* Surprise You? Learn How Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Differentiate and Treat Bladder Cancer

Kyle J. Norton


Bladder cancer occurs when cells mass in the inner lining of the bladder form a malignant growth, or tumor. In other words, bladder cancer is a medical condition caused by irregular growth of cells in bladder tissue.

The seriousness of the condition is depending on the penetration of cancerous cells.. At the early stage, the cancerous only are found on the surface of the bladder.

However, at the later stage, the uncontrollable cells may travel a distance away  from the bladder to infect other healthy cells and tissue of other organs through bloods and fluids circulation, such as the prostate gland in men or uterus in women.

Symptoms(1)
1. Traditional Chinese medicine indicated that urinary with blood is one of the first symptom discovered by bladder cancer patient. Sometimes, red blood cells can be viewed by naked eyes but most of the times, it requires a blood test.
2. Back pain
3. Fluid retention in the kidney
4. Fever
5. Other symptoms are similar to the conventional medicine.
Most patient with early bladder cancer my experience blood in urine with no pain at all.

Risk Factors(1)

1. Occupation
Occupation required to contact with chemical toxins daily and over a prolonged period of time have a high risk of bladder cancer. Most workers do not experience any symptom of bladder cancer until later in their life. We are taking about the period over 30 years.

2. Smoking
Cigarette contains certain harmful chemicals which can cause cancer. In China, due to social culture difference, the risk of male and female with bladder cancer is 41%, 30% accordingly.

3. Age
The risk of bladder cancer increases with age. The older you are, the higher the risk.

4. Sex
The risk of bladder cancer of male is 4 time higher than women

5. Race
Certain race are high risk of bladder cancer

6. Chemicals tryptophan
By products of tryptophan such as 3-hydroxy-2-amino-acetophenone and 3-Hydroxyindazole
can promote the risk of bladder cancer due to reaction of β-glucuronidases.

7. Diet
Diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of bladder cancer.

8. Family history
Bladder cancer risk increase if a member of the direct family have bladder cancer.

9. Infection
Prolonged infection or frequent infection increase the risk of bladder cancer.

10. Medication
Certain types of medication can promote the forming of bladder cancer.


Causes of Bladder cancer in TCM

The traditional Chinese medicine defined bladder cancer is a health condition caused by
A. Heart Fire Shifting Downwards to the small intestine
Heart Fire is an excess problem, due to elevating yang or yang rise is out of control. Since heart is associated with the fire, excessive yang leading to fire and heat.

If heart fire with extra heat move downward to the small intestine, it affects the bladder in functioning of urinary secretion, causing blood in urine.

In other words, according to the article by TCM Shen Nong Shi,  bloody urine often indicates that the bladder meridian is over-heated, that can be a result of different internal disharmonies. Mental stress, improper diet or chronic health conditions bring about fire or heat pathogensby different organs, the pathogens irritate the urinary tract through the bladder meridian, and cause bleeding(2).

If left untreated, it can cause inflammation and bleeding, leading to bladder cancer.


1. Symptoms include(4)

1.a. Heart palpitations
1.b. Thirst
1.c. Feeling of heat
1.d. Urination with blood
1.e. Hot, dark urine
1.f. Bitter taste in the mouth
1.g. Frequent urination
1.h. Urgent need to urinate

2. Treatment with Chinese Herbs
2.1. Shui Niu Jiao (Bubalus bubalis)(3)
Shui Niu Jiao is also known as water buffalo horn. The salty, cold herb has been used in TCM as sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-virus medicine and to shorten bleeding time, enhance quality of capillaries as it clears heat, relieve fire, cool blood, stop nosebleed, vomiting blood by enhancing the function of heart, liver, spleen, stomach channels.

2.2.  Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae)(5)
Lian Qiao is also known as forsythia fruit. The bitter, cool, and slightly acrid herb has been used in TCM as anti inflammatory medicine and to stop vomiting, promote blood circulation and urination as it helps to clears heat and toxin and expels externally wind heat by enhancing the function of heart, liver gall bladder channels.

2.3. Dan Zhu Ye (Herba Loaphatheri Gracilis)(7)
Dan Zhu ye is also known as bamboo leaves. The sweet, cold and bitter herb has been used in TCM to treat mouth sores and inflamed gums caused by heat, promotes urination and treat insomnia as it helps to clear damp heat, heart fire and stomach heat by enhancing the functions of heart, small intestine, stomach channels.

2.4. Lian Zi Xin (Lotus Plumule)(6)
Lian Zi Xin also known as Lotus Flower. The bitter and cold herb has been used in TCM as an astringent and to treat insomnia, irritability, stop bleeding and vomiting blood as it promotes the draining of heart fire and bind essence by enhancing the functions of heart and pericardium channels.


