Profuse urination according to Chinese Medicine

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Profuse urination 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 profuse urination 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 profuse urination is often associated with cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination in the pattern “Yin Excess”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause profuse urination.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause profuse urination

In Chinese Medicine profuse urination 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.

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wu Ling San, a formula used for Yin Excess

Yin Excess

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Excess Yin is a Full Yin state pattern. Its symptoms are like those of the Cold and Damp Heat Pernicious Influences such as Edema. It is a result of over-exposure to cold environments and bad diet.

In addition to profuse urination, other symptoms associated with Yin Excess include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Yin Excess is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Yin Excess here

Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Empty (Xu), Slow (Chi), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Yang Deficiency is an Empty-Cold condition characterized by Coldness and Deficiency. It can cause a general hypoactivity of Organ functions and Oedema. Qi and Blood is more likely to stagnate. Yang Deficiency is mostly related to Spleen Yang, Kidney Yang, Heart Yang or Lung Qi. It is a result of lack of activity or exercise, excessive sex, over-exposure to cold environments and bad diet.

In addition to profuse urination, other symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang 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 Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang here

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

Kidney Qi not Firm

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Kidney Qi not Firm means Kidney Qi Deficiency. Two characteristics are typical in this pattern. Firstly, it is a type of Kidney Yang Deficiency with the associated Cold symptoms. Secondly, it is a type of sinking of Kidneys Qi, thus with many ‘leaking’ downwards symptoms.

In addition to profuse urination, other symptoms associated with Kidney Qi not Firm include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Kidney Qi not Firm is often treated with You Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). You Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm yang and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang".

Read more about Kidney Qi not Firm here

Four herbal formulas that might help with profuse urination

Wu Pi Yin

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Reduces edema, diuretic. Regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi.

Why might Wu Pi Yin help with profuse urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yin Excess' of which profuse urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Yin Excess include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Read more about Wu Pi Yin here

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 profuse urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang' of which profuse urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Yang Deficiency Or Empty Yang include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Stabilizes the Kidneys. Binds up the semen.

Why might Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan help with profuse urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which profuse urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Qi Not Firm include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Read more about Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan here

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with profuse urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yin Excess' of which profuse urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Yin Excess include cold limbs, feeling of cold and frequent urination.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat profuse urination

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat profuse urination as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Wu Ling San 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 Yam (Shan Yao) help with profuse urination?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat profuse urination as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Fu Tu Dan 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

Why might Cuscuta Seed (Tu Si Zi) help with profuse urination?

Because Cuscuta Seed is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat profuse urination as a symptom, like Fu Tu Dan or You Gui Wan for instance.

Cuscuta Seeds is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies Kidney Yang and Essence. Nourishes the Liver.

Read more about Cuscuta Seeds here

Why might Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with profuse urination?

Because Water Plantain is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat profuse urination as a symptom, like Wu Ling San or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Water Plantain is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat

Read more about Water Plantain here

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with profuse urination?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat profuse urination as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or You Gui 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