Psoriasis according to Chinese Medicine

Psoriasis 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 psoriasis 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 psoriasis is often associated with feeling of heaviness, diarrhea and fever in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause psoriasis.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause psoriasis

In Chinese Medicine psoriasis 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.

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wei Ling Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold

Damp-Cold

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi), Soggy (Ru)

In addition to psoriasis, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold include feeling of heaviness, diarrhea and fever.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold is often treated with Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wei Ling Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination".

Read more about Damp-Cold here

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Da Qing Long Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when Body Fluids stagnate in the four limbs instead of flowing in the body and getting released as sweat.

In addition to psoriasis, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs include generalized body pain, irritability and feeling of heaviness.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs is often treated with Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Da Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes sweating".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs here

Three herbal formulas that might help with psoriasis

Wei Ling Tang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wei Ling Tang help with psoriasis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-cold' of which psoriasis is a symptom.

Read more about Wei Ling Tang here

Da Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Promotes sweating. Releases the Exterior. Clears Interior Heat.

Why might Da Qing Long Tang help with psoriasis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs' of which psoriasis is a symptom.

Read more about Da Qing Long Tang here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with psoriasis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-limbs' of which psoriasis is a symptom.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Acupuncture points used for psoriasis

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat psoriasis

Why might Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with psoriasis?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' (a pattern with psoriasis as a symptom)

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 Black Atractylodes Rhizome (Cang Zhu) help with psoriasis?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' (a pattern with psoriasis as a symptom)

Black Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Dries Damp and tonifies the Spleen. Relieves the Exterior for invasion of Wind-Cold-Damp. Relieves Wind-Damp painful obstruction. Dries Damp for either Damp-Cold or Damp-Heat when combined with the correct herbs. Clears the eyes and improves sight.

Read more about Black Atractylodes Rhizomes here

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

Because it is a key herb in Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' (a pattern with psoriasis as a symptom)

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

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 Polyporus (Zhu Ling) help with psoriasis?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' (a pattern with psoriasis as a symptom)

Polyporus is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and encourages urination

Read more about Polyporus here

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with psoriasis?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' (a pattern with psoriasis as a symptom)

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here