Myocarditis according to Chinese Medicine

viral myocarditis redirects here

Myocarditis 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 myocarditis 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 myocarditis is often associated with palpitations in the pattern “Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause myocarditis.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause myocarditis

In Chinese Medicine myocarditis 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.

Kansui Roots (Gan Sui) is the king ingredient for Shi Zao Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium

Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when Phlegm-Fluids clogs up the chest and hypochondriac regions, producing chest pain, cough and shortness of breath.

In addition to myocarditis, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium include palpitations.

Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium is often treated with Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Kansui Roots - Gan Sui - as a key herb). Shi Zao Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that drive out excess water", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium here

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Cracked

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can be caused by prolonged overwork, excessive sexual activity, chronic long term illnesses, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Kidney Yang tonics herbs, smoking and Kidney depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juices.

In addition to myocarditis, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yin Deficiency include anxiety.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Menopausal Syndrome, Prolonged Periods or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yin Deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu Wei 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: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

Four herbal formulas that might help with myocarditis

Shi Zao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids.

Why might Shi Zao Tang help with myocarditis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' of which myocarditis is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Zao Tang here

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with myocarditis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' of which viral myocarditis is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with myocarditis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' of which viral myocarditis is a symptom.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1584 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yin. Drains Fire.

Why might Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan help with myocarditis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' of which viral myocarditis is a symptom.

Read more about Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat myocarditis

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with myocarditis?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with myocarditis as a symptom)

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with myocarditis?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with myocarditis as a symptom)

Water Plantain is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat

Read more about Water Plantain here

Why might Genkwa Flower (Yan Hua) help with myocarditis?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' (a pattern with myocarditis as a symptom)

Genkwa Flowers is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves chronic congestion of Fluids in the chest and stops cough. Drains congested Fluids through the urine and the stool. Expels parasites.

Read more about Genkwa Flowers here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with myocarditis?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with myocarditis 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 Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with myocarditis?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with myocarditis as a symptom)

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Other symptoms often associated with myocarditis

Palpitations Anxiety Bitter taste in the mouth Toothache Headaches