterior-Cold include aversion to cold, fever and chills.

Exterior-Cold is often treated with Ma Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Ma Huang 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: "Releases exterior cold".

Read more about Exterior-Cold here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Yin Qiao San, a formula used for Exterior-Heat

Exterior-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Floating (Fu)

In addition to generalized body pain, other symptoms associated with Exterior-Heat include aversion to cold, fever and headaches.

Exterior-Heat is often treated with Yin Qiao San, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Yin Qiao San belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Disperses Wind Heat".

Read more about Exterior-Heat here

Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo) is the king ingredient for Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a formula used for Damp-Wind

Damp-Wind

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Floating (Fu)

In addition to generalized body pain, other symptoms associated with Damp-Wind include aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness.

Damp-Wind is often treated with Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Notopterygium Roots - Qiang Huo - as a key herb). Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel wind-damp", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels wind and dampness".

Read more about Damp-Wind here

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

Wind-Cold invading the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Tongue shape: Partially swollen

In addition to generalized body pain, other symptoms associated with Wind-Cold invading the Lungs include aversion to cold, fever and headaches.

Wind-Cold invading the Lungs is often treated with Ma Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Ma Huang 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: "Releases exterior cold".

Read more about Wind-Cold invading the Lungs here

Five herbal formulas that might help with generalized body pain

Ma Huang Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Releases exterior cold. Treats wheezing.

Why might Ma Huang Tang help with generalized body pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Exterior-Cold' of which generalized body pain is a symptom.

Read more about Ma Huang Tang here

Gui Zhi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Releases pathogens from the muscle layer. Regulates the Nutritive and Protective Qi.

Why might Gui Zhi Tang help with generalized body pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Exterior-Cold' of which generalized body pain is a symptom.

Read more about Gui Zhi Tang here

Yin Qiao San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.

Why might Yin Qiao San help with generalized body pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Exterior-Heat' of which body aches is a symptom.

Read more about Yin Qiao San here

Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang

Source date: 1247 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Expels wind and dampness.

Why might Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang help with generalized body pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which body aches is a symptom.

Read more about Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang here

Ge Gen Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior and muscle layer. Forms Body Fluids.

Why might Ge Gen Tang help with generalized body pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold invading the Lungs' of which body aches is a symptom.

Read more about Ge Gen Tang here

Acupuncture points used for generalized body pain

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat generalized body pain

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with generalized body pain?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat generalized body pain as a symptom, like Ma Huang Tang or Gui Zhi Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

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 Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with generalized body pain?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat generalized body pain as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Tang or Ma Huang Tang for instance.

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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with generalized body pain?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat generalized body pain as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Tang or Fu Zi 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 Ephedra (Ma Huang) help with generalized body pain?

Because Ephedra is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat generalized body pain as a symptom, like Ma Huang Tang or Da Qing Long Tang for instance.

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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with generalized body pain?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat generalized body pain as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Tang or Ge Gen 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