Kidney stones according to Chinese Medicine

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Kidney stones 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 kidney stones 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 kidney stones is often associated with gallstones, back pain and epigastric pain in the pattern “Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of kidney stones we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the two medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat kidney stones.

Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause kidney stones

In Chinese Medicine kidney stones is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

According to Chinese medicine, gallstones or kidney stones are a form of Phlegm.

In addition to kidney stones, other symptoms associated with Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder include gallstones, back pain and epigastric pain.

Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder is often treated with Si Ni San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Si Ni 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: "Regulates Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder here

Two herbal formulas that might help with kidney stones

Si Ni San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Regulates Liver and Spleen. Eliminates Internal Heat.

Why might Si Ni San help with kidney stones?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder' of which kidney stones is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm In Kidneys Or Gallbladder include gallstones, back pain and epigastric pain.

Read more about Si Ni San here

Pai Shi Tang

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Discharge Gallstones. Clear Damp-Heat. Facilitate urination.

Why might Pai Shi Tang help with kidney stones?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in Kidneys or Gallbladder' of which kidney stones is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm In Kidneys Or Gallbladder include gallstones, back pain and epigastric pain.

Read more about Pai Shi Tang here

The two Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat kidney stones

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

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat kidney stones as a symptom, like Si Ni San or Pai Shi Tang for instance.

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 Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with kidney stones?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat kidney stones as a symptom, like Si Ni San or Pai Shi Tang for instance.

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here