Weak legs according to Chinese Medicine

Weak legs 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 weak legs 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 weak legs is often associated with lower back pain, cold and weak knees and feeling of cold in the pattern “Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause weak legs.

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

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause weak legs

In Chinese Medicine weak legs 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.

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

Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

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

In addition to weak legs, other symptoms associated with Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, cold and weak knees and feeling of cold.

Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency is often treated with Li Zhong Wan, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Dried Ginger - Gan Jiang - as a key herb). Li Zhong Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the Middle Burner".

Read more about Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency here

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 weak legs, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, cold and weak knees and feeling of cold.

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

Five herbal formulas that might help with weak legs

Li Zhong Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Middle Burner. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Li Zhong Wan help with weak legs?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency' of which weak legs is a symptom.

Read more about Li Zhong Wan here

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 weak legs?

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

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Why might You Gui Wan help with weak legs?

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

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Why might Er Xian Tang help with weak legs?

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

Read more about Er Xian Tang here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with weak legs?

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

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

Acupuncture points used for weak legs

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat weak legs

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with weak legs?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat weak legs as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi 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 Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with weak legs?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat weak legs as a symptom, like Er Xian Tang or You Gui Wan for instance.

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

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 Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) help with weak legs?

Because Goji Berry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat weak legs as a symptom, like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or You Gui Wan for instance.

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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with weak legs?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat weak legs as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

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 Yam (Shan Yao) help with weak legs?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat weak legs as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

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