Treating Depression
Using Chinese Herbal Formulas

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Treating Depression Using Chinese Herbal Formulas

If you are looking for ways of treating depression naturally, why not try herbal formulas based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

In a previous article, we discussed about the effectiveness of using TCM for treating depression, the basic concepts in TCM, as well as what to expect during TCM treatment of depression.

In this article, we focus on the TCM herbal formulas used in the treatment of depression.


Treating depression using TCM

During TCM diagnosis, it is the duty of the TCM physician to determine the factors that are out of harmony for the patient, and identify the syndrome(s) particular to him or her. Subsequently, the physician will attempt to bring the factors back into balance through treatment [1].

When treating depression, or rather “Yu Zhen”, using TCM, the main goals involve regulating and dispersing stagnant Qi in the body [2]. In addition, the underlying disease pathways pertinent to the syndrome(s) manifested need to be addressed.


Common TCM remedies for common syndromes in “Yu Zhen”

The following are treatment principles and suggested herbal formulas [2] when it comes to treating depression and addressing the above common syndromes in “Yu Zhen”.

(1) Stagnation of the “Liver” Qi (肝气郁结)
Treatment principle: disperse stagnant “Liver” Qi, regulate bodily Qi and correct dysfunctions of the “Spleen” and “Stomach” (疏肝解郁, 理气和中);
Suggested herbal formula: “Chai Hu Shu Gan Tang Jia Jian” (柴胡疏肝汤加减).

(2) Accumulation of heat arising from “Liver” Qi stagnation (肝郁化火)
Treatment principle: disperse stagnant “Liver” Qi, cleanse “Liver” and dispel heat (疏肝解郁, 清肝泻火);
Suggested herbal formula: “Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San Jia Jian” (丹栀逍遥散加减).

(3) Stagnation of Qi and accumulation of “Phlegm” (痰气郁结)
Treatment principle: move and disperse stagnant Qi, and dissolve “Phlegm” accumulation (行气开郁, 化痰散结);
Suggested herbal formula: “Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang Jia Jian” (半夏厚朴汤加减).

(4) Deficiency of Qi and “Blood” in the “Spleen” and “Heart” (心脾两虚) Treatment principle: strengthen the “Spleen”, nourish the “Heart”, invigorate Qi and “Blood” (健脾养心, 补益气血);
Suggested herbal formula: “Gui Pi Tang Jia Jian” (归脾汤加减).

(5) Dystrophy of the “Heart-Mind” (心神失养)
Treatment principle: nourish the “Heart” and tranquilize the mind (甘润缓急, 养心安神);
Suggested herbal formula: “Gan Mai Da Zao Tang Jia Jian” (甘麦大枣汤加减).

(6) Deficiency of Yin in the “Heart” and “Kidney” (心肾阴虚)
Treatment principle: nourish the “Heart” and “Kidney” (滋养心肾);
Suggested herbal formula: “Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan Jia Jian” (天王补心丹加减) and “Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Jia Jian” (六味地黄丸加减).

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