Tongue ulcers according to Chinese Medicine

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Tongue ulcers 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 tongue ulcers 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 tongue ulcers is often associated with mouth ulcers, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep in the pattern “Heart Fire blazing”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of tongue ulcers we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Xie Xin Tang can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Heart Fire blazing, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause tongue ulcers

In Chinese Medicine tongue ulcers is a symptom for the pattern "Heart Fire blazing". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Heart Fire blazing

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi), Hasty (Cu)

In addition to tongue ulcers, other symptoms associated with Heart Fire blazing include mouth ulcers, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep.

Heart Fire blazing is often treated with Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Xie Xin Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Fire".

Read more about Heart Fire blazing here

A herbal formula that might help with tongue ulcers

Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxicity. Dries Dampness.

Why might Xie Xin Tang help with tongue ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Fire blazing' of which tongue ulcers is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heart Fire Blazing include mouth ulcers, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep.

Read more about Xie Xin Tang here

The two Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat tongue ulcers

Why might Rhubarb (Da Huang) help with tongue ulcers?

Because it is a key herb in Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Heart Fire blazing' (a pattern with tongue ulcers as a symptom)

Rhubarb is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis.

Read more about Rhubarb here

Why might Common Rush (Deng Xin Cao) help with tongue ulcers?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat tongue ulcers as can be seen on Common Rush's page.

Common Rush is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Diuretic, promotes urination. Clears urinary tract infections.

Read more about Common Rush here