Recipes of Chinese herbs for relieving depression

In Chinese medicine, depression has different kinds of syndromes, and the syndromes are commonly characterized by depressed mood, restlessness, the tightness in the chest, and the distending pain in hypochondria with irritability, easily crying, or the feeling of a foreign body in the throat.

Anger that is hidden in the heart, worry or fear lasts for a long time, leading to the stagnation of Qi. The liver is influenced at first, and then the heart, the spleen or the kidneys are influenced. Because of the disfunction of the internal organs, pathogenic factors like dampness, phlegm, heat, retention of food, or stasis of blood comes into being. This is how the syndrome of depression is caused.

Syndrome caused by stagnation of liver Qi

The type of depression has the following symptoms: the person is depressed and restless, and he likes to sigh; he feels tightness in the chest and distending pain in hypochondria, while the position of the pain is not fixed; the person feels the discomfort of stomach, and he belches and has no appetite, while the problems of bowel movement happen; a woman may suffer from amenorrhea; the tongue is pale red, and the covering of tongue is thin and looks like a layer of lard; the pulse is taut like a string.

The treatment method is to unblock the liver and release the stagnation of Qi, and to regulate Qi and make the spleen and the stomach work in harmony.

The representative recipe for the treatment is Chai Hu Shu Gan San. The recipe contains Chai Hu (6 g), Xiang Fu (4,5 g), Chuan Xiong (4,5 g), Chen Pi (6 g), Zhi Ke (4,5 g), Bai Shao (4,5 g), and Zhi Gan Cao (1,5 g).

In the case of distending discomfort of the abdomen caused by the retention of food, Shen Qu, Shan Zha, Mai Ya, and Ji Nei Jin can be added to the recipe.

For relieving the discomfort of the stomach, Xuan Fu Hua, Dai Zhe Shi, and Fa Ban Xia can be added to the recipe.

If the abdomen feels distending discomfort or pain, or diarrhea happens, Cang Zhu, Hou Po, Fu Ling, and Wu Yao can be added to the recipe.

The stasis of blood may cause the chest or hypochondria to feel stabbing pain, while the tongue has blue or purple areas which are called ecchymoses. In the case, Dang Gui, Dan Shen, Tao Ren, Hong Hua, and Yu Jin can be added to the recipe.

Syndrome caused by stagnating Qi forming fire

The type of depression has the following symptoms: the person is impatient and irritable; the chest has the feeling of tightness, and the hypochondria have the feeling of distending; the mouth is dry and it seems that there is something bitter in the mouth; the person may suffer from headache, red eyes, or tinnitus, or may suffer from the discomfort of the stomach with acid reflux or constipation; the tongue is red, the covering of the tongue is yellow; the pulse is taut like a string, and rapid.

The treatment method is to unblock the liver and release the stagnation of Qi, and to clear the fire of the liver.

The representative recipe for the treatment is Jia Wei Xiao Yao San. The recipe contains Mu Dan Pi (1,5 g), Zhi Zi (1,5 g), Chai Hu (3 g), Bai Shao (3 g), Dang Gui (3 g), Fu Ling (3 g), Bai Zhu (3 g), Zhi Gan Cao (1,5 g), Bo He (1 g), and Sheng Jiang (1 piece).

If the person feels something bitter in the mouth and suffers from constipation, Long Dan Cao and Da Huang can be added to the recipe.

If the person feels pain in hypochondria and discomfort in the stomach while suffering from acid reflux, belching and vomiting, Huang Lian and Wu Zhu Yu can be added to the recipe.
In the case of headache, red eyes and tinnitus, Ju Hua and Gou Teng may be added to the recipe.

Syndrome caused by the stagnation of Qi with the retention of phlegm

The type of depression has the following symptoms: the person feels depressed; the chest feels tightness, and the hypochondria feel distending; in the throat there is the sensation of foreign body which can’t be removing by swallowing or coughing out; the covering of the tongue is white and looks like a layer of lard; the pulse is taut like a string, and slippery like pearls rolling on a plate.

The treatment method is to move Qi for releasing stagnation of Qi, and to dissolve phlegm for removing the bump or obstruction caused by the retention of phlegm.

The representative recipe for the treatment is Ban Xia Hou Po Tang. The recipe contains Ban Xia (12 g), Hou Po (9 g), Sheng Jiang (15 g), Zi Su Ye (6 g), and Fu Ling (12 g).

The retention of phlegm may generate heat, leading to restlessness, feeling something bitter in the mouth, and nausea, while tongue is red, and the covering of the tongue is yellow and looks like a layer of lard. In the case, Sheng Jiang may be removed from the recipe while Zhu Ru, Gua Lou Ren and Huang Lian are added.

The stagnation of Qi with the retention of dampness causes the feeling of obstruction and oppression in the chest and the stomach, and belching, while the covering of the tongue looks like a layer of lard. In the case, Xiang Fu, Fo Shou, and Cang Zhu can be added to the recipe.

The stasis of blood causes the stabbing pain in the chest and the hypochondria, while the tongue shows blue or purple color or has small blue or purple areas, and the pulse is not smooth. In the case, Dan Shen, Yu Jin, Jiang Xiang, and Pian Jiang Huang can be added to the recipe.

