Urinary tract infection according to Chinese Medicine

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Urinary tract infection 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 urinary tract infection 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 urinary tract infection is often associated with amenorrhea, fatigue and joint pain in the pattern “Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of urinary tract infection we’ve identified three 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 urinary tract infection.

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause urinary tract infection

In Chinese Medicine urinary tract infection is a symptom for the pattern "Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to urinary tract infection, other symptoms associated with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency include amenorrhea, fatigue and joint pain.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Vaginal Itching.

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency is often treated with Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Zuo Gui 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: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

Three herbal formulas that might help with urinary tract infection

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with urinary tract infection?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' of which urinary tract infection is a symptom.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan 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 urinary tract infection?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' of which urinary tract infection is a symptom.

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

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 urinary tract infection?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' of which urinary tract infection is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat urinary tract infection

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with urinary tract infection?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with urinary tract infection as a symptom)

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 Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) help with urinary tract infection?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with urinary tract infection as a symptom)

Goji Berries is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Yin of the Liver and Yin of the Kidneys. Brightens the eyes. Moistens the Lungs.

Read more about Goji Berries here

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with urinary tract infection?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with urinary tract infection as a symptom)

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 Yam (Shan Yao) help with urinary tract infection?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with urinary tract infection as a symptom)

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

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 Deer Antler Glue (Lu Jiao Jiao) help with urinary tract infection?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with urinary tract infection as a symptom)

Deer Antler Glue is a Warm herb that tastes Salty and Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Yang tonification of the Kidneys and Liver, and to nourish vital Essence and Blood

Read more about Deer Antler Glue here

Other symptoms often associated with urinary tract infection

Carbuncles Sores Oliguria Eczema Urinary difficulties Jaundice Irritability Edema Coughing Scanty urination