Scanty periods according to Chinese Medicine

scanty menstruation redirects here

Scanty periods 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 periods 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 periods is often associated with dizziness, insomnia and blurred vision in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause scanty periods.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause scanty periods

In Chinese Medicine scanty periods 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.

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Si Wu Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-deficiency

Blood Deficiency

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

Tongue color: Pale

Someone has a Deficiency of Blood when their entire body, a part of body or a particular Organ is insufficiently nourished by Blood. This can be caused by blood-loss, a lack of of Spleen Qi (responsible to produce Blood) or congealed Blood which prevents new Blood from forming.

In addition to scanty periods, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-deficiency include dizziness, insomnia and blurred vision.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Blood Deficiency here

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

Liver Blood Deficiency

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

Tongue color: Pale

The Liver stores Blood, that is the reason any Blood Deficiency often involves the Liver. This pattern has an impact on areas the Liver relates to, such as the tendons, eyes, nails and menstruation. It arises from the same causes of general Blood Deficiency, such as poor diet, hemorrhages or Kidney Qi or Essence Deficiency.

In addition to scanty periods, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-blood-deficiency include dizziness, insomnia and blurred vision.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-blood-deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Liver Blood Deficiency here

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

Spleen Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Fine (Xi)

In addition to scanty periods, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/spleen-blood-deficiency include insomnia, amenorrhea and depression.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/spleen-blood-deficiency is often treated with Gui Pi Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Gui Pi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi and blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood".

Read more about Spleen Blood Deficiency here

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

Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red points on the sides

This is a type of empty Fire pattern arising out of Liver Blood Deficiency or Kidney Yin Deficiency. It shares similar symptoms as Liver Blood Deficiency, but with extra signs of Dryness and Yin-Deficient Heat. It can be caused by excessive activity, overwork, 'burning the candle at both ends' without sufficient rest, and poor and irregular diet.

In addition to scanty periods, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-yin-deficiency include dizziness, insomnia and blurred vision.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-yin-deficiency is often treated with Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Qi Ju 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: "Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin".

Read more about Liver Yin Deficiency here

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to scanty periods, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency include dizziness, insomnia and blurred vision.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Vaginal Itching.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency is often treated with Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Zuo Gui 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: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with scanty periods

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Why might Si Wu Tang help with scanty periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-deficiency' of which scanty periods is a symptom.

Read more about Si Wu Tang here

Bu Gan Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and regulates the Blood. Nourishes the Liver Yin.

Why might Bu Gan Tang help with scanty periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-blood-deficiency' of which scanty periods is a symptom.

Read more about Bu Gan Tang here

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with scanty periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/spleen-blood-deficiency' of which scanty periods is a symptom.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with scanty periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-yin-deficiency' of which scanty periods is a symptom.

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with scanty periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-and-liver-yin-deficiency' of which scanty periods is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Acupuncture points used for scanty periods

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat scanty periods

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with scanty periods?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty periods as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

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

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 periods?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty periods as a symptom, like Sheng Yu Tang or Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with scanty periods?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty periods as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang for instance.

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

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 Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with scanty periods?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty periods as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Da Bu Yuan Jian 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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with scanty periods?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat scanty periods as a symptom, like Wen Qi Hua Shi Tang or Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

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