Menstrual blood is not like “ordinary” Blood in Chinese medicine. In other words, the “Blood” that nourish the eyes and the sinews is not the same as menstrual blood. Menstrual blood is a direct manifestation of the Kidney-Essence equivalent to sperm in men. Menstrual Blood is called Tian Gui which could be translated as “Heavenly Dew” although the character Gui actually refers to the 10th Stem that pertains to Water. The association with Water is not casual as menstrual Blood is part of Water and derives from the Yin part of the Kidneys. The great gynaecologist of the Qing dynasty Fu Qing Zhu often stressed this, saying that not by chance menstrual blood is called Jing Shui (“Period Water”).
The menstrual cycle is like a tide of Yin and Yang: the “water” of this tide is the substance of the Kidneys in its Yin and Yang aspect. Therefore, it is the ebb and flow of Kidney-Yin and KidneyYang that determines the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle goes through two moments of transformation of Yin to Yang and vice versa: the onset of the period marks the maximum of Yang and the transformation from Yang to Yin while the onset of ovulation marks the maximum of Yin and the transformation of Yin to Yang. This transformation, together with the discharge of menstrual blood and the eggs, is under the control of the Heart whose Qi needs to go down to communicate with the Kidneys.
THE FOUR PHASES
The menstrual cycle may be divided into four phases as follows:
1. the period itself lasting approximately 5 days
2. the post-menstrual phase of about 1 week
3. the inter-menstrual phase of about 1 week
4. the pre-menstrual phase also lasting approximately 1 week.
Read Giovanni Maciocia’s full article for a detailed description of the physiology of each phase with the relevant treatment principles.
Formula in a Nutshell: Cool Blood and clear Empty Heat to stop excessive menstrual bleeding.
Pattern: Blood Empty-Heat, Yin deficiency.
Action: Cool Blood, clear Empty-Heat, nourish Yin, stop bleeding.
Formula in a Nutshell: Tonify and raise Spleen-Qi, tonify Kidney-Yang to prevent miscarriage (habitual miscarriage or threatened abortion).
Pattern: Kidney-Yang deficiency, Blood deficiency, Qi deficiency, Qi sinking.
Action: Tonify and warm Kidney-Yang, nourish Blood, tonify and raise Qi.
Formula in a Nutshell: Tonify and warm Kidney-Yang, nourish Blood, stop pain.
Pattern: Kidney-Yang deficiency, Blood deficiency.
Action: Tonify and warm Kidney-Yang, nourish Blood, stop pain.
Formula in a Nutshell: Move Liver-Qi, nourish Liver-Blood, tonify Spleen-Qi for pre-menstrual syndrome.
Pattern: Liver-Qi stagnation, Liver-Blood deficiency, Spleen-Qi deficiency.
Action: Pacify the Liver, move Qi, eliminate stagnation, nourish Liver-Blood, tonify Spleen-Qi, calm the Mind, settle the Ethereal Soul.