Overweight according to Chinese Medicine

Overweight 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 overweight 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 overweight is often associated with fatigue, obesity and nausea in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause overweight.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause overweight

In Chinese Medicine overweight 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.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm

Damp-Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

In addition to overweight, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm include fatigue, obesity and nausea.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Damp-Phlegm here

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

Spleen Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Spleen Qi Deficiency is one of the most commonly seen TCM pattern. It is caused by unhealthy diet such as fat raw or cold food, bad eating habit, emotional stress or damp environment. It is the central pattern to all other Spleen disharmonies, because many other Deficiency patterns derive from it.

In addition to overweight, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/spleen-qi-deficiency include fatigue, pale face and obesity.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/spleen-qi-deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Spleen Qi Deficiency here

Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu) is the king ingredient for Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus

Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

In addition to overweight, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus include fatigue, dizziness and scanty periods.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Scanty Menstruation or Absence Of Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus is often treated with Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Coco-Grass Rhizomes - Xiang Fu - as a key herb). Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Resolves Dampness and Phlegm".

Read more about Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus here

Five herbal formulas that might help with overweight

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with overweight?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm' of which overweight is a symptom.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with overweight?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/spleen-qi-deficiency' of which overweight is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan

Source date: 1817 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Resolves Dampness and Phlegm.

Why might Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan help with overweight?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus' of which overweight is a symptom.

Read more about Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan here

Wei Ling Tang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wei Ling Tang help with overweight?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus' of which overweight is a symptom.

Read more about Wei Ling Tang here

Wan Dai Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies the Middle Burner. Removes Dampness. Stops vaginal discharge. Strengthens the Spleen.

Why might Wan Dai Tang help with overweight?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-phlegm-in-the-uterus' of which overweight is a symptom.

Read more about Wan Dai Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat overweight

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat overweight as a symptom, like Wu Ling San or Er Chen Tang for instance.

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

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 overweight?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat overweight as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Er Chen Tang for instance.

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

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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with overweight?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat overweight as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with overweight?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat overweight as a symptom, like Wan Dai Tang or Bu Zhong Yi 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with overweight?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat overweight as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan for instance.

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

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