Scanty clear urination according to Chinese Medicine

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Scanty clear urination 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 clear urination 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 clear urination is often associated with abdominal pain, sore lower back and cold limbs in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause scanty clear urination.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause scanty clear urination

In Chinese Medicine scanty clear urination 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.

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to scanty clear urination, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include abdominal pain, sore lower back and cold limbs.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. The feeling of ‘Distension’ (zhang 胀) is the main symptom of Liver Qi Stagnation.

In addition to scanty clear urination, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include breast pain, breast distention and breast lumps.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

Three herbal formulas that might help with scanty clear urination

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Why might You Gui Wan help with scanty clear urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which scanty clear urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include abdominal pain, sore lower back and cold limbs.

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Gua Lou San

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Remove breast carbuncle (mastitis) after birth giving.

Why might Gua Lou San help with scanty clear urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which scanty clear urination is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Liver Qi Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Mastitis.

Read more about Gua Lou San here

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with scanty clear urination?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which scanty clear urination is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include abdominal pain, sore lower back and cold limbs.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat scanty clear urination

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with scanty clear urination?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty clear urination as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with scanty clear urination?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty clear urination as a symptom, like Gua Lou San or Er Xian 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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with scanty clear urination?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty clear urination as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan 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 Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with scanty clear urination?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty clear urination as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with scanty clear urination?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty clear urination as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Conditions associated with scanty clear urination

Mastitis