Persistent diarrhea according to Chinese Medicine

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Persistent diarrhea 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 persistent diarrhea 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 persistent diarrhea is often associated with cold in the lower extremities, impotence and spermatorrhea in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”.

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause persistent diarrhea

In Chinese Medicine persistent diarrhea is a symptom for the pattern "Kidney Yang Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to persistent diarrhea, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include cold in the lower extremities, impotence and spermatorrhea.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba 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: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with persistent diarrhea

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with persistent diarrhea?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which persistent diarrhea is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include cold in the lower extremities, impotence and spermatorrhea.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with persistent diarrhea?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which persistent diarrhea is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include cold in the lower extremities, impotence and spermatorrhea.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat persistent diarrhea

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with persistent diarrhea?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat persistent diarrhea as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan 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 Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with persistent diarrhea?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat persistent diarrhea as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with persistent diarrhea?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat persistent diarrhea as a symptom, like Er Xian Tang or You Gui Wan 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 Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with persistent diarrhea?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat persistent diarrhea as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with persistent diarrhea?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat persistent diarrhea as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi 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