Optic nerve atrophy according to Chinese Medicine

Optic nerve atrophy 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 optic nerve atrophy 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 optic nerve atrophy is often associated with palpitations in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause optic nerve atrophy.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause optic nerve atrophy

In Chinese Medicine optic nerve atrophy 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 /tcm-education-center/patterns/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 optic nerve atrophy, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium include palpitations.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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 and Liver Yin Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to optic nerve atrophy, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency include lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Vaginal Itching.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency is often treated with Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Zuo Gui 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: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

Four herbal formulas that might help with optic nerve atrophy

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 optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium' of which optic nerve atrophy is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Zao Tang 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 optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency' of which optic nerve atrophy is a symptom.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency' of which optic nerve atrophy is a symptom.

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan 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 optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency' of which optic nerve atrophy is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Acupuncture points used for optic nerve atrophy

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat optic nerve atrophy

Why might Kansui Root (Gan Sui) help with optic nerve atrophy?

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 optic nerve atrophy as a symptom)

Kansui Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves water retention and congestion of Fluids. Cools swellings and reduces inflammation when applied topically. Strong purgative, driving water and Food Stagnation out though the stool.

Read more about Kansui Roots here

Why might Genkwa Flower (Yuan Hua) help with optic nerve atrophy?

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 optic nerve atrophy 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 Peking Spurge Root (Jing Da Ji) help with optic nerve atrophy?

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 optic nerve atrophy as a symptom)

Peking Spurge Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Drains water downward and drives out Phlegm-Fluids. Reduces swellings and dispels lumps.

Read more about Peking Spurge Roots here

Why might Jujube Date (Da Zao) help with optic nerve atrophy?

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 optic nerve atrophy as a symptom)

Jujube Dates is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach Qi. Tonifies the Blood. Calms the Shen (spirit). Moderates the actions of other herbs in formula.

Read more about Jujube Dates here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with optic nerve atrophy 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