Yellow eyes according to Chinese Medicine

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Yellow eyes 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 yellow eyes 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 yellow eyes is often associated with feeling of heaviness, dull-yellow complexion and inability to digest fats in the pattern “Dampness in the Gallbladder”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause yellow eyes.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause yellow eyes

In Chinese Medicine yellow eyes is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Dampness in the Gallbladder

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

In addition to yellow eyes, other symptoms associated with Dampness in the Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, dull-yellow complexion and inability to digest fats.

Dampness in the Gallbladder is often treated with San Ren Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Apricot Seeds - Xing Ren - as a key herb). San Ren Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Damp-Heat".

Read more about Dampness in the Gallbladder here

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

Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder

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

In addition to yellow eyes, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, inability to digest fats and scanty and dark urine.

Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder is often treated with Yin Chen Hao Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Virgate Wormwood - Yin Chen - as a key herb). Yin Chen Hao Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears heat".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder here

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

Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

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

In addition to yellow eyes, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat invading the Spleen include feeling of heaviness, dull-yellow complexion and scanty and dark urine.

Damp-Heat invading the Spleen is often treated with Lian Po Yin, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Lian Po Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat".

Read more about Damp-Heat invading the Spleen here

Three herbal formulas that might help with yellow eyes

San Ren Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Damp-Heat. Disseminates the Qi. Facilitates the Qi mechanisms.

Why might San Ren Tang help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' of which yellow eyes is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Dampness In The Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, dull-yellow complexion and inability to digest fats.

Read more about San Ren Tang here

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Why might Yin Chen Hao Tang help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder' of which yellow eyes is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, inability to digest fats and scanty and dark urine.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao Tang here

Lian Po Yin

Source date: 1862 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Lian Po Yin help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat invading the Spleen' of which yellow eyes is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat Invading The Spleen include feeling of heaviness, dull-yellow complexion and scanty and dark urine.

Read more about Lian Po Yin here

Acupuncture points used for yellow eyes

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat yellow eyes

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with yellow eyes?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat yellow eyes as a symptom, like Yin Chen Hao Tang or Lian Po Yin for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Cardamon Fruit (Bai Dou Kou) help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a key herb in San Ren Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with yellow eyes as a symptom)

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

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and transforms Dampness. Invigorates Qi to remove Stomach and Spleen Qi Stagnation due to Dampness. Encourages appetite. Settles a restless fetus, stops morning sickness and prevents miscarriage. Used with tonifying herbs to prevent cloying and Stagnation.

Read more about Cardamon Fruits here

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a key herb in Lian Po Yin, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat invading the Spleen' (a pattern with yellow eyes as a symptom)

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Liver, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here

Why might Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen) help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a key herb in Yin Chen Hao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with yellow eyes as a symptom)

Virgate Wormwood is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Drains Damp and clears Heat, especially from the Liver and Gallbladder. Eliminates Heat and relieves the Exterior. Relieve Jaundice.

Read more about Virgate Wormwood here

Why might Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) help with yellow eyes?

Because it is a key herb in San Ren Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with yellow eyes as a symptom)

Apricot Seeds is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Stops cough and wheezing caused by either Heat or Cold. Lubricates the Intestines and relieves constipation.

Read more about Apricot Seeds here