Rheumatic heart disease according to Chinese Medicine

rheumatic valvular heart disease redirects here

Rheumatic heart disease 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 rheumatic heart disease 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 rheumatic heart disease is often associated with general sensation of heaviness, alternating fever and chills and absence of sweating in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause rheumatic heart disease.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause rheumatic heart disease

In Chinese Medicine rheumatic heart disease 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.

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

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when, often due to a stagnant Qi, the Body Fluids are retained in the chest and Lungs.

In addition to rheumatic heart disease, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm include general sensation of heaviness, alternating fever and chills and absence of sweating.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm is often treated with Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Xiao 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: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm here

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

Pericardium Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Knotted (Jie), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

In addition to rheumatic heart disease, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation include stifling sensation in the chest, chest pain and hypochondriac pain.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation is often treated with Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Xue Fu Zhu Yu 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: "Invigorates the Blood".

Read more about Pericardium Blood Stagnation here

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

Stomach Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple

In addition to rheumatic heart disease, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation include epigastric pain, nausea and vomiting.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation is often treated with Shi Xiao San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Cattail Pollen - Pu Huang - as a key herb). Shi Xiao San 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: "Invigorates Blood".

Read more about Stomach Blood Stagnation here

Five herbal formulas that might help with rheumatic heart disease

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 rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm' of which rheumatic heart disease is a symptom.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Lungs. Transforms congested Fluids.

Why might Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm' of which rheumatic heart disease is a symptom.

Read more about Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang here

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Dispels blood Stagnation. Spreads the Liver Qi. Unblocks the channels.

Why might Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/pericardium-blood-stagnation' of which rheumatic valvular heart disease is a symptom.

Read more about Xue Fu Zhu Yu 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 rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation' of which rheumatic valvular heart disease is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Xiao San here

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.

Why might Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/stomach-blood-stagnation' of which rheumatic valvular heart disease is a symptom.

Read more about Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat rheumatic heart disease

Why might Peach Kernel (Tao Ren) help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a key herb in Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with rheumatic heart disease 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 Wild Ginger (Xi Xin) help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a key herb in Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with rheumatic heart disease as a symptom)

Wild Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and warms the Yang. Expels Cold and relieves pain. Warms the Lungs and reduces Phlegm. Moves the Qi and disperses Phlegm to open the nasal passages.

Read more about Wild Ginger here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with rheumatic heart disease as a symptom)

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Red Peony Root (Chi Shao) help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a key herb in Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with rheumatic heart disease as a symptom)

Red Peony Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood, relieves pain and reduces swelling. Cools the Blood and the Liver.

Read more about Red Peony Roots here

Why might Safflower (Hong Hua) help with rheumatic heart disease?

Because it is a key herb in Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Blood Stagnation' (a pattern with rheumatic heart disease 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