Lethargic and withdrawn state according to Chinese Medicine

Lethargic and withdrawn state can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.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is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like lethargic and withdrawn state here).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 For instance here lethargic and withdrawn state is often associated with muttering to oneself, dull eyes and sudden blackouts in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart”.

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 In the case of lethargic and withdrawn state we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat lethargic and withdrawn state.

Phlegm Misting the Heart, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause lethargic and withdrawn state

In Chinese Medicine lethargic and withdrawn state is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm Misting the Heart". 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

Phlegm Misting the Heart

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is a condition where Phlegm enters the Heart and disturbs the Mind (Shen).

In addition to lethargic and withdrawn state, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart include muttering to oneself, dull eyes and sudden blackouts.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart is often treated with Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Wen Dan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Misting the Heart here

Two herbal formulas that might help with lethargic and withdrawn state

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart' of which lethargic and withdrawn state is a symptom.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Di Tan Tang

Source date: 1470 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Removes Phlegm. Opens the sensory orifices. Tonifies Qi.

Why might Di Tan Tang help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-misting-the-heart' of which lethargic and withdrawn state is a symptom.

Read more about Di Tan Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat lethargic and withdrawn state

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lethargic and withdrawn state as a symptom, like Ba Zhen Tang or Sheng Yu Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lethargic and withdrawn state as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Ba Zhen 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lethargic and withdrawn state as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Ba Zhen 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

Why might Bamboo Shaving (Zhu Ru) help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because Bamboo Shaving is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lethargic and withdrawn state as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Di Tan Tang for instance.

Bamboo Shavings is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Gallbladder, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. Clears Heat in the Stomach and stops vomiting. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding.

Read more about Bamboo Shavings here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with lethargic and withdrawn state?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lethargic and withdrawn state as a symptom, like Ba Zhen Tang or Sheng Yu Tang for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here