Oedema of feet according to Chinese Medicine

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Oedema of feet 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 feet 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 feet is often associated with oedema of ankles, oedema of legs and oedema of hands in the pattern “Oedema”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause oedema of feet.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause oedema of feet

In Chinese Medicine oedema of feet 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.

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 feet, other symptoms associated with Oedema include oedema of ankles, oedema of legs and oedema of hands.

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 Gallbladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Gallbladder in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder

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

In addition to oedema of feet, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder include hypochondrial distention, inability to digest fats and yellow complexion.

Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder is often treated with Yin Chen Hao Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Virgate Wormwood - Yin Chen - as a key herb). Yin Chen Hao Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears heat".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder here

Three herbal formulas that might help with oedema of feet

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema. Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Calms External Wind.

Why might Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang help with oedema of feet?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Oedema include oedema of ankles, oedema of legs and oedema of hands.

Read more about Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang here

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Why might Yin Chen Hao Tang help with oedema of feet?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder' of which oedema of feet is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Gallbladder include hypochondrial distention, inability to digest fats and yellow complexion.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao 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 feet?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Oedema include oedema of ankles, oedema of legs and oedema of hands.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

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

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

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of feet as a symptom, like Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang or Wu Ling San 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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with oedema of feet?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of feet as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Wu Ling San 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 Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with oedema of feet?

Because it is a key herb in Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Oedema' (a pattern with oedema of feet as a symptom)

Milkvetch Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Wei Qi and stops perspiration. Tonifies the Spleen Qi and the Yang Qi of the Earth Element. Tonifies the Qi and Blood. Expels pus and assists in the healing of wounds. Helps to regulate water metabolism in the body and reduce edema.

Read more about Milkvetch Roots here

Why might Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen) help with oedema of feet?

Because it is a key herb in Yin Chen Hao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with oedema of feet as a symptom)

Virgate Wormwood is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Drains Damp and clears Heat, especially from the Liver and Gallbladder. Eliminates Heat and relieves the Exterior. Relieve Jaundice.

Read more about Virgate Wormwood here

Why might Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with oedema of feet?

Because it is a key herb in Wu Ling San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Oedema' (a pattern with oedema of feet 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