Scanty and dark urine according to Chinese Medicine

Home > Symptoms list > Scanty and dark urine

Scanty and dark urine 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 scanty and dark urine 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 scanty and dark urine is often associated with insomnia, abdominal pain and mouth ulcers in the pattern “Full-Heat in the Small Intestine”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause scanty and dark urine.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause scanty and dark urine

In Chinese Medicine scanty and dark urine 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 Small Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Small Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine

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

In addition to scanty and dark urine, other symptoms associated with Full-Heat in the Small Intestine include insomnia, abdominal pain and mouth ulcers.

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine is often treated with Dao Chi San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Akebia Stems - Mu Tong - as a key herb). Dao Chi San 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 the Heart".

Read more about Full-Heat in the Small Intestine here

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

Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine

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

In addition to scanty and dark urine, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine include fever, feeling of heat and feeling of heaviness.

Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine is often treated with Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Kudzu Roots - Ge Gen - as a key herb). Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

In addition to scanty and dark urine, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat include dizziness, fever and bitter taste in the mouth.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Damp-Heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Damp-Heat is often treated with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a formula used for Qi And Blood Stagnation

Qi And Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Deep (Chen), Fine (Xi)

In addition to scanty and dark urine, other symptoms associated with Qi And Blood Stagnation include dizziness, irritability and insomnia.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi And Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Absence Of Menstruation or Menopausal Syndrome.

Qi And 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 Qi And Blood Stagnation 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 scanty and dark urine, other symptoms associated with Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire include dizziness, irritability and insomnia.

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 scanty and dark urine

Dao Chi San

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Heart. Promotes urination.

Why might Dao Chi San help with scanty and dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Full-Heat in the Small Intestine' of which scanty and dark urine is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Full-Heat In The Small Intestine include insomnia, abdominal pain and mouth ulcers.

Read more about Dao Chi San here

Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Drains Heat.

Why might Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang help with scanty and dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine' of which scanty and dark urine is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Large Intestine include fever, feeling of heat and feeling of heaviness.

Read more about Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang here

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Source date: 2002 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.

Why might Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San help with scanty and dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire' of which scanty and dark urine 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 Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San here

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Why might Yin Chen Hao Tang help with scanty and dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which scanty and dark urine is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Damp-Heat can contribute to many health issues, including Menstrual Cramps.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao Tang here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with scanty and dark urine?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi And Blood Stagnation' of which scanty and dark urine is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Qi And Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Menstrual Cramps.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat scanty and dark urine

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with scanty and dark urine?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty and dark urine as a symptom, like Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San or Yin Chen Hao Tang for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with scanty and dark urine?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty and dark urine as a symptom, like Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San or Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with scanty and dark urine?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty and dark urine as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Dan Zhi Xiao Yao 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with scanty and dark urine?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty and dark urine as a symptom, like Dao Chi San or Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang 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 scanty and dark urine?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty and dark urine as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San 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

Conditions associated with scanty and dark urine

Menstrual cramps Intermenstrual bleeding Lupus