Tingling of limbs according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Tingling of limbs

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, depression and scanty periods in the pattern “Blood Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record three 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 four 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 three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause tingling of limbs

In Chinese Medicine tingling of limbs is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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, depression and scanty periods.

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

Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu) is the king ingredient for Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a formula used for Phlegm in the Uterus

Phlegm in the Uterus

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

In addition to tingling of limbs, other symptoms associated with Phlegm in the Uterus include fatigue, chest fullness and sore and weak limbs.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm in the Uterus is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation.

Phlegm in the Uterus is often treated with Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Coco-Grass Rhizomes - Xiang Fu - as a key herb). Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Resolves Dampness and Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm in the Uterus 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, depression and scanty periods.

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

Four herbal formulas that might help with tingling of limbs

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 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 Si Wu Tang here

Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Nourishes the Heart. Calms the spirit.

Why might Ren Shen Yang Rong 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 Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang here

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with tingling of limbs?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm in the Uterus' of which tingling of limbs is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm in the Uterus can contribute to many health issues, including Absence Of Menstruation.

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi 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

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

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 Si Wu Tang or Ren Shen Zi Xie 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with tingling of limbs?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Shi Quan Da Bu Tang or Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

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 Si Wu Tang or Ren Shen Zi Xie 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with tingling of limbs?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger 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 Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with tingling of limbs?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tingling of limbs as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Conditions associated with tingling of limbs

Scanty menstruation Absence of menstruation