Mental confusion according to Chinese Medicine

Mental confusion 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 mental confusion 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 mental confusion is often associated with aphasia, coma and incoherent speech in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause mental confusion.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause mental confusion

In Chinese Medicine mental confusion 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 Pericardium is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Pericardium in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to mental confusion, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium include aphasia, coma and incoherent speech.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium 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 Fire harassing the Pericardium here

The Pericardium is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Pericardium in Chinese Medicine

Heat in Pericardium

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

In addition to mental confusion, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-pericardium include aphasia, coma and incoherent speech.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-pericardium is often treated with Qing Ying Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Qing Ying Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears the Nutritive level Heat".

Read more about Heat in Pericardium here

Five herbal formulas that might help with mental confusion

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 mental confusion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium' of which mental confusion is a symptom.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Zhi Bao Dan

Source date: 1075

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Opens the sensory orifices. Resolves toxicity. Transforms Phlegm .

Why might Zhi Bao Dan help with mental confusion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-pericardium' of which mental confusion is a symptom.

Read more about Zhi Bao Dan here

Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1852 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

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

Why might Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang help with mental confusion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium' of which mental confusion is a symptom.

Read more about Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang here

Qing Ying Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Nutritive level Heat. Relieves Fire Toxin. Removes Heat. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Qing Ying Tang help with mental confusion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-pericardium' of which mental confusion is a symptom.

Read more about Qing Ying Tang here

Hui Chun Dan

Source date: Late 18th century

Number of ingredients: 19 herbs

Key actions: Opens the sensory orifices. Arrests spasms and convulsions. Clears Heat and transforms Phlegm.

Why might Hui Chun Dan help with mental confusion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fire-harassing-the-pericardium' of which mental confusion is a symptom.

Read more about Hui Chun Dan here

Acupuncture points used for mental confusion

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat mental confusion

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with mental confusion?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat mental confusion as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang for instance.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat mental confusion as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Di Tan Tang for instance.

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

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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with mental confusion?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat mental confusion as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang for instance.

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

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 Cinnabar (Zhu Sha) help with mental confusion?

Because Cinnabar is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat mental confusion as a symptom, like Sheng Tie Luo Yin or Zhi Bao Dan for instance.

Cinnabar is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart.

Its main actions are: Calms the spirit and Heart. Stops convulsions. Clears Heat and toxins.

Read more about Cinnabar here

Why might Bamboo Shaving (Zhu Ru) help with mental confusion?

Because Bamboo Shaving is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat mental confusion as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Huang Lian Wen Dan 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