Lochia retention according to Chinese Medicine

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Lochia retention 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 lochia retention 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 lochia retention is often associated with painful period, irregular menstruation and dark clots in menstrual blood in the pattern “Qi And Blood Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause lochia retention.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of lochia retention we’ve identified four 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 lochia retention.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause lochia retention

In Chinese Medicine lochia retention is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a formula used for Qi And Blood Stagnation

Qi And Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Deep (Chen), Fine (Xi)

In addition to lochia retention, other symptoms associated with Qi And Blood Stagnation include painful period, irregular menstruation and dark clots in menstrual blood.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi And Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Absence Of Menstruation or Menopausal Syndrome.

Qi And 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 Qi And Blood Stagnation here

Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) is the king ingredient for Wen Jing Tang, a formula used for Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus

Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

In addition to lochia retention, other symptoms associated with Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus include painful period, irregular menstruation and dark clots in menstrual blood.

Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus is often treated with Wen Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Cinnamon Twigs - Gui Zhi - as a key herb). Wen Jing 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: "Warms the Uterus and vessels".

Read more about Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus here

Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus

In addition to lochia retention, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus include painful period, irregular menstruation and persistent uterine bleeding of purple or dark blood.

Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus is often treated with Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Cinnamon Twigs - Gui Zhi - as a key herb). Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan 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: "Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation".

Read more about Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus here

Four herbal formulas that might help with lochia retention

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.

Why might Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang help with lochia retention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi And Blood Stagnation' of which lochia retention is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi And Blood Stagnation include painful period, irregular menstruation and dark clots in menstrual blood.

Read more about Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang here

Wen Jing Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Uterus and vessels. Nourishes Blood. Dispels Cold. Dispels Blood Stagnation.

Why might Wen Jing Tang help with lochia retention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus' of which lochia retention is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Dampness And Phlegm In The Uterus include painful period, irregular menstruation and dark clots in menstrual blood.

Read more about Wen Jing Tang here

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Why might Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan help with lochia retention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus' of which lochia retention is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation And Phlegm In The Uterus include painful period, irregular menstruation and persistent uterine bleeding of purple or dark blood.

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan here

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.

Why might Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang help with lochia retention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi And Blood Stagnation' of which lochia retention is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi And Blood Stagnation include painful period, irregular menstruation and dark clots in menstrual blood.

Read more about Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang here

Acupuncture points used for lochia retention

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat lochia retention

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with lochia retention?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang or Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with lochia retention?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Chai Hu Shu Gan San or Ge Xia Zhu Yu 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 Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with lochia retention?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Wen Jing Tang or Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

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 Red Peony Root (Chi Shao) help with lochia retention?

Because Red Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan or Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang for instance.

Red Peony Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood, relieves pain and reduces swelling. Cools the Blood and the Liver.

Read more about Red Peony Roots here

Why might Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) help with lochia retention?

Because Flying Squirrel Faeces is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Shi Xiao San or Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang for instance.

Flying Squirrel Faeces is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Disperses congealed Blood in the lower abdomen and uterus and relieves pain. Promotes childhood nutrition with Cold Stagnation and focal abdominal swelling.

Read more about Flying Squirrel Faeces here