Theory

Chinese Herbal and Acupuncture Treatment Protocols for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Formulas, Protocols, TCM Diagnoses


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Basics

Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the membrane surrounding the joints, causing pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue and a general sense of ill feeling. Unlike other forms of arthritis, RA affects joints in a symmetrical manner—meaning that if one wrist is affected by the disease, the other wrist will also be affected. RA commonly causes inflammation in the wrist and finger joints, however, it can also affect the neck, knees, ankles, elbows, feet, shoulders and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis can range in severity from mild to extreme, and is often chronic. Some people with RA experience peaks in the severity of their symptoms (called "flares"), while others' are constant.
Below you will find alternative and natural treatment options including those from a Chinese Medicine perspective for Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (ra) generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of rheumatoid arthritis (ra):



Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Formulas From Our Store

The following herbal formulas are potentially useful in the process of treating rheumatoid arthritis (ra). For a complete list from our store with more details see our rheumatoid arthritis (ra) formula section.


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Questions

Need treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis (ra) and not finding the information you need?

Using our forums our staff and our community may offer guidance with regards to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (ra).



Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Related Acupuncture Points

The following (1) acupuncture point may be useful for rheumatoid arthritis (ra). A subset of these could potentially be useful with acupressure stimulation and/or tongren therapy methods as well.

Generally treatment would be based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting points by function alone, (see general points selection rules.)



Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Related Chinese Herbs

The following (2) chinese herbs may be useful for rheumatoid arthritis (ra). In most cases, however, treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine is done with herbal formulas based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting herbs by function alone. When available, relevant formulas will appear below and/or in the store listings above.



The following (8) Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan

  • Solitary Hermit Teapills
    • For chronic pain due to obstruction (bi zheng) with liver and kidney deficiency.
    • For lower back pain often with weakness and/or pain in the knees.
    • For arthritis, especially the type affected by cold/damp weather.
  • Expel Dampness
  • Dispel Wind-Dampness
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution during pregnancy.
    • Do not use with patients that present with damp heat or excess heat.

Juan Bi Wan

  • Remove Painful Obstruction Decoction
    • Wind-cold-damp bi syndromes in qi deficient patients - joint pain possibly with heaviness of the limbs that generally improves with movement.  Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis.  With wind-cold-damp patterns other inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia.
    • Atrophy from qi and blood stagnation - stroke recovery.
  • Expel Dampness
  • Dispel Wind-Dampness

Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan

  • Remove Stagnant Blood from a Painful Body Pills
    • Qi and Blood stagnation blocking the channels and collaterals - pain in the extremities, shoulder pain, elbow pain, leg pain.
    • With the right underlying patterns - possibly useful for fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, etc.
    • Arthritic conditions - rheumatoid, neuralgia.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.

Shu Jing Huo Xue Wan

  • Relax The Channels and Invigorate The Blood Decoction
    • Primarily used for blood stasis with wind-damp in the channels and collaterals characterized by internal deficiency with external excesses - joint pain, muscle aches, numbness and/or pain in the lower extremities (may be severe).
    • Wind-cold damp bi-syndrome (i.e. arthritis) - particularly in the lower part of the body, hips, knees, lower back.
    • Sciatic pain with the correct underlying pattern.
    • Neck pain with the correct underling pattern.
    • Fractures that are reluctant to heal, particularly in the lower body.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.
    • Generally not for long term use and use with caution if at all in deficient patients.

Si Miao Wan

  • Four Marvels Powder
    • Damp-Heat Bi-Syndromes in Chinese Medicine terms - arthritis with hot swollen joints. With the right underlying diagnosis both osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis would respond.
    • Gout.
    • Weakness and/or atrophy in the lower body with swelling.
    • Leukorrhea and other heat related discharge.
  • Expel Dampness
  • Clear Damp-Heat
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid in pregnancy.
    • Avoid in deficiency cases.
    • Generally not suitable for arthritis with cold/deficient signs.

Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan

  • Unblock the Orifices and Invigorate the Blood Decoction
    • Blood stagnation particularly in the head - migraines and/or headaches with other sensory factors - auras, sound sensitivity, etc.
    • Dizziness, tinnitus, hair loss - with underlying blood stagnation signs.
    • Stroke, seizure disorder, post concussion headaches.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.
    • Avoid with heavy menstrual bleeding.
    • Use only under direction if you are taking blood thinners.
    • Generally not for long term use.

Xi Guan Jie Bi Tong Wan

  • Knee Joint Pain Relief
    • Arthritis from damp heat in Chinese Medicine terms.
    • Knee issues with kidney and liver systems involvement.
    • Lower body pain and/or inflammation - hips, knees, ankles, toes especially when the pain moves around due to interior wind.
    • Connective tissue disorders.
  • Expel Dampness
  • Dispel Wind-Dampness

Xian Fang Huo Ming Yin Wan

  • Immortals Formula For Sustaining Life
    • Generally for short-term use with early stage heat toxins - sores, carbuncles, boils, styes, acne.  Swollen and painful skin lesions with other heat signs (chills/fever). 
    • Breast abscesses, mastitis.
    • Uses for rheumatoid arthritis and/or psoriasis with the right underlying diagnosis.
    • Internal abscesses from blood stasis.
  • Clear Heat
  • Clear Heat and Relieve Toxicity
  • Cautions
    • Generally not for long-term use.
    • Use with caution with spleen qi deficiency.
    • Avoid with yin fire.



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