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 fever, eczema and bloody sputum in the pattern “Heat in the Blood”. As you will see below, we have in record three 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 three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause skin eruptions

In Chinese Medicine skin eruptions is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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 or Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

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

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

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

Five herbal formulas that might help with skin eruptions

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 'Heat in the Blood' of which red skin eruptions is a symptom.

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang 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' of which red skin eruptions is a symptom.

Read more about Huang Lian Jie Du Tang here

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 itchy skin and skin eruptions is a symptom.

Read more about Lian Po Yin here

Yin Qiao San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.

Why might Yin Qiao San help with skin eruptions?

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

Read more about Yin Qiao San here

Sang Ju Yin

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind. Stops coughing by invigorating Lung Qi. Clears Heat.

Why might Sang Ju Yin help with skin eruptions?

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

Read more about Sang Ju Yin 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 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 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 Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with skin eruptions?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat skin eruptions as a symptom, like Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang or Qing Hao Bie Jia 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 Wild Mint (Bo He) help with skin eruptions?

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

Wild Mint is a Cool herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind-Heat. Clears Wind-Heat from the head, eyes and throat. Allows the release of toxins from the skin. Moves Stagnant Liver Qi

Read more about Wild Mint here