Syndrome caused by the spirit of the heart lacking nutrition

The type of depression has the following symptoms: the person is absent-minded or may look dazed, and he is restless, oversensitive and nervous; he feels sad and worried, and he is easy to cry, and he is capricious; he may like to yawn and stretch arms, or may shake hands and stamp feet while shouting and swearing; the tongue is pale; the pulse is taut like a string.

The treatment method is to use herbs that are sweet in taste for nourishing Yin and Qi, and relieving tension, so the heart gets nutrition, and the spirit is calmed.

The representative recipe for the treatment is Gan Mai Da Zao Tang. The recipe contains Xiao Mai (15 g), Gan Cao (9 g), and Da Zao (10, number).

If the person is so anxious that he can’t sleep, Suan Zao Ren, Bai Zi Ren, Fu Shen, and Yuan Zhi may be added to the recipe.

The deficiency of blood may cause internal wind which is characterized by wriggling or convulsion of hands and feet. In the case, Dang Gui, Sheng Di Huang, Zhen Zhu Mu, and Gou Teng may be added to the recipe.

Syndrome caused by the deficiency of the heart and the spleen

The type of depression has the following symptoms: the person worries too much, and he feels palpitations and nervous; his sleeping quality is very bad, and he often forgets something; he feels dizzy and tired, and his face is pale; he has no appetite; his tongue is pale, and the covering of the tongue is thin and white; his pulse is thin and weak.

The treatment method for treatment is to invigorate the spleen and nourish the heart, and to strengthen Qi and boost the regeneration of blood.

The representative recipe for the treatment is Gui Pi Tang. The recipe contains Ren Shen (9 g), Long Yan Rou (18 g), Huang Qi (18 g), Bai Zhu (18 g), Dang Gui (3 g), Suan Zao Ren (18 g), Fu Shen (18 g), Yuan Zhi (3 g), Mu Xiang (9 g), Zhi Gan Cao (6 g), Sheng Jiang (5 pieces), and Da Zao (1, number).

In the case of depression with the feeling of oppression in the chest, Yu Jin, Xiang Fu, and Fo Shou may be added to the recipe.

In the case of dizziness and headache, Chuan Xiong, Bai Zhi, and Tian Ma may be added to the recipe.

Syndrome caused by the deficiency of heart Yin and kidney Yin

The type of depression has the following symptoms: the person is restless, and suffers from insomnia; he is nervous, and feels palpitations; he often forgets something, and he frequently has dreams during sleeping; he feels dizzy, and suffers from tinnitus; there is hot feeling in the center areas of palms and soles, and in the heart region; the lower back and knees feel sore and weak; the person has night sweats, and his mouth and throat feel dry; a man may have nocturnal emissions or wet dreams, while a woman may suffer from the disorder of menstruation; the tongue is red with little covering or no covering; the pulse is thin and rapid.

The treatment method is to nourish the heart and kidneys.

The representative recipe for the treatment is Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan plus Liu Wei Di Huang Wan. The recipe of Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan contains Sheng Di Huang (12 g), Tian Dong (9 g), Mai Dong (9 g), Xuan Shen (5 g), Wu Wei Zi (9 g), Suan Zao Ren (9 g), Bai Zi Ren (9 g), Yuan Zhi (5 g), Fu Ling (5 g), Dang Gui (9 g), Ren Shen (5 g), Dan Shen (5 g), Jie Geng (5 g), and Zhu Sha (This is a mineral medicinal material in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used for the coating of pills in the original recipe. It should be removed for decoction.). The recipe of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan contains Shu Di Huang (24 g), Shan Yao (12 g), Shan Zhu Yu (12 g), Ze Xie (9 g), Fu Ling (9 g), and Mu Dan Pi (9 g).

According to the theory of five elements, the heart’s attribute is fire, and the kidneys’ attribute is water. The fire of the heart can strengthen kidney Yang and warm the water of kidneys. The water of the kidneys can nourish heart Yin and restrict heart Yang, so the fire of the heart is not in hyperactivity. The balance is called the harmony between the heart and the kidneys, or called the coordination between water and fire. The deficiency of heart Yin and kidney Yin can break the balance, so the person is restless and suffers from insomnia, and during sleep he frequently has dreams and may have wet dreams. In the case, the recipe of Jiao Tai Wan, which contains Huang Lian (15 g) and Rou Gui (1,5 g), can be combined.

If the person often feels thirsty, Tian Hua Fen and Zhi Mu may be added.

In the case of very frequent nocturnal emissions or wet dreams, Qian Shi, Lian Xu and Jin Ying Zi can be added.

REFERENCES:

1. Zhang, Boli, & Wu, Mianhua. (2017). Internal Medicine of TCM. China Press of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

2. Li, Ji, & Lian, Jianwei. (2016). Recipes of Traditional Chinese Medicine. China Press of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

NOTICE:

Some medicinal materials are not allowed to use in the EU. The knowledge of the article is based on the conditions of China. The actual use of medicinal materials in the EU complies with the regulations of the EU.

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