Alzheimer’s disease from view of TCM

It is a neurodegenerative brain disease in which dementia occurs. It occurs in people over the age of 60, and at 85 years of age, one in five people suffers from this disease. The causes of the disease are still unknown, most of the cases are attributed to a poor lifestyle, poor diet, excess fats and sugars in the diet at the expense of vegetables (so-called overacidification of the body), smoking, alcohol, overwork, stress, depression… The first symptoms may be loss of memory, especially short-term memory (i.e. it is more a matter of remembering learned material), speech and language disorders, problems with performing routine household chores, impaired orientation, deteriorating judgement, increasingly difficult decision-making, problems with abstract thinking, problems with dressing, storing things in other places, changes in personality, mood and behaviour, loss of interest in hobbies or employment, loss of initiative. The disease itself has 3 stages:

  1. stage of mild dementia – difficulty communicating, forgetting, misplacing things, suspiciousness, touchiness, denial of problems and memory impairment, disorientation in time, wandering in familiar places, difficulty making decisions and helplessness, loss of initiative, signs of depression, anxiety and aggression, loss of interest in hobbies, personality change – selfishness and egocentricity.
  2. stage of moderate dementia – impaired judgement, prejudice, deepening personality changes, inability to carry out normal activities such as cooking and shopping, need for help with personal hygiene and dressing, communication difficulties, wandering, behavioural disturbances, hallucinations, suspicions, states of confusion.
  3. stage of severe dementia – eating disorders, not recognizing close people, lack of comprehension of surrounding events, loss of ability to speak coherently, severe confusion, walking difficulties, urinary and faecal disorders, complete loss of self-sufficiency, wheelchair dependence, physical and mental deterioration, weight loss, death.

According to Western medicine, the treatment is difficult and only symptomatic, as there is no causal treatment – drugs are usually administered to improve blood flow and brain nutrition, reduce depression, suppress inflammation, etc.

Alzheimer’s disease according to Chinese medicine

(TCM) it is the whole complex of causes that lead to these problems and to this disease – as the years go by, there is an imbalance of one’s yin and yang and damage to one’s acquired healthy (“right and wholesome”) Qi energy ZHEN QI, innate Qi energy YUAN QI and kidney Qi energy SHEN QI. All these factors lead to a loss of nourishment for the brain, which is further attacked by other adverse influences, such as the use of chemical drugs that leave toxic residues of RE DU in the body, as well as feelings of depression, loneliness and lack of enjoyment of life, as the old person is removed from today’s hectic economic and business society…The end result of all this is stagnation of energy QI ZHI, blockage of blood YU XUE, and the accumulation of mucus TAN that blocks the heart XIN and dampens the spirit SHEN, causing confusion. The basic treatment according to TCM is to stir up the stagnant Qi energy QI ZHI and the blockage of blood YU XUE and to expel the mucus TAN. Other problems are then treated according to individual symptoms.

1.     Qi energy stagnation QI ZHI and blood blockage YU XUE
Symptoms: anxiety, agitation, nervousness, rage, anger, incoherent and excessive speech, misconceptions, delusions, feeling of fullness and congestion in the chest and lower back
Tongue: mauve, with enlarged sublingual vessels and sublingual blood spots.
Pulse: tense XIAN and rough SE
Herbal mixtures: Raising the Stuck Sluice-Gates (code 040)+ Reinforcement of undermine Riverbank (code 041) + Beverage of Five Stairs (code 850)
2.     Deficiency of Qi energy and blood QUI/XUE XU with blood blockage YU XUE
Symptoms: silent, sullen, gloomy, depressed, lack of appetite, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue, flabby muscles, loss of muscle strength, pale yellow skin
Tongue: mauve with sublingual signs of blood blockage
Pulse: thready XI and rough SE
Herbal mixtures: Walking through a rosy garden (code 043) + Softness of heavenly fay (code 052) + Lingzhi Root of Life (code 200) + Beverage of Heavenly Grace (code 888)
3.     Mucus TAN stagnation with blockade of blood YU XUE
Symptoms: incoherent speech, irritability, anger, uncontrollable behaviour, mania, passion
Tongue: mauve with greasy coating
Pulse: tense XIAN or sliding HUA, full SHI and fast SHUO
Herbal mixtures: Canopy Chamber (code 036) + Reinforcement of undermine Riverbank (code 041) + Beverage of Chinese Sages (code 900)