Sores according to Chinese Medicine

Sores 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 sores 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 sores is often associated with eczema, vaginal itching and vaginal discharge in the pattern “Damp Heat in the Liver”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause sores.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of sores we’ve identified two 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 sores.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause sores

In Chinese Medicine sores is a symptom for 2 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

Damp Heat in the Liver

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern is caused by excessive Heat in the Liver and Dampness due to Spleen Deficiency. Dampness can cause the formation of Phlegm.  Patients often have a feeling of fullness. It is often caused by bad diet and lifestyle, hot and damp environment and emotional stress such as anger.

In addition to sores, other symptoms associated with Damp Heat in the Liver include eczema, vaginal itching and vaginal discharge.

Damp Heat in the Liver is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Damp Heat in the Liver here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a formula used for Toxic Heat

Toxic Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to sores, other symptoms associated with Toxic Heat include carbuncles, boils and abdominal pain.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Toxic Heat is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Toxic Heat is often treated with Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that clear external abscesses and sores", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat".

Read more about Toxic Heat here

Two herbal formulas that might help with sores

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 sores?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp Heat in the Liver' of which sores is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp Heat In The Liver include eczema, vaginal itching and vaginal discharge.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Why might Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin help with sores?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Toxic Heat include carbuncles, boils and abdominal pain.

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat sores

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

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat sores and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat sores as a symptom (such as Long Dan Xie Gan 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 Semiaquilegia Root Tuber (Tian Kui Zi) help with sores?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat sores and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat sores as a symptom (such as Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin for instance).

Semiaquilegia Root Tubers is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat, resolves toxicity, reduces swelling and disperses Stagnation

Read more about Semiaquilegia Root Tubers here

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with sores?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat sores and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat sores as a symptom (such as Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance).

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) help with sores?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat sores and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat sores as a symptom (such as Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance).

Chinese Gentian is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind.

Read more about Chinese Gentian here

Why might Honeysuckle Flower (Jin Yin Hua) help with sores?

Because it is a key herb in Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Toxic Heat' (a pattern with sores as a symptom)

Honeysuckle Flowers is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Dispels Wind-Heat derived from an External pathogen. Expels Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner. Relieves Carbuncles.

Read more about Honeysuckle Flowers here