Pale lips according to Chinese Medicine

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Pale lips 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 pale lips 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 pale lips is often associated with scanty periods, dizziness and insomnia in the pattern “Blood Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause pale lips.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause pale lips

In Chinese Medicine pale lips 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.

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Si Wu Tang, a formula used for Blood Deficiency

Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Someone has a Deficiency of Blood when their entire body, a part of body or a particular Organ is insufficiently nourished by Blood.

This can be caused by blood-loss, a lack of of Spleen Qi (responsible to produce Blood) or congealed Blood which prevents new Blood from forming.

In addition to pale lips, other symptoms associated with Blood Deficiency include scanty periods, dizziness and insomnia.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Blood Deficiency here

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

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to pale lips, other symptoms associated with Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency include dizziness, pale face and poor appetite.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency is often treated with Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Milkvetch Roots - Huang Qi - as a key herb). Bu Zhong Yi Qi 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 of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner)".

Read more about Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency here

Three herbal formulas that might help with pale lips

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Why might Si Wu Tang help with pale lips?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Deficiency' of which pale lips is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Late Menstruation.

Read more about Si Wu Tang here

Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Nourishes the Heart. Calms the spirit.

Why might Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang help with pale lips?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency' of which pale lips is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Read more about Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang here

Da Bu Yuan Jian

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yin and Blood. Nourishes Qi and Yang.

Why might Da Bu Yuan Jian help with pale lips?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Deficiency' of which pale lips is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Late Menstruation.

Read more about Da Bu Yuan Jian here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat pale lips

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with pale lips?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat pale lips as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with pale lips?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat pale lips as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang for instance.

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

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with pale lips?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat pale lips as a symptom, like Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang or Da Bu Yuan Jian for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with pale lips?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat pale lips as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Ren Shen Yang Rong 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with pale lips?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat pale lips as a symptom, like Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang or Da Bu Yuan Jian 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