B. Damp heat moves downward to the bladder

It is caused by kidney inability to move fluid upward, resulting in fluid accumulated in the abdomen. Prolonged period of fluid accumulation promotes arise of heat, affecting the urinary secretion of the bladder, resulting of bleeding and damage the functioning of the bladder, leading to bladder cancer(8).

1. Symptoms include(8)
1.a. Frequent urination
1.b. Urgent need to urinate
1.c. Urinary pain, back pain, edema of lower limbs
1.d. Thirsty,
1.e. Difficult to go to sleep at night
1.f. Red tongue with yellow and greasy fur
1.g. Slippery and taut pulse

2. Treatment with Chinese Herbs
The function of the herbs are for diuresis, to eliminate dampness, clear heat, cool blood and stop bleeding.
2.1. Che Qian Zi (Semen Plantaginis)(9)
Che Qian Zi is also known as Plantain seed. The sweet and cold herb has been used in TCM as an antibiotic and to promote urination and to excret mucus of the bronchial tubes as it helps to clear Damp heat in the lower burner channel and damp heat cause of painful urinary, diarrhea , red eyes and sexual dysfunction by enhancing the functions of bladder, kidney, liver, lung channels.

2.2. Bian Xu (Herba Polygoni Avicularis)(10)
Bian Xu is also known as common knotgrass. The slight cold and bitter herb has been used in TCM to treat urinary infection, get rid of skin parasites and fuild and worms and stop itching as it drains damp heat in bladder, calms pain on urination by enhancing the function of bladder channel.

2.3.  Bo Ye (Cacumen Biotae Orientalis)(11)
Bo Ye or Ce Bai Ye is also known as biota leaves. The bitter, tart and slightly cold herb has been used in TCM to stops bleeding, harmonize blood, inhibit cough, anti-bacteria and anti-inflammation as it purifies and lowers the lung-Qi , clears heat and blood heat, eliminates phlegm by enhancing the function of heart, liver, large intestine and lung channels.

2.4. Yi Yi Ren (Semen coicis)(12)
Yi Yi Ren is also known as Coix Seed. The sweet, bland, slightly cool herb has been used in TCM to improve digestion, enhance the lung function, get rid of bacterial or fungal infection and treat neualgia, difficulty in urination, lung abscess as it drains water, strengthens the Spleen; eliminates obstruction and clears Heat by promoting the functions of spleen, stomach, lung channels.

2.5 Pu Gong Ying ( Herba Taraxaci Mongolici cum Radice)(13)
Pu Gong Ying also best known as Dandelion. The bitter, cold and sweet herb has been used in TCM as a diuretic and to promote bile secretion, protect the liver, inhibit staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa as it clears heat, expels toxins, drains Dampness by enhencing the function of liver and stomach channels.

C. Kidney and liver yin deficiency(14)
Kidney and liver yin deficiency cause of yang elevation, toxin accumulation and blood stagnation in the bladder that can lead to the forming of tumor.
This type is mostly seen at the advanced age, or chemotherapy or radiotherapy cause of heat reaction or complicated by infection.
1. Symptoms include(14)
1.a. Frequent urination, sometimes
1.b. Blood in the urine
1. c. Abdominal distension and pain
1.d. Back pain
1.e. Dry mouth but don’t like to drink
1.f. Constipation
1.g. Light red tongue with little fur, or uncoated and smooth tongue
1. h. Thready pulse

2. Treatment with Chinese Herbs
The main functions of herb are to nourish yin, invigorate kidney, clear stagnation and detoxify.
2.1.  Mai Dong (Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici)(15)
Mai Dong is also known as Ophiopogon Root. The sweet, slight bitter and cold herb has been used in TCM to improve contraction of heart muscles, recovery of cells of the pancreas and immune system, protect heart muscle, lower blood sugar and anti-arrhythmia as it
moistens the lungs, nourishes Lung-Yin, benefits the stomach and the heart, promotes generation of body fluids, clear heat by promoting the functions of heart, lung, stomach channels.

2.2.  Shi Hu (Herba Dendrobii)(16)
Shi Hu is also known as Dendrobium. The sweet, bland, slightly cold herb has been used in TCM to treat weakness after febrile diseases, thirsty, thromboangitis obliterans, chronic throat infection, blurry vision and weak lower back as it nourishes the stomach and yin, clear heat, promotes generation of body fluids by enhancing the lung and stomach channels.

2.3. Nu Zhen Zi (Fructus Ligustri Lucidi)(17)
Nu Zhen Zi is also known as Glossy Privet Fruit. The bitter, sweet and neutral herb has been used to promote immune system and circulatory system, anti inflammatory, anti cancer properties, lower blood sugar and protect the liver as it tonifies the liver and kidneys, clears heat and improves vision by soothing the functions of liver and kidney channels.

