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Best Herbal Formulas for PTSD?

Hi, I’m a student of acupuncture and oriental medicine. I’m doing a paper on PTSD for an herbal treatment of disease class. I’m looking to find its equivalent differentiation and what formulas are available for it based on TCM. Do you have a list of formulas commonly used for this condition? What herbal reference(s) do you recommend? Is there a resource that shows its effectiveness when taken formulas by itself compared to taking it and doing acupuncture at the same time? Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

I know you are not exactly asking this way, because you mention pattern differentiation, but because this is a public forum I want to make sure that people understand that the term PTSD is functionally irrelevant in Chinese Medicine (and in some ways, albeit different, in western medicine due the myriad manifestations of symptoms). So there are potentially some common patterns, but given the complexity of the condition trying to narrow those down is more likely to be a dis-service to Chinese Medicine instead of an aid. The entire point of pattern differentiation (i.e. TCM diagnostic approaches - see "treating the cause vs. the symptoms) is to treat what you see in that individual, to tailor directly to them with no attempt at correlating their western “condition” with anything they are experiencing as the “condition” is just a name and nothing more, but their experience, what their individual body has gone through, and is going through, how their root imbalances were challenged, etc. that is what you treat and the more effectively you do that with Chinese Medicine the more the system shows its true value.

The most common patterns and formulas are very similar to the layout we have for anxiety disorders. Realistically many practitioners would treat for liver qi stagnation using formulas such as xiao yao wan (which can be effective for this range of conditions - ). But those approaches are likely over generalized and better results can be had by truly tailoring to the individual. Other formulas such as chai hu gui zhi gan jiang wan have also shown effectiveness ( ), but again, these would be tailored to the individual.

As for acupuncture, it is well known that this is a helpful treatment modality for PTSD - generally speaking cognitive behavioral therapy and/or acupuncture will yield the best overall results - with western medication and/or Chinese herbal medicine as appropriate based on the individual added in. Studies such as ( ) are looking at specific routes that acupuncture is helping (again, it is already established that it helps generally, we just don’t know all of the “why” variables in western terms).

There are not many studies that I am aware of that compare herbal approaches alone vs. acupuncture alone, vs. acupuncture and herbal - partly because there isn’t enough money to fund acupuncture studies world-wide and partly because of the tailoring that needs to happen which makes studies of that nature infinitely more variable (and hence less solid in the way that we are used to looking at in western studies).

Thanks Chad. This has provided something for me to start brainstorming on.

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