Oedema of face according to Chinese Medicine

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Oedema of face 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 oedema of face 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 oedema of face is often associated with fatigue, loose stools and eye swelling in the pattern “Oedema”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause oedema of face.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause oedema of face

In Chinese Medicine oedema of face 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.

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wu Ling San, a formula used for Oedema

Oedema

Pulse type(s): Slowed-down (Huan), Hidden (Fu)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Oedema manifests itself as swellings due to the retention of Body Fluids. Chinese Medicine believes that it originates from the leaking of Body Fluids from their normal pathways into the space between skin and muscles.

In addition to oedema of face, other symptoms associated with Oedema include fatigue, loose stools and eye swelling.

Oedema is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Oedema here

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

Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Floating (Fu)

In addition to oedema of face, other symptoms associated with Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs include fever, shortness of breath and eye swelling.

Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs is often treated with Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Xiao Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs here

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

Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to oedema of face, other symptoms associated with Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency include shortness of breath, loose stools and pale complexion.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Lupus.

Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Four herbal formulas that might help with oedema of face

Wu Pi Yin

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Reduces edema, diuretic. Regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi.

Why might Wu Pi Yin help with oedema of face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Oedema' of which oedema of face is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Oedema include fatigue, loose stools and eye swelling.

Read more about Wu Pi Yin here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with oedema of face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs' of which oedema of face is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Cold-Water Invading The Lungs include fever, shortness of breath and eye swelling.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with oedema of face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which oedema of face is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Lupus.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Strengthens the Spleen. Resolves Dampness.

Why might Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang help with oedema of face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Oedema' of which oedema of face is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Oedema include fatigue, loose stools and eye swelling.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat oedema of face

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with oedema of face?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of face as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang for instance.

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

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 Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with oedema of face?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of face as a symptom, like Xiao Qing Long Tang or Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with oedema of face?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of face as a symptom, like Zhen Wu Tang or Fang Ji Huang Qi 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

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with oedema of face?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of face as a symptom, like Xiao Qing Long Tang or Fang Ji Huang Qi 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 Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with oedema of face?

Because Water Plantain is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of face as a symptom, like Wu Ling San or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

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

Conditions associated with oedema of face

Lupus