Mouth ulcers according to Chinese Medicine

Mouth ulcers 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 mouth ulcers 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 mouth ulcers is often associated with insomnia, tongue ulcers and anxiety in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause mouth ulcers.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of mouth ulcers 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 mouth ulcers.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause mouth ulcers

In Chinese Medicine mouth ulcers is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Heart Fire blazing

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi), Hasty (Cu)

In addition to mouth ulcers, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing include insomnia, tongue ulcers and anxiety.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing is often treated with Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Xie Xin Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Fire".

Read more about Heart Fire blazing here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Yin Qiao San, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/toxic-heat

Toxic-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

In addition to mouth ulcers, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/toxic-heat include fever, sore throat and eczema.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/toxic-heat is often treated with Yin Qiao San, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Yin Qiao San belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Disperses Wind Heat".

Read more about Toxic-Heat here

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wei Ling Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold

Damp-Cold

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi), Soggy (Ru)

In addition to mouth ulcers, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold include fever, eczema and abdominal pain.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold is often treated with Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wei Ling Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination".

Read more about Damp-Cold here

Five herbal formulas that might help with mouth ulcers

Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxicity. Dries Dampness.

Why might Xie Xin Tang help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing' of which mouth ulcers is a symptom.

Read more about Xie Xin Tang here

Zi Xue Dan

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 17 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Opens the sensory orifices. Controls spasms and convulsions. Extinguishes Wind.

Why might Zi Xue Dan help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heart-fire-blazing' of which mouth ulcers is a symptom.

Read more about Zi Xue Dan here

Huang Lian Jie Du Tang

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxin.

Why might Huang Lian Jie Du Tang help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/toxic-heat' of which mouth ulcers is a symptom.

Read more about Huang Lian Jie Du Tang here

Xin Yi Qing Fei Yin

Source date: 1617

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Spreads Lung Qi. Clears Heat. Unblocks the orifices (specifically the nose) .

Why might Xin Yi Qing Fei Yin help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/toxic-heat' of which mouth ulcers is a symptom.

Read more about Xin Yi Qing Fei Yin here

Wei Ling Tang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wei Ling Tang help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold' of which mouth ulcers is a symptom.

Read more about Wei Ling Tang here

Acupuncture points used for mouth ulcers

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat mouth ulcers

Why might Bugbane Rhizome (Sheng Ma) help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat mouth ulcers and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat mouth ulcers as a symptom (such as Qing Wei San for instance).

Bugbane Rhizomes is a Cool herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Large intestine, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior, scatters Wind and clears Heat. Allows the release of toxicity from the skin and clears Heat. Raises the Yang associated with Middle Qi Deficiency. Directs herbs upwards. Cools the Blood.

Read more about Bugbane Rhizomes here

Why might Lophatherum Herb (Dan Zhu Ye) help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat mouth ulcers and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat mouth ulcers as a symptom (such as Dao Chi San for instance).

Lophatherum Herbs is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Small intestine and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and aids thirst. Aids urination and drains Damp-Heat.

Read more about Lophatherum Herbs here

Why might Akebia Stem (Mu Tong) help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat mouth ulcers and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat mouth ulcers as a symptom (such as Dao Chi San for instance).

Akebia Stems is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and clears Heat. Clears Heat and inflammation of the Heart. Promotes lactation. Moves and smoothes the flow of Blood. Used for painful obstruction associated with either Dampness, Blood Stagnation, Wind or Heat.

Read more about Akebia Stems here

Why might Wild Mint (Bo He) help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat mouth ulcers and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat mouth ulcers as a symptom (such as Sang Ju Yin for instance).

Wild Mint is a Cool herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind-Heat. Clears Wind-Heat from the head, eyes and throat. Allows the release of toxins from the skin. Moves Stagnant Liver Qi

Read more about Wild Mint here

Why might Calcitum (Han Shui Shi) help with mouth ulcers?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat mouth ulcers and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat mouth ulcers as a symptom (such as Zi Xue Dan for instance).

Calcitum is a Cold herb that tastes Pungent and Salty. It targets the Heart and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and drains Fire. Expels Summer-Heat. Cools Hot sores and burns. Reduces edema.

Read more about Calcitum here