Red face according to Chinese Medicine

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Red face 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 face 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 face is often associated with feeling of heat, irritability and high fever in the pattern “Bright Yang Stomach Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause red face.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of red face we’ve identified five 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 red face.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause red face

In Chinese Medicine red face is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Bright Yang Stomach Heat

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu)

In addition to red face, other symptoms associated with Bright Yang Stomach Heat include feeling of heat, irritability and high fever.

Bright Yang Stomach Heat is often treated with Bai Hu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Gypsum - Shi Gao - as a key herb). Bai Hu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear qi-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Qi-level Heat".

Read more about Bright Yang Stomach Heat here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for Heat in the Blood

Heat in the Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue color: Red

Heat in the Blood (or Blood-Heat) refers to a condition whereby Heat, as a so-called "Pernicious Influence", entered the Blood. This invasion tends to accelerate Blood flow (leading to a faster pulse) and to manifest itself in various types of bleeding as well as other symptoms.

In addition to red face, other symptoms associated with Heat in the Blood include dizziness, bitter taste in the mouth and feeling of heat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heat in the Blood is associated with health issues such as Early Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Heat in the Blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Heat in the Blood here

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

Liver Fire Blazing

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to red face, other symptoms associated with Liver Fire Blazing include dizziness, bitter taste in the mouth and constipation.

Liver Fire Blazing is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Liver Fire Blazing here

Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin) is the king ingredient for Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, a formula used for Heat in Uterus Blood

Heat in Uterus Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to red face, other symptoms associated with Heat in Uterus Blood include constipation, heavy periods and dark urine.

Heat in Uterus Blood is often treated with Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Baikal Skullcap Roots - Huang Qin - as a key herb). Qing Re Gu Jing Tang belongs to the category of "", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Empty Heat".

Read more about Heat in Uterus Blood here

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

Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to red face, other symptoms associated with Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire include dizziness, bitter taste in the mouth and feeling of heat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps or Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire is often treated with Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including White Peony Roots - Bai Shao - as a key herb). Xuan Yu Tong Jing 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: "Pacifies the Liver".

Read more about Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire here

Five herbal formulas that might help with red face

Bai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears Qi-level Heat. Drains Stomach Fire. Generates fluids. Alleviates thirst.

Why might Bai Hu Tang help with red face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Bright Yang Stomach Heat' of which red face is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Bright Yang Stomach Heat include feeling of heat, irritability and high fever.

Read more about Bai Hu Tang here

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Source date: Ming dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation. Tonifies Spleen. Clears Deficient Heat. Nourishes the blood.

Why might Jia Wei Xiao Yao San help with red face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat in the Blood' of which red face is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heat in the Blood can contribute to many health issues, including Early Menstruation.

Read more about Jia Wei Xiao Yao San here

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Drains Liver and Gallbladder Fire Excess.

Why might Dang Gui Long Hui Wan help with red face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' of which red face is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Fire Blazing include dizziness, bitter taste in the mouth and constipation.

Read more about Dang Gui Long Hui Wan here

Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Pacifies the Liver. Removes Stagnation. Drains Fire. Unblocks the Meridians.

Why might Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang help with red face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire' of which red face is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire can contribute to many health issues, including Menstrual Cramps.

Read more about Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang here

Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Source date: 1988

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Clears Empty Heat. Tonifies the Kidney Yin. Stops bleeding. Supplies Body Fluids.

Why might Qing Re Gu Jing Tang help with red face?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat in Uterus Blood' of which red face is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heat In Uterus Blood include constipation, heavy periods and dark urine.

Read more about Qing Re Gu Jing Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat red face

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with red face?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat red face as a symptom, like Bai Hu Tang or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with red face?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat red face as a symptom, like Dang Gui Long Hui Wan or Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang 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 Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) help with red face?

Because Baikal Skullcap Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat red face as a symptom, like Qing Re Gu Jing Tang or Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance.

Baikal Skullcap Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.

Read more about Baikal Skullcap Roots here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with red face?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat red face as a symptom, like Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat red face as a symptom, like Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Wen Dan Tang 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