Numbness of skin according to Chinese Medicine

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Numbness of skin 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 numbness of skin 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 numbness of skin is often associated with joint pain and swollen joints in the pattern “Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause numbness of skin.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause numbness of skin

In Chinese Medicine numbness of skin 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.

Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles

Pulse type(s): Slow (Chi), Soggy (Ru)

In addition to numbness of skin, other symptoms associated with Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles include joint pain and swollen joints.

Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles is often treated with Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, a herbal formula made of 16 herbs (including Dong Quai - Dang Gui - as a key herb). Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels Wind Damp from the Channels".

Read more about Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles here

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the king ingredient for Gui Pi Tang, a formula used for Qi and Blood Deficiency

Qi and Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Slowed-down (Huan), Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

In addition to numbness of skin, other symptoms associated with Qi and Blood Deficiency include dream disturbed sleep, spontaneous sweating and listlessness.

Qi and Blood Deficiency is often treated with Gui Pi Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Gui Pi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi and blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood".

Read more about Qi and Blood Deficiency here

Three herbal formulas that might help with numbness of skin

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Source date: 1587 AD

Number of ingredients: 16 herbs

Key actions: Expels Wind Damp from the Channels. Invigorates Blood. Unblocks the channels.

Why might Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang help with numbness of skin?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles' of which numbness of skin is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Dampness Invading The Channels Joints And Muscles include joint pain and swollen joints.

Read more about Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang here

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with numbness of skin?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi and Blood Deficiency' of which numbness of skin is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi And Blood Deficiency include dream disturbed sleep, spontaneous sweating and listlessness.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Ba Zhen Tang

Source date: 1326 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and augments Qi. Tonifies and augments Blood.

Why might Ba Zhen Tang help with numbness of skin?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi and Blood Deficiency' of which numbness of skin is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi And Blood Deficiency include dream disturbed sleep, spontaneous sweating and listlessness.

Read more about Ba Zhen Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat numbness of skin

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with numbness of skin?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of skin as a symptom, like Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with numbness of skin?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of skin as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with numbness of skin?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of skin as a symptom, like Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with numbness of skin?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of skin as a symptom, like Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with numbness of skin?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of skin as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Other symptoms often associated with numbness of skin

Spasms Convulsions Rheumatism Limbs paralysis Tetanus Leprosy Rubella Scabies Urticaria Joint pain