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 persistent uterine bleeding of purple or dark blood in the pattern “Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus”. As you will see below, we have in record two 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 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 lochia retention.

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

In Chinese Medicine lochia retention 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.

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

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

Two herbal formulas that might help with lochia retention

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

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

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

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with lochia retention?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan or Wen Jing Tang for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with lochia retention?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lochia retention as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan or Wen Jing Tang for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with lochia retention?

Because it is a key herb in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus' (a pattern with lochia retention as a symptom)

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Evodia Fruit (Wu Zhu Yu) help with lochia retention?

Because it is a key herb in Wen Jing Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus' (a pattern with lochia retention as a symptom)

Evodia Fruits is a Hot herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen, expels Cold, relieves pain and helps the Liver. Directs Rebellious Qi downward

Read more about Evodia Fruits here