The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
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Jaundice 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 jaundice 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 jaundice is often associated with fever, vomiting and feeling of heaviness in the pattern “Damp-Heat in the Liver”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause jaundice.
Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of jaundice 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 jaundice.
In Chinese Medicine jaundice is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)
Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red
This pattern is caused by excessive Heat in the Liver and Dampness due to Spleen Deficiency. Dampness can cause the formation of Phlegm. Patients often have a feeling of fullness. It is often caused by bad diet and lifestyle, hot and damp environment and emotional stress such as anger.
Damp-Heat in the Liver is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".
The Gallbladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Gallbladder in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)
Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder is often treated with Yin Chen Hao Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Virgate Wormwood - Yin Chen - as a key herb). Yin Chen Hao Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears heat".
Source date: 1682 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Liver' of which jaundice is a symptom.
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 3 herbs
Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder' of which jaundice is a symptom.
Its main actions are: Drains Damp and clears Heat, especially from the Liver and Gallbladder. Eliminates Heat and relieves the Exterior. Relieve Jaundice.
Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind.
Its main actions are: Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Bright Yang stage according to the Six Stages Theory. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis.
Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.
Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.