Swollen neck glands according to Chinese Medicine

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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 three 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

Three 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.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat include aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San 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.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Wind include aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness.

Read more about Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang 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.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat include aversion to cold, fever and feeling of heaviness.

Read more about Lian Po Yin here

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

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San or Lian Po Yin for instance.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Yin Chen Hao Tang or Lian Po Yin 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 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 Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San for instance.

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 Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with swollen neck glands?

Because Houpu Magnolia Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat swollen neck glands as a symptom, like Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San or Lian Po Yin for instance.

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here

Why might Notopterygium Root (Qiang Huo) help with swollen neck glands?

Because it is a key herb in Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' (a pattern with swollen neck glands as a symptom)

Notopterygium Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold and Dampness. Relieves Wind-Damp-Cold painful obstruction. Directs Qi to the Greater Yang (Tai Yang) channel and the Governing Vessel.

Read more about Notopterygium Roots here