2.4. Long Kui (Herb Solani nigri)(18)
Long Kui is also known as wonderberry. The bitter, cold, slightly sweet and toxic herb has been used in TCM as diuretic and antipyretic and to treat acute kidney inflammation, chronic bronchitis, throat cancer, larynx Cancer, uterus cancer as it clears heat, eliminates toxin, improve urination by enhancing the function of liver, kidney and stomach channels.

2.5. Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae Cocos)(19)
Fu Ling is also known as Indian Bread. The sweet, bland, neutral herb has been used in TCM as a diuretics and to treat insomnia or forgetfulness, loss of appetite and inflammation of the uterus and chronic sinusitis as it eliminates water, strengthens the spleen, calms the mind, clear damp-heat by enhancing the function of heart, spleen, lung, kidney channels.

Treated Bladder Cancer with Foods in TCM
In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb, Ling Zhi (Reishi mushroom) is viewed to process substances with antibacteria, antivirus and antitumor properties.

 In general public, most mushrooms contain the same values but differing in volume.
1. Shiitake or Chinese black mushroom(20)
Shiitake contains protein, glutamic acid, low cholesterol, β-glucosidase and 18 amino acids. Some researchers found that shiitake mushroom may stimulate the immune system, possess antibacterial properties, reduce platelet aggregation, and possess antiviral properties, possibly through antiviral agents known as proteinase inhibitors.

Lentinan in Shiitake enhances the immune function and prevents our body against cancer. The substance of interferon inducer may be used to treat cancer(21).

2. Agaricus campestris
Agaricus campestris contains high amount of B vitamin and inorganic salts. In rat study, researchers found that Agaricus campestris inhibits the progression of cancer cells(22).

3. Hericium erinaceus

One of the favorite food in many Chinese expensive recipe, Hericium erinaceus may inhibit the growth of tumor. In China, Some of the pharmaceutical drug company have made them in form of Mushroom slices for use in preventing and treating stomach and Esophageal cancer(23).

4. Tremella(24)
Tremella contains high amount of fiber, protein, calcium, polysaccharides, etc. Researchers found that tremella enhances the immune system scavenging, T cells and B lymphocytes functions, thus preventing the progression of cancer cells.

5. Flammulina(25)
Beside it has been used in TCM to treat liver inflammation, ulcer and lower blood cholesterol, in 1982 study, researchers in Japan found that certain substances in flammulina help to protect our body against cells DNA mutation cause of cancer.

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Sources
(1) Kyle J. Norton, Bladder Cancer
(2) Blood in Urine and Chinese Medicine by Shen-Nong-Shi
(3)Shui Niu Jiao (Bubalus bubalis) by American Dragon

(4) Heart Fire, The kind of Heat in your Heart you don’t want! by Acupuncture Points
(5) Chinese Herbs – Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae) 
(6) Chinese Herbs -Lian Xin or Lian Zi Xin (Plumula Nelumbinis Nuciferae)
(7) Dan Zhu Ye (Lophatherum Stem and Leaves)
(8) Damp Heat Moving Down Ward to Bladder
(9) Che Qian Zi (Plantago Seed, Plantain Seed)
(10) Bian Xu (Herba Polygoni Avicularis)
(11) Chinese Herbs – Bo Ye (Cacumen Biotae Orientalis)
(12) Chinese Herbs – Yi Yi Ren (Semen Coicis Lachryma-Jobi)
(13) Pu Gong Ying (Dandelion)
(14) Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency
(15) Chinese Herbs – Mai Dong or Mai Men Dong (Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici)
(16) Chinese Herbs – Shi Hu (Herba Dendrobii)
(17) Chinese Herbs – Nu Zhen Zi (Fructus Ligustri Lucidi)
(18) Chinese Herbs– Long Kui (Herb Solani nigri)
(19) Chinese Herbs – Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae Cocos)
(20_ Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review by Seema Patel1 and Arun Goyal(PMC)
(21) NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
(22) Medicinal Mushroom Extracts Possess Differential Antioxidant Activity and Cytotoxicity to Cancer Cells by Elbatrawy EN1, Ghonimy EA2, Alassar MM3, Wu FS(PubMed).
(23) Anticancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers by Li G1, Yu K1, Li F1, Xu K1, Li J1, He S2, Cao S3, Tan G(PubMed)
(24) Comparison of Immunomodulatory and Anticancer Activities in Different Strains of Tremella fuciformis Berk by Han CK1, Chiang HC2, Lin CY3, Tang CH4, Lee H5,6,7,8, Huang DD3, Zeng YR3, Chuang TN3, Huang YL(PubMed)
(25) Treatment of cancer with mushroom products by Monro JA(PubMed).