Premenstrual pain according to Chinese Medicine

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Premenstrual pain 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 premenstrual pain 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 premenstrual pain is often associated with restlessness, scanty periods and hesitant periods in the pattern “Blood Stagnation”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of premenstrual pain we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the four medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat premenstrual pain.

Blood Stagnation, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause premenstrual pain

In Chinese Medicine premenstrual pain is a symptom for the pattern "Blood Stagnation". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Blood Stagnation

Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian), Firm (Lao)

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Blood Stagnation, like the name indicates, is when Blood flow becomes Stagnant. It can happen in the whole body or in specific Organs.

It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the body.

In addition to premenstrual pain, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation include restlessness, scanty periods and hesitant periods.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Scanty Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Blood Stagnation is often treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Tao He Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dispels Heat and".

Read more about Blood Stagnation here

Two herbal formulas that might help with premenstrual pain

Tao Hong Si Wu Tang

Source date: 1291 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Blood and regulates the Liver. Moves Qi and Blood in the lower abdomen. Stops pain.

Why might Tao Hong Si Wu Tang help with premenstrual pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which premenstrual pain is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

Read more about Tao Hong Si Wu Tang here

Shi Xiao San

Source date: 1108 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Eases pain.

Why might Shi Xiao San help with premenstrual pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which premenstrual pain is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

Read more about Shi Xiao San here

The four Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat premenstrual pain

Why might Peach Kernel (Tao Ren) help with premenstrual pain?

Because it is a key herb in Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with premenstrual pain as a symptom)

Peach Kernels is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood and breaks up Stasis. Moistens the Intestines. Relieves coughing.

Read more about Peach Kernels here

Why might Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) help with premenstrual pain?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Xiao San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with premenstrual pain as a symptom)

Flying Squirrel Faeces is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Disperses congealed Blood in the lower abdomen and uterus and relieves pain. Promotes childhood nutrition with Cold Stagnation and focal abdominal swelling.

Read more about Flying Squirrel Faeces here

Why might Cattail Pollen (Pu Huang) help with premenstrual pain?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Xiao San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with premenstrual pain as a symptom)

Cattail Pollen is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Stops bleeding by Cooling pathogenic Heat. Moves Blood and relieves Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Cattail Pollen here

Why might Safflower (Hong Hua) help with premenstrual pain?

Because it is a key herb in Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with premenstrual pain as a symptom)

Safflowers is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Stagnant Blood and regulates menses. Relieves pain caused by Blood Stasis.

Read more about Safflowers here