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Lethargy is a condition where one often feels tired, slow, low in energy, heavy in limbs, sleepy or even drowsy all the time. Some may feel lethargic easily after a heavy meal, and some may doze off during class or work.

In TCM, lethargy is believed to be a sign of underlying disharmonies in the body that requires early attention. It occurs more often among overweight people as they tend to accumulate Dampness in the body. People with weak digestive systems may also experience lethargy.

Age, diseases, drugs or medications, organ dysfunction and lifestyle habits are some of the probable factors which cause lethargy.

General Treatment Principle

In general, Chinese herbs that strengthen the Stomach and Spleen functions are Black Atractylodes (Cangzhu, 苍术), Patchouli (Huoxiang, 藿香), Eupatorium (Peilan, 佩兰), Coix Barley (Yiyiren, 薏苡仁),Poria (Fuling, 茯苓) and Tangerine Peel (Chenpi, 陈皮).

Herbs that help remove dampness are also useful for relieving lethargy. Some examples include the White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), raw Barley Sprout (Shengmaiya, 生麦芽) and Fermented Dough (Shenqu, 神曲). Other herbs that promote blood circulation are often added to the prescription to enhance effectiveness.

It is crucial to restore the natural flow of Qi when treating any disharmony in your body. In addition to Qi-tonifying herbs like Ginseng (Renshen, 人参), Astragalus Root (Huangqi, 黄芪) and Codonopsis Root (Dangshen, 党参), acupuncture or cupping are useful for promoting the smooth flow of Qi, which relieves the symptoms of lethargy.