Sore throat according to Chinese Medicine

Sore throat 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 sore throat 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 sore throat is often associated with dry cough, fever and dizziness in the pattern “Yin Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of sore throat we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Liu Wei Di Huang Wan can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Yin Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause sore throat

In Chinese Medicine sore throat is a symptom for the pattern "Yin Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a formula used for Yin Deficiency

Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Red

In the case of Yin Deficiency, the body is short in the cooling, moistening and nurturing aspects. This leads to Heat and Dryness accompanied by weakness and lack of strength and resistance. Yin becomes Deficient by over-working, lack of sleep, over-exercising, overindulgence in sex, long-term chronic diseases, internal injury due to the seven emotions, and the over-eating of dry and hot-natured foods.

In addition to sore throat, other symptoms associated with Yin Deficiency include dry cough, fever and dizziness.

Yin Deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu Wei 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: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Yin Deficiency here

A herbal formula that might help with sore throat

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 sore throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yin Deficiency' of which sore throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Yin Deficiency include dry cough, fever and dizziness.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat sore throat

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with sore throat?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with sore throat as a symptom)

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 Swallow-Wort Root (Bai Wei) help with sore throat?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat sore throat as can be seen on Swallow-Wort Root's page.

Swallow-Wort Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Salty. It targets the Stomach, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood and expels Deficient Heat. Clears Heat in the Blood by encouraging urination. Detoxifies when used either internally or externally.

Read more about Swallow-Wort Roots here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with sore throat?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat sore throat as can be seen on Liquorice's page.

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 Monk Fruit (Luo Han Guo) help with sore throat?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat sore throat as can be seen on Monk Fruit's page.

Monk Fruits is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Lubricates and cools the Lungs. Treats Lung Yin Deficiency. Dissipates nodules and swollen glands. Lubricates the Intestines and relieves constipation.

Read more about Monk Fruits here

Why might Mulberry Leaf (Sang Ye) help with sore throat?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat sore throat as can be seen on Mulberry Leaf's page.

Mulberry Leaves is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and clears Heat. Clears Heat in the Lung with associated Dryness. Clears the Liver for either Wind-Heat or Yin Deficient Heat. Cools the Blood.

Read more about Mulberry Leaves here

Other symptoms often associated with sore throat

Carbuncles Dry cough Boils Fever Coughing Erysipelas Dizziness Sores Mouth ulcers Constipation