Bile Reflux Gastritisaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Gastritis Variants

Parent symptom: Gastritis

What is Bile Reflux Gastritis?

Bile reflux gastritis emerges when bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver, flows into the stomach and esophagus, irritating the stomach lining. Unlike its counterpart, acid reflux, which involves the backwash of stomach acid, bile reflux involves the presence of bile. This condition can lead to discomfort, including heartburn, nausea, and, over time, can contribute to the inflammation of the stomach lining, known as gastritis. Bile reflux gastritis can significantly impact one's quality of life, causing persistent symptoms that often require medical attention to manage effectively.

How does TCM view Bile Reflux Gastritis?

In the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) framework, bile reflux gastritis is interpreted through the lens of imbalance and disharmony within the body's internal systems. TCM doesn't recognize bile reflux as a distinct condition but sees its symptoms as manifestations of underlying imbalances such as Qi Stagnation, Phlegm-Heat in the Gallbladder, or Liver and Gallbladder disharmony.

These imbalances disrupt the smooth flow of Qi and Body Fluids, leading to the symptoms associated with bile reflux. Identifying and correcting these imbalances is crucial in TCM, aiming to restore harmony and alleviate the condition's manifestations.

Causes of Bile Reflux Gastritis According to TCM

In the eyes of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), bile reflux gastritis may arise from patterns such as Heat in the chest and Phlegm-Heat, reflecting an imbalance where Qi Stagnation coexists with Heat, or where Heat transforms Body Fluids into Phlegm. The concept of Qi Stagnation with Heat points to an obstruction in the body’s vital energy flow, combined with an Excess Heat accumulation, often manifesting in the Stomach and chest, leading to symptoms like burning sensations, nausea, and discomfort.

On the other hand, Phlegm-Heat denotes an accumulation of thick, sticky Phlegm mixed with Heat, causing symptoms such as a feeling of fullness, nausea, and a bitter taste in the mouth. TCM treatments aim to dissipate the stagnation, cool the Heat, and eliminate Phlegm to restore balance and alleviate symptoms.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Bile Reflux Gastritis

For treating symptoms associated with bile reflux gastritis, TCM suggests several targeted formulas. Zhi Zi Chi Tang, leveraging the cooling properties of Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi), is often prescribed to clear Qi-level Heat, addressing the heat and irritation in the stomach.

Xiao Xian Xiong Tang, with Snake Gourds (Gua Lou), targets Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs, which can be linked to the symptoms of bile reflux. Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang, incorporating Sweet Wormwood Herbs (Qing Hao), is selected for its effectiveness in clearing Gallbladder Heat and resolving Phlegm and Heat in the Gall Bladder, a common underlying issue in bile reflux gastritis.

Additionally, Ma Zi Ren Wan is recommended for its moistening effect on the Intestines and its ability to address Large Intestine Dryness, ensuring smoother digestion and alleviating discomfort. These formulas exemplify TCM's holistic approach, addressing not just the symptoms but the underlying imbalances contributing to the condition.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address bile reflux gastritis, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear qi-level heat
  • Formulas that clear heat and transform phlegm
  • Formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders
  • Formulas that moisten intestines and unblock bowels

TCM Herbs for Bile Reflux Gastritis

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address bile reflux gastritis, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Cool herbs that transform phlegm and stop cough
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Laxative herbs that drain downward

"Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat" recommended for bile reflux gastritis

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi) Zhi Zi Chi Tang
Sweet Wormwood Herbs (Qing Hao) Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang