Vomiting of blood according to Chinese Medicine

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Vomiting of blood 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 vomiting of blood 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 vomiting of blood is often associated with epistaxis, abdominal pain and dark clots in menstrual blood in the pattern “Liver Blood Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause vomiting of blood.

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

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause vomiting of blood

In Chinese Medicine vomiting of blood is a symptom for 4 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 Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple sides

Liver Blood Stagnation usually develops from Qi Stagnation, Cold and Heat. It has great influence over the Directing and Penetrating Vessels and thus the menstruation functions.

In addition to vomiting of blood, other symptoms associated with Liver Blood Stagnation include epistaxis, abdominal pain and dark clots in menstrual blood.

Liver Blood Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Blood Stagnation here

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

Liver Fire Blazing

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

In addition to vomiting of blood, other symptoms associated with Liver Fire Blazing include epistaxis, dizziness and irritability.

Liver Fire Blazing 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 Liver Fire Blazing here

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire

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

In addition to vomiting of blood, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire include epistaxis, dizziness and irritability.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire 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 Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire here

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

Blood Stasis in the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

In addition to vomiting of blood, other symptoms associated with Blood Stasis in the Stomach include dislike of pressure on epigastric area and bloody stools.

Blood Stasis in the Stomach is often treated with Shi Xiao San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Cattail Pollen - Pu Huang - as a key herb). Shi Xiao San belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates Blood".

Read more about Blood Stasis in the Stomach here

Four herbal formulas that might help with vomiting of blood

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with vomiting of blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Blood Stagnation' of which vomiting of blood is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Blood Stagnation include epistaxis, abdominal pain and dark clots in menstrual blood.

Read more about Xiao Yao San 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 vomiting of blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' of which vomiting of blood is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Fire Blazing include epistaxis, dizziness and irritability.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan 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 vomiting of blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire' of which vomiting of blood is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Fire include epistaxis, dizziness and irritability.

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang here

Shi Xiao San

Source date: 1108 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Eases pain.

Why might Shi Xiao San help with vomiting of blood?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stasis in the Stomach' of which vomiting of blood is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stasis In The Stomach include dislike of pressure on epigastric area and bloody stools.

Read more about Shi Xiao San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat vomiting of blood

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with vomiting of blood?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vomiting of blood as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Xiao Yao San 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

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with vomiting of blood?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vomiting of blood as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Dang Gui Long Hui Wan for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with vomiting of blood?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vomiting of blood as a symptom, like Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with vomiting of blood?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vomiting of blood as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here

Why might Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) help with vomiting of blood?

Because Flying Squirrel Faeces is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat vomiting of blood as a symptom, like Shi Xiao San or Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang for instance.

Flying Squirrel Faeces is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Disperses congealed Blood in the lower abdomen and uterus and relieves pain. Promotes childhood nutrition with Cold Stagnation and focal abdominal swelling.

Read more about Flying Squirrel Faeces here