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Traditional Chinese Medicine Internal Organ Syndromes


Internal organ syndromes require a practitioner to first make a general diagnosis before treatment can commence. In this way, traditional Chinese medicine is similar to Western medicine. However, a practitioner uses different methods to make a diagnosis -- taking into account the eight parameters, the vital substances, and the pernicious influences.

Once a practitioner establishes a general diagnosis, the next step is to determine which organ systems are affected. This logical procedure leads to a final diagnosis that is specific enough to enable the physician to prepare a focused treatment plan.

For example, a patient may have chronic night sweats, irritability, and thirst -- general signs of yin deficiency -- but the practitioner still does not know which organ system to nourish at this point. Keeping in mind the normal functions of the organs, the practitioner might find further symptoms of palpitations, insomnia, and poor memory, concluding that the yin deficiency affects mostly the heart. The treatment plan would then include an herbal formula to nourish heart yin.

It is rare when all of the classic symptoms of a typical syndrome are present. In fact, it is more common for just a few symptoms to occur, and these often arise from two or three simultaneous disease patterns. For example, a person might have chronic spleen qi deficiency with symptoms of only poor appetite and loose stools. The same person could also have liver qi stagnation with the only symptom being premenstrual syndrome once a month. If this person catches a cold on top of these underlying disorders, her symptoms would involve three separate patterns of disharmony.

Early-stage and mild versions of syndromes may have very subtle symptom patterns; these require the diagnostic skills of an experienced practitioner. It is important to remember that the functions of organs in traditional Chinese medicine may overlap those of their Western counterparts, but they also have totally unrelated functions. For this reason, it is dangerous to attempt to find a standard correspondence between the two.

For example, a chest cold might be diagnosed as a lung condition under both systems, but asthma might be a kidney condition in traditional Chinese medical diagnostics. Both medical systems stand on their own strengths, but an attempt to artificially link the two can often make them less effective. Attempting to treat the flu simply with Chinese herbs that have antiviral qualities is less effective than getting an accurate diagnosis -- wind heat, for example -- and using a traditional formula for that wind heat.

On the following pages, read more about syndromes that affect specific organs and the various conditions of imbalance that make up the foundation for an effective traditional treatment plan. Please keep in mind that many of these descriptions are for severe versions of the syndromes. The description of each pattern lists the full range of severity, from a mild set of symptoms to life threatening disease. If intervention takes place at the early stages, it is possible to restore balance before the symptoms become more severe.

For more about traditional Chinese medicine, treatments, cures, beliefs, and other interesting topics, see:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

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