The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
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 depression in the pattern “Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire”. As you will see below, we have in record four 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 four 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.
In Chinese Medicine scanty periods is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)
Tongue color: Red points on the sides
This pattern develops from Liver Qi Stagnation, which creates excessive amount of Heat and then turn into Liver Fire. The Heat is more intense here.
Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire is often treated with Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Mudan Peony Bark - Mu Dan Pi - as a key herb). Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear liver-heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi".
Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)
Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating
Tongue shape: Swollen
The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.
Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".
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.
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".
Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Soggy (Ru)
Tongue coating: Thin white coating
Tongue color: Pale
There are two types of cold patterns: Full Cold or Empty Cold. Full cold refers to actual Cold Evil invading the Uterus and Dampness Stagnation often come along with this Full pattern. Empty cold is the result of Yang Deficiency, especially the Spleen and Kidney Yang.
Cold in the Uterus is often treated with Wen Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Cinnamon Twigs - Gui Zhi - as a key herb). Wen 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: "Warms the Uterus and vessels".
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.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire' of which scanty periods is a symptom.
Source date: 1575 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Key actions: Resolves Damp-Phlegm. Nourishes Blood.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which scanty periods is a symptom.
Source date: 1529 AD
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Deficiency' of which scanty periods is a symptom.
Source date: 846 AD
Number of ingredients: 4 herbs
Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Cold in the Uterus' of which scanty periods is a symptom.
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.
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.
Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.
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.
Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.