Skin eruptions according to Chinese Medicine

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Skin eruptions 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 skin eruptions 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 skin eruptions is often associated with feeling of heat, scanty and dark urine and poor appetite in the pattern “Damp-Heat invading the Spleen”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause skin eruptions.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause skin eruptions

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

Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

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

In addition to skin eruptions, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat invading the Spleen include feeling of heat, scanty and dark urine and poor appetite.

Damp-Heat invading the Spleen is often treated with Lian Po Yin, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Lian Po Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat".

Read more about Damp-Heat invading the Spleen here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Yin Qiao San, a formula used for Toxic-Heat

Toxic-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

In addition to skin eruptions, other symptoms associated with Toxic-Heat include fever, mouth ulcers and eczema.

Toxic-Heat is often treated with Yin Qiao San, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Yin Qiao San 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: "Disperses Wind Heat".

Read more about Toxic-Heat here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for Heat in the Blood

Heat in the Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue color: Red

Heat in the Blood (or Blood-Heat) refers to a condition whereby Heat, as a so-called "Pernicious Influence", entered the Blood. This invasion tends to accelerate Blood flow (leading to a faster pulse) and to manifest itself in various types of bleeding as well as other symptoms.

In addition to skin eruptions, other symptoms associated with Heat in the Blood include fever, eczema and bloody sputum.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heat in the Blood is associated with health issues such as Early Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Heat in the Blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Heat in the Blood here

Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) is the king ingredient for Huang Lian Jie Du Tang, a formula used for Toxic-Heat Stagnation

Toxic-Heat Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

In addition to skin eruptions, other symptoms associated with Toxic-Heat Stagnation include fever, mouth ulcers and eczema.

Toxic-Heat Stagnation is often treated with Huang Lian Jie Du Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Huang Lian Jie Du Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Fire".

Read more about Toxic-Heat Stagnation here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for Excess-Heat

Excess-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Tight (Jin), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

In addition to skin eruptions, other symptoms associated with Excess-Heat include fever, irritability and constipation.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Excess-Heat is associated with health issues such as Lupus.

Excess-Heat is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Excess-Heat here

Five herbal formulas that might help with skin eruptions

Lian Po Yin

Source date: 1862 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Lian Po Yin help with skin eruptions?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat invading the Spleen' of which skin eruptions is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat Invading The Spleen include feeling of heat, scanty and dark urine and poor appetite.

Read more about Lian Po Yin here

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Why might Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang help with skin eruptions?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Excess-Heat' of which skin eruptions is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Excess-Heat can contribute to many health issues, including Lupus.

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang here

Qing Ying Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Nutritive level Heat. Relieves Fire Toxin. Removes Heat. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Qing Ying Tang help with skin eruptions?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Toxic-Heat' of which skin eruptions is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic-Heat include fever, mouth ulcers and eczema.

Read more about Qing Ying Tang here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with skin eruptions?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat in the Blood' of which skin eruptions is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heat In The Blood include fever, eczema and bloody sputum.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Huang Lian Jie Du Tang

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxin.

Why might Huang Lian Jie Du Tang help with skin eruptions?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Toxic-Heat Stagnation' of which skin eruptions is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic-Heat Stagnation include fever, mouth ulcers and eczema.

Read more about Huang Lian Jie Du Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat skin eruptions

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with skin eruptions?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat skin eruptions as a symptom, like Bai Hu Tang or Sang Ju Yin 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 Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with skin eruptions?

Because Unprepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat skin eruptions as a symptom, like Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang or Qing Ying Tang for instance.

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here

Why might Forsythia Fruit (Lian Qiao) help with skin eruptions?

Because Forsythia Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat skin eruptions as a symptom, like Yin Qiao San or Sang Ju Yin for instance.

Forsythia Fruits is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and toxicity from the Blood. Dispels External Wind-Heat. Reduces lumps, swollen lymph nodes and sores of a Heated nature.

Read more about Forsythia Fruits here

Why might Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) help with skin eruptions?

Because Baikal Skullcap Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat skin eruptions as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Huang Lian Jie Du Tang for instance.

Baikal Skullcap Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.

Read more about Baikal Skullcap Roots here

Why might Water Buffalo Horn (Shui Niu Jiao) help with skin eruptions?

Because Water Buffalo Horn is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat skin eruptions as a symptom, like Qing Ying Tang or Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang for instance.

Water Buffalo Horns is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Salty. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, drains Fire and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears Heat and Fire and stops tremors and convulsions. Cools Fire and expels toxins.

Read more about Water Buffalo Horns here

Conditions associated with skin eruptions

Lupus