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Best Chinese Herbs for Inflammation

When pain, infections, or chronic diseases start to interfere with your daily life, it’s time to try Chinese herbs for inflammation.

Inflammation is at the root of many health issues. While inflammation is meant to help the body overcome illness and fight disease, too much inflammation can harm the body and prevent healing. 

Here you’ll learn how Chinese herbal medicine reduces inflammation naturally, and how you can use different herbal formulas to address the inflammatory issues that are holding you back. 

How Does Chinese Herbal Medicine Reduce Inflammation?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, inflammation is a symptom that has many root causes – and potential side effects. There is no one type of person who struggles with inflammation. Instead, it can be the result of various imbalances in the body. Here are the most common pattern imbalances related to Chinese medicine and inflammation:

  • Excess Heat
    In an excess heat condition, there is too much yang (or heat) energy. This causes widespread inflammation and usually comes with other symptoms of heat (like fevers, red face, sharp pain, loud voice, increased appetite, hot skin, and higher energy).
  • Yin-Deficiency Heat
    In yin-deficiency heat inflammation, there is not enough cooling yin to balance what should be a normal amount of yang energy. As a result, inflammation still occurs, but with different root causes and symptoms. Inflammation from yin-deficiency heat tends to be less severe, such as low-grade fevers, fatigue, red cheeks, dryness, thirst, and constipation.
  • Damp-Heat
    Dampness is often the result of a heavy or greasy diet, overwork, living in a damp environment, or a constitutional tendency to fluid retention. Damp-heat occurs when fluids accumulate in the body and stagnate, creating heat. Symptoms of damp-heat type inflammation include swollen painful joints, excessive sweating, skin eruptions, bloating, loose foul stools, turbid urine, and yellow vaginal discharge.
  • Qi Stagnation
    Inflammation can also result from a qi stagnation constitution or stagnation that resulted from another disorder or imbalance. When qi stagnates, it creates a lack of energy in one area and a build-up of energy and friction in another. Like rubber burning on the pavement when you’re spinning your wheels, this creates heat and inflammation. Qi stagnation inflammation symptoms include other signs of stagnation, like tension, irritability, redness, pain, headaches, poor movement, and emotional stress. 

The Biomedicine View of Chinese Herbs and Inflammation 

While Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors have been using herbs to clear inflammation (and the damage caused by it) for thousands of years, modern research is just starting to understand the anti-inflammatory power of herbal medicine.

According to researchers, 11 commonly-used Chinese herbs have an “ability to affect multiple target signaling pathways and their potential mechanisms of action contributing to their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity may be related to their action of removing heat and counteracting toxicity.”

Other studies show that Chinese herbal medicine can effectively reduce inflammation and moderate the immune response in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, eczema, cirrhosis and fatty liver disease, and more. 

Chinese Medicine and Chinese Teas for Inflammation

Along with treating the underlying causes of inflammation, Chinese herbal medicine and medicinal teas can also help target inflammation in certain areas, for certain issues. Of course, in all cases, it is still important to consider the other symptoms and the root cause of the inflammation to choose the best formula for you. 

Chinese Medicine for Sinus Inflammation 

Sinus infections and sinusitis can be incredibly frustrating to treat. Chinese herbal medicine offers several different natural sinus remedies that fight inflammation.

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Chuan Lin Xian Pian (Andrographis Tablets) is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral formula that has a strong cooling effect on toxic heat throughout the body. This is a good choice for those with severe symptoms and excess heat.

Ban Lan Gen Extract (Isatis) extract can also be used, but also only for acute infections. Be sure to restore your gut bacteria afterward as these both have antimicrobial effects!

Xin Yi Wan is a more gentle formula that is a better choice for those with chronic sinus infections, sinus headaches, clear or white mucus, and no heat or fever. 

Chinese Medicine for Stomach Inflammation 

Stomach inflammation can occur after eating or drinking something that doesn’t agree with you. But, it can also happen over a lifestyle of eating processed foods, spicy foods, alcohol, smoking, or simply overeating.

To reduce Stomach inflammation, a healthier anti-inflammatory diet is essential. To help ease the symptoms in a pinch, use Culing Wan. These tiny pills can quickly ease nausea, vomiting, belching, diarrhea, gas, or other symptoms of overeating, food poisoning, or a hangover. 

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Slippery Elm tincture is a simple one-herb formula that can be used for a range of GI inflammatory conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, UTIs, hemorrhoids, and IBS.

For more upper gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux, stomach ulcers, or gastritis, try Wei You Pian instead. 

Chinese Medicine for Bladder Inflammation

Bladder and urinary tract infections are usually treated with antibiotics. But if you struggle with chronic infections, a Chinese herbal formula can help you address the root cause to stop the cycle.

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Ba Zheng San Tincture is the go-to formula for bladder infections or UTIs with burning, painful urination, dark urine, and a heavy feeling in the abdomen.

Chinese Medicine for Prostate Inflammation 

Prostate inflammation (prostatitis) is common in men after 40. To help reduce the side effects (like frequent urination, poor sexual performance, and prostate cancer), use Chinese herbal medicine to reduce prostate inflammation naturally.

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Chinese Medicine for Pain Inflammation, Joint Inflammation, and Arthritis

Inflammation and pain go hand in hand. Inflammation causes pain and prevents full recovery, while pain conditions generate even more inflammation in the body. To help, Chinese herbs can both reduce pain and clear away inflammation to stop the vicious cycle and help your tissues finally heal.

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For cases of strong inflammation with burning or sharp pain, heat, and redness, try a powerfully cooling formula like Qi Ye Lian Tablets.

For more yin-deficient type pain with mild burning sensation and weakness, a more restorative anti-inflammatory formula like Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang is better. This formula is great for lower back pain and knee pain conditions that tend to be more chronic in nature.

It is also important to manage the immune response to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune inflammatory conditions, as this helps prevent inflammation from returning. Try a formula like China Tung Hsueh Pills.

Fight Inflammation Naturally with Chinese Herbs

We need inflammation to help us fight infections and pathogens. But when inflammation gets out of hand, we need a natural way to bring the body back to a healthy balance. Chinese herbal medicine can help. 

Shop these and other anti-inflammatory Chinese herbs to get long-term relief from inflammation today! 

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About the Author

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kate Downes is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for herbal medicine. In fact, it was her love for plant and earth medicine that first drew her to study Chinese medicine.

Kate has a MSAOM (Master of Science, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) certification and practiced acupuncture in Indianapolis, IN for five years before packing her bags to roam the world. In order to stay in touch with the wellness community and continue to help others thrive with herbal medicine, she transformed her work from face-to-face patient care to spreading wellness through words. Her life as a remote herbalist and writer has allowed her to work with a variety of wellness brands, health pioneers, and her wonderful clients. She has a special interest in working with women’s health.

Kate thoroughly enjoys writing educational and useful pieces for Best Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to help the public gain a better understanding of the wonders of Chinese herbal medicine so they can be empowered in their own quest for natural, vibrant health.

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