Acne is, according to Chinese traditional medicine a result of an excess of heat and dampness. It is believed that acne is also a result lifestyle factors that create an imbalance. For example, fatty, excessively spicy foods, emotional distress all contribute to the formation of acne. Throughout a lifespan many people first experience acne as an adolescent when hormones create changes that lead o the first breakouts. However, acne can continue to be a problem for adults as well. Acne forms when conditions in the body lead to an accumulation of sebum from glands in the skin. The sebum blocks pores and bacteria causes” inflammation.
Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan is a Chinese medicine that is used extensively for acne. It is reputed to dispel heat, a leading factor in acne, and to expel wind. It contains many ingredients that specifically impact the accumulation of heat in the body, in particular the upper body. For example, Flos Crysanthemi (chrysanthemum flowers) helps disperse wind heat from the lungs. According to Chinese medicine, it is the lungs that control many aspects of the skin and ultimately acne. The flower has the properties of sweetness and cold and it helps to treat both the outwards signs of acne and the inside conditions that create a toxic environment.
Rhizonma Coptidis (Coptis root) is called huang lian and is a primary ingredient in this acne fighting treatment. It has bitter and cold qualities. It is frequently used for detoxification and for dispersing heat. According to tradition this herb influences the heart, gall bladder, spleen and stomach. It is often combined with scutellaria and forsythia fructus as it is in huang lian shang qing wan, to clear away heat, dampness and in addition promote Qi. In Chinese traditional medicine Qi is vital because of its many functions. For example, Qi has 5 primary functions; it underlies all movement in the body. It protects the body by resisting external pernicious influences, is implicated in digestion and helps regulate temperature and it also helps keep systems and organs in their proper place. Disharmonies of Qi can lead to illness. In skin disease such as acne the protective quality of Qi may need support.
Scrophularia root is bitter and sweet. It influences the lungs and kidneys. It is indicated for cooling and eliminating heat. Scrophularia is also famous for its abilities to dissolve lumps and to nourish the Ying. Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan’s unique combination of ingredients helps fight acne that is a result of excessive heat in the lungs, stomach and blood heat. Lung heat for instance usually results in acne that is near the nose or on the forehead. Stomach heat may result in lesions on the shoulders and back.