Hallucinations according to Chinese Medicine

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Hallucinations 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 hallucinations 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 hallucinations is often associated with palpitations, delusions and mania in the pattern “Heart Blood Stagnation”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of hallucinations we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Xiao Tiao Jing Tang can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Heart Blood Stagnation, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause hallucinations

In Chinese Medicine hallucinations is a symptom for the pattern "Heart Blood Stagnation". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Heart Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Knotted (Jie)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

This is a severe pattern deriving from other Heart patterns such as Heart Yang or Blood Deficiency, or Heart Qi Stagnation. Prolonged emotional stress such as grief, worry, resentment, anxiety or anger can seriously harm the Heart's functions of controlling Blood and Blood vessels as well as housing the spiritual Mind.

In addition to hallucinations, other symptoms associated with Heart Blood Stagnation include palpitations, delusions and mania.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heart Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Postpartum Depression.

Heart Blood Stagnation is often treated with Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates the Blood".

Read more about Heart Blood Stagnation here

A herbal formula that might help with hallucinations

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Remove Blood Stagnation. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Mind.

Why might Xiao Tiao Jing Tang help with hallucinations?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Blood Stagnation' of which hallucinations is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heart Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Postpartum Depression.

Read more about Xiao Tiao Jing Tang here

The two Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat hallucinations

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with hallucinations?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with hallucinations as a symptom)

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

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 Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with hallucinations?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with hallucinations as a symptom)

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

Conditions associated with hallucinations

Postpartum depression