Twitching according to Chinese Medicine

twitching in the extremities and twitching of limbs redirect here

Twitching 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 twitching 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 twitching is often associated with low-grade fever, weight loss and malar flush in the pattern “Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause twitching.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of twitching we’ve identified two 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 twitching.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause twitching

In Chinese Medicine twitching is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

In addition to twitching, other symptoms associated with Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior include low-grade fever, weight loss and malar flush.

Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior is often treated with Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Achyranthes Roots - Niu Xi - as a key herb). Zhen Gan Xi Feng 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: "Sedates the Liver".

Read more about Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior here

Heat victorious stirring Wind

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

In addition to twitching, other symptoms associated with Heat victorious stirring Wind include high fever, fainting and convulsions.

Heat victorious stirring Wind is often treated with Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Saiga Antelope's Horns - Ling Yang Jiao - as a key herb). Ling Jiao Gou Teng 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: "Cools the Liver".

Read more about Heat victorious stirring Wind here

Two herbal formulas that might help with twitching

Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang

Source date: 1918 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Sedates the Liver. Axtinguishes Wind. Nourishes the Yin. Anchors the yang.

Why might Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang help with twitching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Empty-Wind agitating in the Interior' of which twitching of limbs is a symptom.

Read more about Zhen Gan Xi Feng 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 twitching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat victorious stirring Wind' of which twitching of limbs is a symptom.

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat twitching

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with twitching?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat twitching as a symptom, like E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang or Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with twitching?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat twitching as a symptom, like Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang or Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang for instance.

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

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 Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with twitching?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat twitching 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 Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) help with twitching?

Because Prepared Aconite is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat twitching as a symptom, like Da Huang Fu Zi Tang or Zhen Wu Tang for instance.

Prepared Aconite is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Raises the collapse of Yang. Warms the meridians and relieves pain caused by Cold. Reduces Damp caused by Deficiency in Yang.

Read more about Prepared Aconite here

Why might Abalone Shell (Shi Jue Ming) help with twitching?

Because Abalone Shell is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat twitching as a symptom, like Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin or E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang for instance.

Abalone Shells is a Cold herb that tastes Salty. It targets the Kidney, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms ascending Liver Yang. Clears Liver Heat that is obstructing the vision.

Read more about Abalone Shells here