Chronic Constipationaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Stool and Bowel Irregularities

Parent symptom: Constipation

What is Chronic Constipation?

Chronic constipation is a prevalent digestive condition marked by infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stool, or a sensation of incomplete evacuation. This condition can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, leading to discomfort and potential health complications.

Synonyms such as habitual constipation, long-standing constipation, and persistent difficulty passing stool underline the enduring nature of this ailment, distinguishing it from occasional constipation that many experience temporarily due to dietary changes or short-term stress.

How does TCM view Chronic Constipation?

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chronic constipation is more than just a symptom of poor diet or insufficient water intake; it is seen as a sign of deeper imbalances within the body's energy systems.

TCM identifies various patterns of disharmony, such as Qi Stagnation, Blood Deficiency, Full Heat, or organ imbalance, which can lead to this persistent condition. Treatment focuses on restoring balance, emphasizing the need to diagnose the specific underlying pattern before proceeding with tailored herbal formulas and acupuncture.

Causes of Chronic Constipation according to TCM

In TCM, chronic constipation is attributed to several pathological patterns such as Heat accumulation or Blood Deficiency. Heat or Dryness, especially in the Large Intestine, results from emotional stress or external, leading to impaired movement of stool through the intestines.

Blood Deficiency, on the other hand, reflects a lack of nourishing Body Fluids in the body, resulting in dry stools that are difficult to pass. These insights guide TCM practitioners in selecting the most appropriate treatments, which may include lifestyle modifications, dietary advice, herbal remedies, and acupuncture, to address the root cause of constipation.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Chronic Constipation

TCM offers a variety of formulas and herbs specifically chosen to counteract chronic constipation by targeting the underlying patterns of imbalance. Formulas that moisten the intestines and unblock bowels, such as Ma Zi Ren Wan with its key ingredient Hemp Seeds (Huo Ma Ren), are frequently recommended for conditions related to Heat in the Large Intestine or Large Intestine Dryness.

Similarly, Ji Chuan Jian, leveraging the properties of Desert-Living Cistanches (Rou Cong Rong), aims to nourish the Yin and facilitate bowel movement. For cases involving Blood Stagnation, Di Dang Tang with leeches (Shui Zhi) can invigorate Blood and eliminate stasis, providing relief. These treatments exemplify the holistic approach of TCM, focusing on restoring the body's natural equilibrium and promoting long-term health and wellness.

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

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that moisten intestines and unblock bowels
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation
  • Formulas that release the exterior and purge the interior

All "formulas that moisten intestines and unblock bowels" recommended for chronic constipation

Formula Key herbs
Ji Chuan Jian Desert-Living Cistanches (Rou Cong Rong)
Ma Zi Ren Wan Hemp Seeds (Huo Ma Ren)
Run Chang Wan Hemp Seeds (Huo Ma Ren), Peach Kernels (Tao Ren)

TCM Herbs for Chronic Constipation

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Tonic herbs for yang deficiency
  • Laxative herbs that drain downward

"Herbs that invigorate the Blood" recommended for chronic constipation

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Leeches (Shui Zhi) Di Dang Tang
Tabanus Horseflies (Meng Chong) Di Dang Tang
Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) Run Chang Wan

"Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior" recommended for chronic constipation

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng) Fang Feng Tong Sheng San
Ephedra (Ma Huang) Fang Feng Tong Sheng San

"Purgative herbs that drain downward" recommended for chronic constipation

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Rhubarb (Da Huang) Fang Feng Tong Sheng San
Mirabilites (Mang Xiao) Fang Feng Tong Sheng San