Swollen neck glands according to Chinese Medicine

Swollen neck glands 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 swollen neck glands 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 swollen neck glands is often associated with aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness in the pattern “Damp-Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause swollen neck glands.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of swollen neck glands we’ve identified five 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 swollen neck glands.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause swollen neck glands

In Chinese Medicine swollen neck glands 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.

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

In addition to swollen neck glands, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat include aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness.

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 Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo) is the king ingredient for Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a formula used for Damp-Wind

Damp-Wind

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Floating (Fu)

In addition to swollen neck glands, other symptoms associated with Damp-Wind include aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness.

Damp-Wind is often treated with Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Notopterygium Roots - Qiang Huo - as a key herb). Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel wind-damp", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels wind and dampness".

Read more about Damp-Wind here

Five herbal formulas that might help with swollen neck glands

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San help with swollen neck glands?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which swollen neck glands is a symptom.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San here

Lian Po Yin

Source date: 1862 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Lian Po Yin help with swollen neck glands?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which swollen neck glands is a symptom.

Read more about Lian Po Yin here

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Why might Yin Chen Hao Tang help with swollen neck glands?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which swollen neck glands is a symptom.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao Tang here

Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan

Source date: 1831 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Resolves Dampness and transforms turbidity. Clears Heat and resolves Toxicity .

Why might Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan help with swollen neck glands?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which swollen neck glands is a symptom.

Read more about Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan here

Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang

Source date: 1247 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Expels wind and dampness.

Why might Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang help with swollen neck glands?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which swollen neck glands is a symptom.

Read more about Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang here

Acupuncture points used for swollen neck glands

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat swollen neck glands

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang or Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

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 Angelica Root (Bai Zhi) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Angelica Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Hai Tong Pi Tang or Cang Er Zi San for instance.

Angelica Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind. Disperses Wind and Cold from the Yang Brightness channels. Relieves Wind-Damp Cold painful obstruction. Dries Dampness and pus and reduces swelling. Opens the nasal passages.

Read more about Angelica Roots here

Why might Saposhnikovia Root (Fang Feng) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Saposhnikovia Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang or Xiao Feng San for instance.

Saposhnikovia Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Bladder, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Relieves Wind-Damp-Cold painful obstruction. Disperses Wind.

Read more about Saposhnikovia Roots here

Why might Sweetflag Rhizome (Shi Chang Pu) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Sweetflag Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Lian Po Yin or Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan for instance.

Sweetflag Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Opens the Orifices, awakens the Mind (Shen) and expels Wind-Damp Phlegm. Harmonizes the Earth element and dispels Damp. Applied internally or externally for Wind-Cold-Damp painful obstruction.

Read more about Sweetflag Rhizomes here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang or Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang 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