Menopausal symptoms according to Chinese Medicine

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Menopausal symptoms 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 menopausal symptoms 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 menopausal symptoms is often associated with depression, dry throat and blurred vision in the pattern “Liver Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause menopausal symptoms.

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

We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat menopausal symptoms.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause menopausal symptoms

In Chinese Medicine menopausal symptoms 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 Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red points on the sides

This is a type of empty Fire pattern arising out of Liver Blood Deficiency or Kidney Yin Deficiency. It shares similar symptoms as Liver Blood Deficiency, but with extra signs of Dryness and Yin-Deficient Heat. It can be caused by excessive activity, overwork, 'burning the candle at both ends' without sufficient rest, and poor and irregular diet.

In addition to menopausal symptoms, other symptoms associated with Liver Yin Deficiency include depression, dry throat and blurred vision.

Liver Yin Deficiency is often treated with Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Qi Ju Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin".

Read more about Liver Yin Deficiency 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 menopausal symptoms, other symptoms associated with Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang include depression, hypertension and irregular menstruation.

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 menopausal symptoms

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 menopausal symptoms?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Deficiency Of Both The Kidney Yin And Yang include depression, hypertension and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Er Xian Tang here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with menopausal symptoms?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Yin Deficiency' of which menopausal symptoms is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Yin Deficiency include depression, dry throat and blurred vision.

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat menopausal symptoms

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

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 menopausal symptoms 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 Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with menopausal symptoms?

Because it is a key herb in Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with menopausal symptoms as a symptom)

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

Why might Curculigo Rhizome (Xian Mao) help with menopausal symptoms?

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 menopausal symptoms 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