Oliguria according to Chinese Medicine

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Oliguria 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 oliguria 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 oliguria is often associated with dry mouth, dizziness and tinnitus in the pattern “Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause oliguria.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause oliguria

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

Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency

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

In addition to oliguria, other symptoms associated with Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency include dry mouth, dizziness and tinnitus.

Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency is often treated with Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Xian Chang Shou 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: "Treats Yin Deficiency of the Lungs and Kidneys".

Read more about Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for Summer Heat with Dampness

Summer Heat with Dampness

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Soggy (Ru)

In addition to oliguria, other symptoms associated with Summer Heat with Dampness include fever, headaches and lassitude.

Summer Heat with Dampness is often treated with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Summer Heat with Dampness here

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue color: Red

Liver Yang Rising can create Interior Wind if the condition is not treated for a long time. It can be divided to three categories based on the cause of the pattern: Liver Yin Deficiency, Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency or Liver Blood Deficiency.

In addition to oliguria, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising include insomnia, hypertension and convulsions.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising 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 Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising here

Four herbal formulas that might help with oliguria

Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan

Source date: 1615 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Treats Yin Deficiency of the Lungs and Kidneys.

Why might Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan help with oliguria?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency' of which oliguria is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney And Lung Yin Deficiency include dry mouth, dizziness and tinnitus.

Read more about Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan here

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San help with oliguria?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Summer Heat with Dampness' of which oliguria is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Summer Heat With Dampness include fever, headaches and lassitude.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San 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 oliguria?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising' of which oliguria is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Yang Rising include insomnia, hypertension and convulsions.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang

Source date: the Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Liver. Extinguishes Wind.

Why might E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang help with oliguria?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising' of which oliguria is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Yang Rising include insomnia, hypertension and convulsions.

Read more about E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat oliguria

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with oliguria?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oliguria as a symptom, like Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan or Huo Xiang Zheng Qi 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with oliguria?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oliguria as a symptom, like Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San or E Jiao Ji Zi Huang 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 Yam (Shan Yao) help with oliguria?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oliguria as a symptom, like Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan or Liu Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

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

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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with oliguria?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oliguria as a symptom, like E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang or Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Gambir Stem And Thorn (Gou Teng) help with oliguria?

Because Gambir Stem And Thorn is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oliguria as a symptom, like E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang or Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin for instance.

Gambir Stems And Thorns is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Calms Liver Wind and relieves spasms. Clears Liver Heat and sedates Liver Yang.

Read more about Gambir Stems And Thorns here