Vaginal discharge according to Chinese Medicine

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Vaginal discharge 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 vaginal discharge 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 vaginal discharge is often associated with back pain, frequent urination and premature ejaculation in the pattern “Kidney Qi not Firm”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause vaginal discharge.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause vaginal discharge

In Chinese Medicine vaginal discharge is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Kidney Qi not Firm

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Kidney Qi not Firm means Kidney Qi Deficiency. Two characteristics are typical in this pattern. Firstly, it is a type of Kidney Yang Deficiency with the associated Cold symptoms. Secondly, it is a type of sinking of Kidneys Qi, thus with many ‘leaking’ downwards symptoms.

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Kidney Qi not Firm include back pain, frequent urination and premature ejaculation.

Kidney Qi not Firm is often treated with You Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). You Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm yang and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang".

Read more about Kidney Qi not Firm here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include dizziness, scanty periods and palpitations.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang 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: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm here

Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) is the king ingredient for Er Miao San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat include dizziness, fatigue and late period.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Damp-Heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Damp-Heat is often treated with Er Miao San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Phellodendron Bark - Huang Bo - as a key herb). Er Miao San belongs to the category of "formulas that expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels Dampness from the Lower Burner".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

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

Spleen Deficiency with Dampness

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Spleen Deficiency with Dampness include insomnia, diarrhea and loose stools.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen Deficiency with Dampness is associated with health issues such as Vaginal Itching.

Spleen Deficiency with Dampness is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Spleen Deficiency with Dampness here

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

Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Tooth-marked, Swollen

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency include dizziness, palpitations and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Intermenstrual Bleeding.

Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Zhen Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). Zhen Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm and transform water and dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies the Yang and Qi of the Spleen and Kidneys".

Read more about Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with vaginal discharge

Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Stabilizes the Kidneys. Binds up the semen.

Why might Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which vaginal discharge is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Qi Not Firm include back pain, frequent urination and premature ejaculation.

Read more about Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which vaginal discharge is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Damp-Heat can contribute to many health issues, including Intermenstrual Bleeding.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1575 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Resolves Damp-Phlegm. Nourishes Blood.

Why might Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which vaginal discharge is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Scanty Menstruation.

Read more about Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen Deficiency with Dampness' of which vaginal discharge is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen Deficiency with Dampness can contribute to many health issues, including Vaginal Itching.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

Zhen Wu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies the Yang and Qi of the Spleen and Kidneys. Eliminates Dampness.

Why might Zhen Wu Tang help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which vaginal discharge is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Intermenstrual Bleeding.

Read more about Zhen Wu Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat vaginal discharge

Why might Dragon Bone (Long Gu) help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat vaginal discharge and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom (such as Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan for instance).

Dragon Bones is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Calms the spirit. Anchors ascendant Liver Yang. Stops leakage of Bodily Fluids.

Read more about Dragon Bones here

Why might Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat vaginal discharge and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom (such as Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance).

Chinese Gentian is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind.

Read more about Chinese Gentian here

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat vaginal discharge and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom (such as You Gui 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 Foxnut Seed (Qian Shi) help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat vaginal discharge and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom (such as Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan for instance).

Foxnut Seeds is a Neutral herb that tastes Sour and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and stops diarrhea. Strengthens the Kidneys and restrains Essence. Dispels Dampness and relieves leukorrhea.

Read more about Foxnut Seeds here

Why might Oyster Shell (Mu Li Ke) help with vaginal discharge?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat vaginal discharge and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom (such as Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan for instance).

Oyster Shells is a Cold herb that tastes Salty. It targets the Bladder, the Gallbladder, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Calms and anchors the spirit. Moistens Dryness. Softens and removes lumps. Nourish the Yin and subdues the overflowing of the Yang,

Read more about Oyster Shells here