Anorexiaaccording to TCM

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia, medically referred to as anorexia nervosa, is a serious eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and an intense fear of gaining weight, leading to extreme thinness.

It involves a distorted body image and a relentless pursuit of thinness, often resulting in severe health complications. Anorexia is not just about food; it's a complex condition intertwining psychological, social, and physical aspects, making its treatment multifaceted.

How does TCM view Anorexia?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on anorexia, viewing it as a disharmony within the body’s natural energy systems. Unlike Western medicine, which primarily focuses on psychological factors and nutritional rehabilitation, TCM looks at anorexia as a symptom of imbalances in life force, or Qi, as well as disturbances in the functions of organs like the Spleen and Stomach.

TCM emphasizes restoring harmony and balance through a holistic approach, incorporating herbal remedies, acupuncture, and dietary adjustments.

Causes of Anorexia according to TCM

In TCM, anorexia is often linked to two primary patterns: Stomach Yang Deficiency and Spleen Qi Deficiency. Stomach Yang Deficiency is characterized by a cold sensation in the Stomach, a preference for warm foods, and lethargy, indicating a decline in the 'digestive fire'.

Spleen Qi Deficiency, on the other hand, manifests as poor appetite, fatigue, and a feeling of heaviness, suggesting a weakened ability to transform and transport nutrients. Understanding these patterns is vital for TCM practitioners to create an effective treatment plan, focusing on revitalizing the body's Qi and restoring organ function.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Anorexia

For treating anorexia, TCM prescribes specific formulas based on the underlying patterns. For Stomach Yang Deficiency, Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang, with Milkvetch Roots as the key ingredient, is used to warm the Middle and dispel cold, thus revitalizing the Stomach's energy.

In cases of Spleen Qi Deficiency, Liu Jun Zi Tang, featuring Ginseng, is preferred to strengthen the spleen and lung Qi. Additionally, Wei Ling Tang, with Water Plantain, is employed to expel dampness, addressing patterns like Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus. These formulas work collectively to nourish the body, improve digestion, and enhance overall energy levels.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address anorexia, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold
  • Formulas that tonify qi
  • Formulas that expel dampness

TCM Herbs for Anorexia

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address anorexia, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency
  • Aromatic herbs that transform dampness
  • Tonic herbs for yang deficiency
  • Herbs that open the orifices
  • Herbs that drain dampness

"Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency" recommended for anorexia

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang
Maltose (Yi Tang) Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang
Ginseng (Ren Shen) Liu Jun Zi Tang
King Solomon's Seal Roots (Huang Jing) Not applicable

"Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness" recommended for anorexia

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Black Atractylodes Rhizomes (Cang Zhu) Wei Ling Tang
Amomum Fruits (Sha Ren) Not applicable