Thin and watery periods according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Thin and watery periods

Thin and watery periods 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 thin and watery periods 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 thin and watery periods is often associated with scanty periods, dizziness and feeling of heat in the pattern “Heat in the Blood”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause thin and watery periods.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of thin and watery periods 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 thin and watery periods.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause thin and watery periods

In Chinese Medicine thin and watery periods is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for Heat in the Blood

Heat in the Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue color: Red

Heat in the Blood (or Blood-Heat) refers to a condition whereby Heat, as a so-called "Pernicious Influence", entered the Blood. This invasion tends to accelerate Blood flow (leading to a faster pulse) and to manifest itself in various types of bleeding as well as other symptoms.

In addition to thin and watery periods, other symptoms associated with Heat in the Blood include scanty periods, dizziness and feeling of heat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heat in the Blood is associated with health issues such as Early Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Heat in the Blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Heat in the Blood here

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the king ingredient for Si Jun Zi Tang, a formula used for Qi Deficiency

Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Qi Deficiency simply means lack of Qi. It includes the lack of Original Qi, Nutritive Qi, Defensive Qi or the Qi that resides in Organs or Channels. It mainly manifests itself in a weakened function of Organs and a declining ability of the body to resist diseases.

In addition to thin and watery periods, other symptoms associated with Qi Deficiency include dizziness, cold limbs and weak knees.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Qi Deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Qi Deficiency here

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Cracked

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can be caused by prolonged overwork, excessive sexual activity, chronic long term illnesses, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Kidney Yang tonics herbs, smoking and Kidney depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juices.

In addition to thin and watery periods, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yin Deficiency include scanty periods, dizziness and feeling of heat.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Menopausal Syndrome, Prolonged Periods or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yin Deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo), Floating (Fu)

Tongue color: Pale, Red

In addition to thin and watery periods, other symptoms associated with Kidney Deficiency include dizziness, restlessness and sore back.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

Kidney Deficiency is often treated with You Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). You Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm yang and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang".

Read more about Kidney Deficiency here

Dong Quai (Dang Gui) is the king ingredient for Sheng Yu Tang, a formula used for Blood and Qi Deficiency

Blood and Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to thin and watery periods, other symptoms associated with Blood and Qi Deficiency include scanty periods, dizziness and sore back.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood and Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Menstrual Cramps or Absence Of Menstruation.

Blood and Qi Deficiency is often treated with Sheng Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Dong Quai - Dang Gui - as a key herb). Sheng Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi and Blood".

Read more about Blood and Qi Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with thin and watery periods

Sheng Yu Tang

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Preserves the Blood.

Why might Sheng Yu Tang help with thin and watery periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood and Qi Deficiency' of which thin and watery periods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood and Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Menstrual Cramps.

Read more about Sheng Yu Tang here

Di Gu Pi Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Stops bleeding.

Why might Di Gu Pi Yin help with thin and watery periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat in the Blood' of which thin and watery periods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heat in the Blood can contribute to many health issues, including Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

Read more about Di Gu Pi Yin here

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with thin and watery periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi Deficiency' of which thin and watery periods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with thin and watery periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Deficiency' of which thin and watery periods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Kidney Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Liang Di Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Cools Blood. Stop bleeding.

Why might Liang Di Tang help with thin and watery periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' of which thin and watery periods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Kidney Yin Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Irregular Menstruation.

Read more about Liang Di Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat thin and watery periods

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with thin and watery periods?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat thin and watery periods as a symptom, like Sheng Yu Tang or Di Gu Pi Yin for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with thin and watery periods?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat thin and watery periods as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Gu Ben Zhi Beng Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with thin and watery periods?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat thin and watery periods as a symptom, like Zuo Gui Wan or Ba Zhen Yi Mu Tang for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with thin and watery periods?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat thin and watery periods as a symptom, like Qing Jing San or Liang Di Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with thin and watery periods?

Because Milkvetch Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat thin and watery periods as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Gu Ben Zhi Beng Tang for instance.

Milkvetch Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Wei Qi and stops perspiration. Tonifies the Spleen Qi and the Yang Qi of the Earth Element. Tonifies the Qi and Blood. Expels pus and assists in the healing of wounds. Helps to regulate water metabolism in the body and reduce edema.

Read more about Milkvetch Roots here