Swellings according to Chinese Medicine

Swellings 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 swellings 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 swellings is often associated with sores, carbuncles and boils in the pattern “Toxic Heat”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of swellings we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Toxic Heat, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause swellings

In Chinese Medicine swellings is a symptom for the pattern "Toxic Heat". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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 swellings, other symptoms associated with Toxic Heat include sores, carbuncles and boils.

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

A herbal formula that might help with swellings

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 swellings?

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

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

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat swellings

Why might Semiaquilegia Root Tuber (Tian Kui Zi) help with swellings?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat swellings and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat swellings 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 Honeysuckle Flower (Jin Yin Hua) help with swellings?

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 swellings 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

Why might Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) help with swellings?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat swellings as can be seen on Japanese Catnip's page.

Japanese Catnip is a Neutral herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold or Heat depending on the other herbs used. Releases the Exterior for measles. Stops bleeding. Abates swellings.

Read more about Japanese Catnip here

Why might Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) help with swellings?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat swellings as can be seen on Phellodendron Bark's page.

Phellodendron Bark is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Bladder, the Kidney and the Large intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner. Clears Kidney Yin Deficient Heat. Applied externally or toxic Fire, especially associated with Dampness.

Read more about Phellodendron Bark here

Why might Mirabilite (Mang Xiao) help with swellings?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat swellings as can be seen on Mirabilite's page.

Mirabilites is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Salty. It targets the Stomach and the Large intestine.

Its main actions are: Purges Stagnation in the Intestines caused by Heat and Dryness, Cools Heat and abates swelling

Read more about Mirabilites here