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Chinese medicine for insomnia

Traditional Chinese medicine has been using different medicines and preparations for insomnia treatment for centuries. According to Chinese medicine, insomnia is triggered by 5 factors. It claims that the cause of insomnia is always related to the heart. The heart in traditional Chinese medicine is seen as important as the brain is in conventional medicine.

Theory of Insomnia

Theory of insomnia in Chinese medicine supposes there are five causes of the condition.

  • Intestinal function and eating disorders. People with eating disorders commonly have impaired function of the gastrointestinal tract. That causes food to stagnate and phlegm to heat.
  • Disorders of the liver function. According to Chinese medicine, negative emotions affect the liver. That results in blocked Qi and blood stasis which eventually leads to insomnia.
  • Heart and Kidney dysfunction. Chinese medicine claims chronic disorders and physical debilities are sign of kidney Yin deficiency. The kidneys belong to water while the heart belongs to fire. Thus, the discord between the organs can result in hyperactive heart (heart-heat). The final result is restlessness and insomnia.
  • Disorders of the spleen and stomach functions. Imbalance between Yin and Yang due to heart and kidney dysfunction affects the spleen and stomach. If kidney yang deficiency is present it affects the spleen leading to appetite loss and blood deficiency. Thereby, the heart is deprived of nourishment which leads to insomnia.
  • Dysfunction of the gallbladder. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the gallbladder gives the courage. Weak function of the organ results in distress, timidity and upset feelings, which can lead to insomnia.


Although there are different causes of insomnia, heart dysfunction is considered to be the root of the problem. Thereby, insomnia is associated with deficiency of heart blood, kidney yin deficiency which cannot restrict the heart fire, hyperactive liver fire that causes excessive heart fire and confusion of heart due to presence of phlegm. Luckily there is chronic insomnia treatment available. 

Chinese Medicine Remedies for Insomnia

Chinese medicine aims to eliminate the cause of insomnia. Commonly, Chinese medicine remedies for insomnia involve: soothing the heart and calming the spirit, balancing the heart and eliminating fire, stimulating Yin to decrease fire, clearing heat and expectoration, and enhancing circulation of blood to resolve blood stasis.

Herbal Remedies for Insomnia

In traditional Chinese medicine, treatment for insomnia includes different herbs. Some of commonly used herbs for insomnia include: Tian Ma, Lingzi mushroom, Ge Gen, Du Zhing, Shi Chang Pu, Yuan Zhi, Bai Zi Ren, Suan Zao Ren, Lian Zi Xin, Hu Po, Nju Huang and Zhu Sha. These herbs act by soothing the heart and calming the mind. Apart from herbs, traditional Chinese medicine also treats insomnia with acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and laser acupuncture.

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