Lassitude according to Chinese Medicine

Lassitude 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 lassitude 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 lassitude is often associated with depression, frequent urination and feeling of bearing down in the pattern “Spleen Qi Sinking”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause lassitude.

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

We’ve also selected below the four medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat lassitude.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause lassitude

In Chinese Medicine lassitude 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 Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Spleen Qi Sinking

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

The causes and symptoms of Spleen Qi Sinking is quite similar to the ones of Spleen Qi Deficiency. It happens more to people who have unhealthy diet and eating habits, emotional stress, damp living environment or these have to stand up long hours.

In addition to lassitude, other symptoms associated with Spleen Qi Sinking include depression, frequent urination and feeling of bearing down.

Spleen Qi Sinking is often treated with Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Milkvetch Roots - Huang Qi - as a key herb). Bu Zhong Yi Qi 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 of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner)".

Read more about Spleen Qi Sinking here

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

Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang

In addition to lassitude, other symptoms associated with Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang include depression, frequent urination and menopausal symptoms.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang is associated with health issues such as Menopausal Syndrome.

Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang is often treated with Er Xian Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Curculigo Rhizomes - Xian Mao - as a key herb). Er Xian Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify yin and yang", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys".

Read more about Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang here

Two herbal formulas that might help with lassitude

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Why might Er Xian Tang help with lassitude?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang' of which lassitude is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Deficiency Of Both The Kidney Yin And Yang include depression, frequent urination and menopausal symptoms.

Read more about Er Xian Tang here

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with lassitude?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen Qi Sinking' of which lassitude is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Spleen Qi Sinking include depression, frequent urination and feeling of bearing down.

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here

The four Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat lassitude

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with lassitude?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lassitude as a symptom, like Er Xian Tang or Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang for instance.

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

Why might Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with lassitude?

Because it is a key herb in Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Spleen Qi Sinking' (a pattern with lassitude as a symptom)

Milkvetch Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Wei Qi and stops perspiration. Tonifies the Spleen Qi and the Yang Qi of the Earth Element. Tonifies the Qi and Blood. Expels pus and assists in the healing of wounds. Helps to regulate water metabolism in the body and reduce edema.

Read more about Milkvetch Roots here

Why might Epimedium Herb (Yin Yang Huo) help with lassitude?

Because it is a key herb in Er Xian Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang' (a pattern with lassitude as a symptom)

Epimedium Herbs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Kidney Yang. Expels Wind-Damp-Cold Bi Pain. Strengthens Lung Qi and assists in expectoration.

Read more about Epimedium Herbs here

Why might Curculigo Rhizome (Xian Mao) help with lassitude?

Because it is a key herb in Er Xian Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang' (a pattern with lassitude as a symptom)

Curculigo Rhizomes is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies Kidney Yang and treats Kidney Yang Deficiency patterns. Strengthens the bones and sinews. Clears Cold and Dampness.

Read more about Curculigo Rhizomes here