Tremor according to Chinese Medicine

Tremor 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 tremor 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 tremor is often associated with dizziness, convulsions and coma in the pattern “Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause tremor.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause tremor

In Chinese Medicine tremor 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.

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue color: Red

Liver Yang Rising can create Interior Wind if the condition is not treated for a long time. It can be divided to three categories based on the cause of the pattern: Liver Yin Deficiency, Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency or Liver Blood Deficiency.

In addition to tremor, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising include dizziness, convulsions and coma.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising 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 Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising 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 tremor, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat include dizziness, convulsions and coma.

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

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to tremor, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Blood Deficiency include dizziness, numbness in the limbs and headaches.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Blood Deficiency is often treated with E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Donkey-Hide Gelatin - E Jiao - as a key herb). E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang 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: "Nourishes Yin".

Read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Blood Deficiency here

Four herbal formulas that might help with tremor

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with tremor?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising' of which tremor is a symptom.

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

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin

Source date: 1958 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Calms the Liver. Extinguishes wind. Invigorates the blood. Clears heat. Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys.

Why might Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin help with tremor?

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

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

Read more about Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin here

E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang

Source date: the Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Liver. Extinguishes Wind.

Why might E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang help with tremor?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Blood Deficiency' of which tremor is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Blood Deficiency include dizziness, numbness in the limbs and headaches.

Read more about E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with tremor?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising' of which tremor is a symptom.

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

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat tremor

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with tremor?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tremor as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan for instance.

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Why might Gambir Stem And Thorn (Gou Teng) help with tremor?

Because Gambir Stem And Thorn is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tremor as a symptom, like Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin or E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang for instance.

Gambir Stems And Thorns is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Calms Liver Wind and relieves spasms. Clears Liver Heat and sedates Liver Yang.

Read more about Gambir Stems And Thorns here

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with tremor?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tremor as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with tremor?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tremor as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with tremor?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tremor as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan 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