Red and swollen feet according to Chinese Medicine

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Red and swollen feet 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 red and swollen feet 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 red and swollen feet is often associated with scanty and yellow urine, lower back pain and weakness of the lower extremities in the pattern “Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner”.

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

We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat red and swollen feet.

Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause red and swollen feet

In Chinese Medicine red and swollen feet is a symptom for the pattern "Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating

In addition to red and swollen feet, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner include scanty and yellow urine, lower back pain and weakness of the lower extremities.

Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner is often treated with Er Miao San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Phellodendron Bark - Huang Bo - as a key herb). Er Miao San 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: "Expels Dampness from the Lower Burner".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner here

Two herbal formulas that might help with red and swollen feet

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San help with red and swollen feet?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner' of which red and swollen feet is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Lower Burner include scanty and yellow urine, lower back pain and weakness of the lower extremities.

Read more about Ba Zheng San here

Er Miao San

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Expels Dampness from the Lower Burner. Drains Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Er Miao San help with red and swollen feet?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner' of which red and swollen feet is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Lower Burner include scanty and yellow urine, lower back pain and weakness of the lower extremities.

Read more about Er Miao San here

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat red and swollen feet

Why might Knotgrass (Bian Xu) help with red and swollen feet?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner' (a pattern with red and swollen feet as a symptom)

Knotgrass is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Bladder.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat and encourages urination. Drains Dampness and stops itching. Kills parasites.

Read more about Knotgrass here

Why might Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) help with red and swollen feet?

Because it is a key herb in Er Miao San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner' (a pattern with red and swollen feet as a symptom)

Phellodendron Bark is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Bladder, the Kidney and the Large intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Clears Kidney Yin Deficient Heat. Applied externally or toxic Fire, especially associated with Dampness.

Read more about Phellodendron Bark here

Why might Chinese Pink Herb (Qu Mai) help with red and swollen feet?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner' (a pattern with red and swollen feet as a symptom)

Chinese Pink Herbs is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Bladder, the Heart and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and expels Damp-Heat. Dissolves Blood Stasis and assists blocked menstruation.

Read more about Chinese Pink Herbs here