Blood and Traditional Chinese Medical Theory
Blood is a fundamental substance in the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Blood nourishes and moistens the whole body, particularly the eyes and tendons. Many aging issues are due to Blood Deficiency such as hair loss because hair growth is dependent on the quality and abundance nourishing Blood. The Liver, Heart and Spleen organ systems are the most relevant systems related to Blood, but all of the organ systems according to Chinese medicine play a role in Blood production and distribution. Blood is a Yin substance.
Symptoms of Blood Deficiency
Signs of Blood Deficiency include dry skin, dizziness, withered skin, lusterless complexion, pale lips, a weak pulse, insomnia, tight muscles, inflexible joints, and thinning brittle hair. While anemia would be an indication of Blood Deficiency, a diagnosis of anemia is not necessary for Blood Deficiency to be present; in TCM, Blood Deficiency is an indication the nourishment from Blood is not abundant enough to nourish Organs so that they are able to function optimally. Consider Blood Mansion formula and Yin Valley formula.
Causes of Blood Deficiency
Causes of Blood Deficiency include blood loss due to trauma, surgery, or menstrual hemorrhaging, or a diminished blood production or decreased nourishing quality of the blood; this is often as a result of nutritional deficiencies. Blood Deficiency is typically due to a chronic nutritional deficiencies. Once Blood Deficiency develops in the body, it takes at least 6-8 months to reverse with tonic herbs and whole foods; it is a lengthy process.
Blood stagnation is another common condition of disharmony in the body and can lead to pain and Blood Deficiency, as Blood will not be produced in abundance when it is not moving. The Qi and Blood have an interdependent relationship because Qi moves the Blood, and Blood nourishes Qi production. Blood Stagnation is commonly associated with sharp or stabbing pain; a purplish complexion and tongue; poor circulation and numbness in extremities. Consider Blood Mansion formula.
Heart Blood Deficiency
In addition to the general Blood Deficient symptoms, Heart Blood Deficiency may be marked with palpitations, dream disturbed sleep, easy fright, lack of mental focus, and poor memory. Consider Blood Mansion formula.
Heart Blood Stagnation
Prolonged Heart Blood Deficiency and Qi Stagnation can result in serious, sometimes fatal disease patterns. This is a common pattern associated with heart disease or a heart attack.
Symptoms may include stabbing pain over heart, left arm pain, sensation of suffocation, and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms you should immediately call 911.
Liver Blood Deficiency
In addition to the general Blood Deficient symptoms, Liver Blood Deficient patterns might include ridged, brittle nails; dry eyes, eye floaters, blurred vision, or night blindness; irregular or scanty menstrual flow; irritability and frustration. Consider Blood Mansion formula and Free and Easy Wanderer formula.
Liver Blood Stagnation
Liver Blood Stagnation will often present with one or more of the following indications: sharp pain on sides and around ribs; headaches with fixed stabbing pain; painful, irregular periods with purple or brown blood; abdominal masses; enlarged Liver or Spleen. Consider Blood Mansion formula with Free and Easy Wanderer formula.
The Liver controls the menstrual Blood; stagnation of the Lower Jiao would be indicated with menstrual Blood that had clots, or is dark in color (brown-purple). Heavy menstrual bleeding and prolonged menstrual cycles can also be indications of Blood Stagnation. Consider Stasis in the Lower Palace formula with Free and Easy Wanderer formula.
Stomach Blood Stagnation
Indications: Severe, stabbing abdominal pain; stomach pain that is aggravated with pressure or heat; severe abdominal pain after eating. This condition will require professional medical attention, and you will want to consult a local licensed acupuncturist. Consider Restore the Middle Way formula, Blood Mansion formula, and Free and Easy Wanderer formula used together.
Spleen Failing to Control Blood
The Spleen is partially responsible for containing the Blood in the vessels. Symptoms of Spleen Qi Deficiency leading to the ‘Spleen not Governing Blood ‘ would include varicose veins, hemorrhoids, blood spots under skin, and excessive uterine bleeding. Consider Restore the Middle Way formula.
Blood Deficiency and Emotional Balance
The Essential Questions states, “The Liver receives the blood so there is sight; the legs receive blood and then have the ability to walk; the hands receive the blood and so have the ability to grip; the fingers receive blood and are then able to grasp." Blood also grounds the Shen, and Blood Deficiency can be a root cause of emotional disorders. Consider Blood Mansion formula together with Enlightened Emperor formula.
Reckless Blood Causing Bleeding
Heat in the Blood can develops due to virulent pathogens, infections, prolonged exposure to heat, chemotherapy or radiation, Liver-Fire, or prolonged Yin Deficiency. This type of bleeding would not be due to trauma; rather would include symptoms such as coughing up blood during a flu, nose bleeds, vomiting blood, or blood in the stool or urine. Most of these conditions would require emergency care or guidance from a local health care professional.
In a healthy body, white blood cells only survive a few weeks to months. Red blood cells survive about four months; they are then removed from the blood. Because these cells are central in the delivery of nutrients and the proper function of our immune response, it is vital to provide the body with the proper nourishment to reproduce blood cells.
Blood Silt or how in TCM there is no such thing as "Blood Stagnation"
Much is lost in translation in Chinese medicine; this is because westerners generally do not have the cultural knowledge of a foreign land or language understandably. The term Blood Stasis was taken from the term xue yu which is more accurately translated as "Blood Silt Disease". Silt is defined as fine sand, clay, or other sediment carried by running water and deposited as sediment, especially in a channel or river. You can imagine a patients' confusion when the acupuncturist explains that they have Blood Silt; they may ask how silt got into the Blood. Instead, it is meant to portray Blood that is less than optimal and therefore sluggish or impeded. Rather than trying to explain all of this to patients, the term of Blood Stagnation placates patients more easily and has taken hold.