The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Swelling gums 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 swelling gums 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 swelling gums is often associated with dry mouth, dry throat and irritability in the pattern “Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause swelling gums.
Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of swelling gums we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.
We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat swelling gums.
In Chinese Medicine swelling gums 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 Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red centre
Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst and gum bleeding. Stomach Fire can be the result of excessive intake of hot, spicy, greasy and deep fried foods or other factors such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar.
Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat is often treated with Qing Wei San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Qing Wei San 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: "Drains Stomach Fire".
Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)
Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating
Tongue shape: Swollen
The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.
Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".
Source date: 1624 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Key actions: Drains Heat from the Stomach. Nourishes Yin.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' of which swelling gums is a symptom.
Source date: 1174 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which swelling gums is a symptom.
Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.
Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.
Its main actions are: Clears Heat and drains Fire. Clears Lung Heat. Relieves thirst and restlessness. Clears Stomach Heat.