Herbs For Rheumatoid Arthritis Arthritis in TCM
In traditional Chinese medicine, the condition that is congruent with arthritis is called “Bi syndrome.” Bi syndrome manifests as pain, soreness, or numbness of muscles, tendons and joints, and is the result of the body being “invaded” by the external climatological factors of Wind, Cold, Heat, and/or Dampness. The symptoms manifested by the individual depend on which external pathogenic factor is strongest. The four main patterns of Bi syndrome are differentiated below, and the leading herbs that are used to treat each pattern are listed.
In the West, anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly prescribed for arthritis. In the East, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, with their thousand-year-old history, are the major health care modalities used to fight joint and musculo-skeletal disorders including arthritis. These ancient therapies are still used because they are empirically effective, and have stood the test of time. Now they are standing to meet the tests of Western medicine.
TCM typically does not make a diagnostic distinction between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Instead, it makes a diagnostic distinction based on the predominance of Wind, Cold, Damp, or Heat symptoms. While many of these pathogenic factors usually are found togetherWind is said to carry the others into the bodyeach has a separate set of symptoms, with one factor playing a primary role. Diagnoses of secondary manifestations of conditions such as Blood Stasis and Phlegm are based on symptoms as well. Bone Bi may be differentiated into the following categories:
Wind Bi: Wind predominates when a patient exhibits pain that begins and ends rapidly, limits the range of comfortable movement, and moves among different parts of the body. Windy weather can make the symptoms worse. Such patients also may have an aversion to wind, have a floating pulse, and a normally colored tongue with a thin, white coating. Because this type of Bi moves from area to area, it is also known as “Wandering Bi.”
Herbs For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cold Bi: Cold predominates when the pain is severe, limits the range of comfortable movement, and has fixed locations. Cold temperatures worsen the condition, and warmth improves it. A patient suffering from Cold Bi may have an aversion to cold, his or her pulse may be tight, and the tongue may have a white coating. Because this type of Bi usually results in severe pain, it is also known as “Painful Bi.”
Damp Bi: Damp predominates when the pain is characterized by soreness, limits the range of comfortable movement, and is accompanied by feelings of heaviness and sometimes numbness. While many areas of the body may be affected, the pain tends to remain in those places. Dampness worsens the condition and there may be swelling in the affected areas.
These patients usually have an aversion to damp weather. Their pulse may be slippery and their tongue may have a greasy
coating. Because this type of Bi is characterized by fixed areas of pain and sensations of heaviness, it is also known as “Fixed Bi.”
Heat Bi: Heat predominates when a Wind-Cold-Damp syndrome results in a greatly reduced flow of Qi and Blood through a joint, causing constraint. Constraint
in TCM theory can cause Heat. Heat Bi is characterized by inflamed, red, swollen joints. The tongue may be red with a yellow coating, and the pulse may be rapid.
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