Small clots in menstrual blood

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Small clots in menstrual blood

Small clots in menstrual blood 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 small clots in menstrual blood 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 small clots in menstrual blood is often associated with scanty periods, lower abdominal pain and irritability in the pattern “Liver Qi Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause small clots in menstrual blood.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of small clots in menstrual blood 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 small clots in menstrual blood.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause small clots in menstrual blood

In Chinese Medicine small clots in menstrual blood 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

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 small clots in menstrual blood, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include scanty periods, lower abdominal pain and irritability.

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

Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) is the king ingredient for Xiao Yao San, a formula used for Qi Stagnation

Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Red sides

Qi Stagnation refers to Qi becoming stuck or stagnant, a bit like a traffic jam on the freeway. This restricted flow of Qi can be body-wide or happen in any specific Organ.

In addition to small clots in menstrual blood, other symptoms associated with Qi Stagnation include scanty periods, late period and irritability.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation.

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 Qi Stagnation here

Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) is the king ingredient for Xiao Yao San, a formula used for Qi and Blood Stagnation

Qi and Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Red, Red sides

In addition to small clots in menstrual blood, other symptoms associated with Qi and Blood Stagnation include scanty periods, dizziness and lower abdominal pain.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi and Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Absence Of Menstruation or Menopausal Syndrome.

Qi and Blood 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 Qi and Blood Stagnation here

Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) is the king ingredient for Er Miao San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

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

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to small clots in menstrual blood, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat include dizziness, lower abdominal pain and feeling of heat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Damp-Heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Damp-Heat is often treated with Er Miao San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Phellodendron Bark - Huang Bo - as a key herb). Er Miao San belongs to the category of "formulas that expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels Dampness from the Lower Burner".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

Four herbal formulas that might help with small clots in menstrual blood

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi and Blood Stagnation' of which small clots in menstrual blood is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Qi and Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Menstrual Cramps.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang

Source date: 1576 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Expel Dampness. Relieve pain. Move Qi and Blood.

Why might Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which small clots in menstrual blood is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Damp-Heat can contribute to many health issues, including Menstrual Cramps.

Read more about Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang here

Wu Yao Tang

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Pacifies the Liver. Moves Qi. Stops pain. Nourishes Liver Blood. Eliminates Stagnation.

Why might Wu Yao Tang help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which small clots in menstrual blood is a symptom.

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

Read more about Wu Yao Tang here

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Why might Chai Hu Shu Gan San help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi Stagnation' of which small clots in menstrual blood is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Qi Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Late Menstruation.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat small clots in menstrual blood

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat small clots in menstrual blood as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Tao Hong Si Wu 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat small clots in menstrual blood as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Wu Yao Tang 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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat small clots in menstrual blood as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

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

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 Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat small clots in menstrual blood as a symptom, like Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Coco-Grass Rhizome (Xiang Fu) help with small clots in menstrual blood?

Because Coco-Grass Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat small clots in menstrual blood as a symptom, like Wu Yao Tang or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Coco-Grass Rhizomes is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter, Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Liver and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Unblocks Stagnant Liver Qi and relieves pain. Regulates the Liver and Spleen. Assists the regulation of menses and relieves pain.

Read more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes here

Conditions associated with small clots in menstrual blood

Menstrual cramps Irregular menstruation Late menstruation