Mental confusion according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Mental confusion

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 schizophrenia, depression and epilepsy in the pattern “Phlegm Misting the Heart”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of mental confusion we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Phlegm Misting the Heart, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause mental confusion

In Chinese Medicine mental confusion is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm Misting the Heart". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Phlegm Misting the Heart

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

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is a condition where Phlegm enters the Heart and disturbs the Mind (Shen).

In addition to mental confusion, other symptoms associated with Phlegm Misting the Heart include schizophrenia, depression and epilepsy.

Phlegm Misting the Heart is often treated with Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Ox Gallstones - Niu Huang - as a key herb). Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and open sensory orifices", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and resolves Toxicity".

Read more about Phlegm Misting the Heart here

A herbal formula that might help with mental confusion

Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan

Source date: 1568 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and resolves Toxicity. Calms the Mind. Opens up the Orifices.

Why might Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan help with mental confusion?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' of which mental confusion is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Misting The Heart include schizophrenia, depression and epilepsy.

Read more about Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan here

Ox Gallstone might help with mental confusion

Why might Ox Gallstone (Niu Huang) help with mental confusion?

Because it is a key herb in Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' (a pattern with mental confusion as a symptom)

Ox Gallstones is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and Detoxifies. Calms Liver-Wind. As an aromatic it opens the cavities to expel phlegm.

Read more about Ox Gallstones here

Other symptoms often associated with mental confusion

Schizophrenia Depression Epilepsy Anxiety Irritability