Tingling of limbs according to Chinese Medicine

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Tingling of limbs 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 tingling of limbs 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 tingling of limbs is often associated with dizziness, scanty periods and insomnia in the pattern “Liver Blood Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause tingling of limbs.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of tingling of limbs 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 tingling of limbs.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause tingling of limbs

In Chinese Medicine tingling of limbs 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.

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

Liver Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

The Liver stores Blood, that is the reason any Blood Deficiency often involves the Liver. This pattern has an impact on areas the Liver relates to, such as the tendons, eyes, nails and menstruation. It arises from the same causes of general Blood Deficiency, such as poor diet, hemorrhages or Kidney Qi or Essence Deficiency.

In addition to tingling of limbs, other symptoms associated with Liver Blood Deficiency include dizziness, scanty periods and insomnia.

Liver Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu 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: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Liver Blood Deficiency here

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Si Wu Tang, a formula used for Blood Deficiency

Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Someone has a Deficiency of Blood when their entire body, a part of body or a particular Organ is insufficiently nourished by Blood.

This can be caused by blood-loss, a lack of of Spleen Qi (responsible to produce Blood) or congealed Blood which prevents new Blood from forming.

In addition to tingling of limbs, other symptoms associated with Blood Deficiency include dizziness, scanty periods and insomnia.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu 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: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Blood Deficiency here

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Blood Stagnation

Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian), Firm (Lao)

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Blood Stagnation, like the name indicates, is when Blood flow becomes Stagnant. It can happen in the whole body or in specific Organs.

It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the body.

In addition to tingling of limbs, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation include dizziness, scanty periods and abdominal pain.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Scanty Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Blood Stagnation is often treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Tao He Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dispels Heat and".

Read more about Blood Stagnation here

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Stiff

The invasion of Exterior Wind-Heat leads to this pattern and it then transforms to Interior Wind and Heat.

In addition to tingling of limbs, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat include dizziness, coma and convulsions.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat is often treated with Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Gastrodia Rhizomes - Tian Ma - as a key herb). Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Calms the Liver".

Read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat 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 tingling of limbs, other symptoms associated with Blood and Qi Deficiency include dizziness, scanty periods and insomnia.

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 tingling of limbs

Bu Gan Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and regulates the Blood. Nourishes the Liver Yin.

Why might Bu Gan Tang help with tingling of limbs?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Blood Deficiency' of which tingling of limbs is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Blood Deficiency include dizziness, scanty periods and insomnia.

Read more about Bu Gan Tang here

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 tingling of limbs?

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

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood and Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Absence Of Menstruation.

Read more about Sheng Yu Tang here

Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang

Source date: 1602 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Blood.

Why might Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang help with tingling of limbs?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Deficiency' of which tingling of limbs is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Scanty Menstruation.

Read more about Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang here

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Why might Si Wu Tang help with tingling of limbs?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which tingling of limbs is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Blood Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Scanty Menstruation.

Read more about Si Wu Tang here

Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang

Source date: Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Cools the Liver. Extinguishes Wind. Increases Fluids. Relaxes the sinews.

Why might Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang help with tingling of limbs?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat' of which tingling of limbs is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Extreme Heat include dizziness, coma and convulsions.

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat tingling of limbs

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with tingling of limbs?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Bu Gan Tang or Sheng Yu 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 tingling of limbs?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang or Si Wu 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with tingling of limbs?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Bu Gan Tang or E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang 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 Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with tingling of limbs?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Ren Shen Zi Xie Tang or Si Wu Tang 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 tingling of limbs?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang or Shi Quan Da Bu 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

Conditions associated with tingling of limbs

Scanty menstruation Absence of menstruation