Lumps according to Chinese Medicine

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Lumps 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 lumps 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 lumps is often associated with stabbing pain, abdominal masses and purple nails in the pattern “Blood Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause lumps.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause lumps

In Chinese Medicine lumps 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.

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Blood Stagnation

Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian), Firm (Lao)

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Blood Stagnation, like the name indicates, is when Blood flow becomes Stagnant. It can happen in the whole body or in specific Organs.

It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the body.

In addition to lumps, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation include stabbing pain, abdominal masses and purple nails.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Scanty Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Blood Stagnation is often treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Tao He Cheng Qi 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: "Dispels Heat and".

Read more about Blood Stagnation here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

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

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.

In addition to lumps, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include chest pressure, nausea and dizziness.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen 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: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm here

Three herbal formulas that might help with lumps

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Stagnant Heat in the intestines. Reduces swelling and disperses lumps.

Why might Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang help with lumps?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which lumps is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation include stabbing pain, abdominal masses and purple nails.

Read more about Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang here

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with lumps?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which lumps is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm include chest pressure, nausea and dizziness.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with lumps?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which lumps is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation include stabbing pain, abdominal masses and purple nails.

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat lumps

Why might Mirabilite (Mang Xiao) help with lumps?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat lumps and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat lumps as a symptom (such as Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang for instance).

Mirabilites is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Salty. It targets the Stomach and the Large intestine.

Its main actions are: Purges Stagnation in the Intestines caused by Heat and Dryness, Cools Heat and abates swelling

Read more about Mirabilites here

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lumps as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan or Wu Ling San for instance.

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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with lumps?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lumps as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Tao He Cheng Qi Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with lumps?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lumps as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with lumps?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lumps as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

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