There are two words that play an important role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its impact on the body: blood statis.
Blood statis relates to improper blood circulation — when the blood is not flowing smoothly, thus being a behind-the-scenes factor in many underlying ailments and diseases. Troubles with blood circulation could result in intense pain, changes in skin color or bruising. There could be inflammation and swelling. It could be the result of physical trauma, such as pelvic surgery. Blood statis, also known as blood stagnation, also can impact recovery from illness.
When the blood flows freely and properly through the circulatory system, it carries oxygen and infection-fighting white blood cells, nutrients and hormones. When the blood flow is restricted, it can cause pain in the legs, feet, arms and hands. A common cause of poor circulation is blocked or narrowed blood vessels, often due to plaque buildup or hardening of the blood vessel walls, which can be the result of diabetes, hypertension or obesity. Poor circulation puts people at risk of heart attack or stroke.
Overcoming blood statis
Successful efforts to thwart blood statis have the reverse impact. It can help the body create a new environment for the cells to grow and remove and clean circulating issues. Therefore, removing blood statis may help clean the pathological substances in tissue and essentially create a better environment for new cells to grow. The idea is to expand blood vessels and increase blood flow and improve blood circulation. The hope is to improve tissue condition and the recovery of impaired tissues.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Priority
That’s why it’s so important to reduce or eliminate blood statis. Under Traditional Chinese medicine, that’s when the wind naturally calms down and the blood flows. Removing blood statis is a high priority of Chinese Medicine.
Described in TCM theory as a slowing or pooling of the blood due to disruption of Heart Qi, it is often understood in biomedical terms in terms of hematological disorders.
“Based on the principle that our bodies have self-healing mechanisms that can be activated with a touch of nature, herbal therapy awakens the body’s ability to rejuvenate blocked or depleted resources in order to restore balance,” said Daniel Holman, a Chinese herbalist in North Carolina in a blog. “Strengthening your body and your Qi – your energy – through the use of herbs not only aids in the prevention and treatment of disease but when used regularly, helps us maintain a lifestyle of well-being and harmony.”
Among the TCM herbs and formulas used to treat blood statis:
- Si Wu Tang is a medicinal formula comprising four different herbs, including Radix Paeoniae, Rhizoma LiguisticumChunaxiong, Radix Angelica Sinensis and Rhizoma Liguisticum Preparata. It is widely used for the treatment of gynecological disorders such as menstrual discomfort, and other estrogen-related diseases. Studies have demonstrated the medicinal formula linked to antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and other activities. The major bioactive components in these four herbs include phenolics, phthalides, alkaloids, terpene, glycosides and iridoid glycosides.
- Shu Di Huang. It is a herbal medicine that experts suggest may tonify or nourish the blood. It contains cooked or steamed root of the herbaceous plant Rehmannia glutinosa Libosch of the Scrophulariaceae family.
- Bai Shao Yao, the White Peony root, is used for what is termed blood deficiency, irregular menstruation, abdominal cramps, uterine bleeding, and vaginal discharge. It also has been described as nourishing the blood and softening the liver. It is bitter, slightly cold and sour.
- Angelica Sinensis or Dang Gui. It also can also be used in combination with Paeonia Bai Shao and Rehmannia Shu Di Huang for gynecological disorders. It is also known as the “female ginseng” for popular treatment in Chinese medicine for symptoms like hot flashes caused by menopause and premenstrual syndrome. It relieves stress, fatigue and anxiety for men and women.
- Bai Shao Yaho has been used in connection with clotting, and relaxing the blood vessels, resulting in decreased blood pressure.
- Chuan Xiong also has been linked to lowered blood pressure and dilating the blood vessels.
- Carthami Flos, Persicae Semen, Moutan Cortex have been identified as removing swelling.
Chinese herbal medicine. A database of Chinese herbs and formulas created by Peter Borten, director Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. 2018. Retrieved from: https://chineseherbinfo.com/bai-shao-yao-white-peony-root/
Chen, Z, Li Wenbing, et al. The Effects of Curcumae Longae Radix and Their Processed Products on Epo/EpoR Pathway and CD 62p. Frontiers of Pharmacy. July 2019.https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00736.
Darren Holman. 2018. Carolinas Natural Health Center. A Look at Blood Stasis and Common Chinese Herbs for Treatment. Retrieved from: https://www.carolinasnaturalhealth.com/a-look-at-blood-stasis-and-common-chinese-herbs-for-treatment/
Medicine traditions. Sichuan Lovage: Chuan Xiong (TCM) 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.medicinetraditions.com/ligusticum-chuanxiong-chuan-xiong.html
Dao Labs. The Herb Series : Female Ginseng (Dang Gui). 2017. The Way. Retrieved from: https://mydaolabs.com/blogs/the-way/dang-gui-herb-root-medicine
Sacreed Lotus. Chinese Medicine. Chuan Xiong (Szechuan Lovage Root). 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.sacredlotus.com/go/chinese-herbs/substance/chuan-xiong-szechuan-lovage-root
Chiu, HF, Wu, YH, et al. Antioxidant and physiological effects of Si Wu Tang on skin and liver: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Chinese Medicine. 2016. Chinese Medicine. Doi: 10.1186/s13020-016-0102-01.