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 dizziness, scanty periods and fatigue in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”. 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 Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include dizziness, scanty periods and fatigue.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba 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: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

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

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 Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat 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 fatigue.

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

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

Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel

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

Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to vaginal discharge, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel include insomnia, restlessness and dark urine.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel is associated with health issues such as Vaginal Itching.

Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel 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, loose stools and diarrhea.

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

Five herbal formulas that might help with vaginal discharge

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with vaginal discharge?

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

According to Chinese Medicine, Kidney Yang Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Late Menstruation.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San 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 Ba Zheng San 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

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 in the Liver Channel' of which vaginal discharge is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel can contribute to many health issues, including Vaginal Itching.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

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

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 Ba Wei 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 Schisandra Berry (Wu Wei Zi) 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 Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan for instance).

Schisandra Berries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Kidneys and preserves the Essence. Astringes the Lung Qi and stops coughing. Retains Bodily Fluids and encourages their production. Tonifies the Heart and calms the spirit (Shen).

Read more about Schisandra Berries here

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Wu Ling San 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with vaginal discharge?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom, like Zhen Wu Tang or Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with vaginal discharge?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vaginal discharge as a symptom, like Xiong Gui Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

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

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