Paralysis according to Chinese Medicine

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Paralysis 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 paralysis 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 paralysis is often associated with coma, muttering to oneself and dull eyes in the pattern “Phlegm Misting the Heart”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause paralysis.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause paralysis

In Chinese Medicine paralysis 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.

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

Phlegm Misting the Heart

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is a condition where Phlegm enters the Heart and disturbs the Mind (Shen).

In addition to paralysis, other symptoms associated with Phlegm Misting the Heart include coma, muttering to oneself and dull eyes.

Phlegm Misting the Heart is often treated with Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Wen Dan 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: "Clears Hot-Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Misting the Heart here

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Stiff

The invasion of Exterior Wind-Heat leads to this pattern and it then transforms to Interior Wind and Heat.

In addition to paralysis, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat include convulsions, coma and dizziness.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat is often treated with Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Gastrodia Rhizomes - Tian Ma - as a key herb). Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Calms the Liver".

Read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat here

Three herbal formulas that might help with paralysis

Di Tan Tang

Source date: 1470 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Removes Phlegm. Opens the sensory orifices. Tonifies Qi.

Why might Di Tan Tang help with paralysis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' of which paralysis is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Misting The Heart include coma, muttering to oneself and dull eyes.

Read more about Di Tan Tang here

Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin

Source date: 1958 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Calms the Liver. Extinguishes wind. Invigorates the blood. Clears heat. Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys.

Why might Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin help with paralysis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat' of which paralysis is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Extreme Heat include convulsions, coma and dizziness.

Read more about Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin here

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with paralysis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Misting the Heart' of which paralysis is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Misting The Heart include coma, muttering to oneself and dull eyes.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat paralysis

Why might Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing) help with paralysis?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat paralysis and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat paralysis as a symptom (such as Di Tan Tang for instance).

Arisaema is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the .

Its main actions are: Dries and expels Phlegm in the Lung. Clears Wind and Phlegm in the channels and stops convulsions and spasms. Used topically it reduces inflammation and pain.

Read more about Arisaema here

Why might Bamboo Shaving (Zhu Ru) help with paralysis?

Because Bamboo Shaving is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat paralysis as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Di Tan Tang for instance.

Bamboo Shavings is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Gallbladder, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. Clears Heat in the Stomach and stops vomiting. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding.

Read more about Bamboo Shavings here

Why might Host-Wood Poria (Fu Shen) help with paralysis?

Because Host-Wood Poria is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat paralysis as a symptom, like Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin or Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang for instance.

Host-Wood Poria is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Heart.

Its main actions are: Calms the Mind (Shen) and promote urination.

Read more about Host-Wood Poria here

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat paralysis as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Di Tan Tang 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 Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with paralysis?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat paralysis as a symptom, like Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin or Di Tan Tang for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Other symptoms often associated with paralysis

Convulsions Coma Coughing Chest congestion Vertigo Hemiplegia Epilepsy Tetanus Boils Sores