Low Mood – A Chinese Medicine Perspective

Low Mood – A Chinese Medicine Perspective



Sadness and low mood are common clinical presentations today. There are many patients who have chosen to manage their mood disorder using traditional Chinese medicine instead of, or in addition to, conventional pharmaceutical medicines. For these patients there are many formulas that can help them regain emotional balance and restore joy to their lives.


An enduring tendency in Chinese thinking is to see motion and change (dong ) as an essential part of our existence. In this world of ceaseless change and transformation, we maintain health through the orderly flow and exchange of jing , qi , and xue .  When the orderliness of functional processes is upset (for example when what should go up goes down, or vice versa), the various circulations become obstructed and health problems may arise. As we can see below, there are frequent textual references describing the process of unskillful emotional reactions leading to the loss of flow and depression of circulation.


Nei Jing Su Wen: “When thinking excessively, thoughts are stored in the heart, concentrated in one place, whereby the qi stops moving and becomes depressed. That is why qi congeals jie .”


Nei Jing Ling Shu: “When sad and worried, the passage of qi slows and its movement is depressed.”


Zhu Bin Yuan Hou Lun: “Qi accumulation illness, jie qi bing 结气病, is produced by sadness and worry.


When thoughts are heavy in the heart, the shen slows; qi gets depressed and congealed inside. ”Re-establishing emotional stability andbalance is vital for overall health. In this article we will review strategies you can use to help patients with mood disorders.




Sadness and low mood in traditionalChinese medicine is categorised as one ofthe following:

1. Depressive condition – yu zheng

2. Withdrawal – dian

3. Vacuity taxation – xu lao

4. Insomnia – bu mian

5. Vexation and agitation – fan zao

6. Visceral agitation – zang zao



Sadness and low mood can be differentiated into five repletion patterns, including liver qi depression, liver depression transforming into fire, blood movement depression (blood stagnation), phlegm and qi depression and stagnation, and phlegm fire obstruction.



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*Reproduced with kind permission from Health World Limited – Australia and New Zealand


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