Intestinal Obstructionaccording to TCM

What is Intestinal Obstruction?

Intestinal obstruction is a medical condition characterized by a partial or complete blockage in the intestines, which impedes the normal passage of contents through the digestive tract. This condition can lead to symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, bloating, inability to pass gas or stools, and vomiting. The causes of intestinal obstruction are varied, ranging from physical impediments like tumors or scar tissue to functional disturbances in bowel movements.

How does TCM View Intestinal Obstruction?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) interprets intestinal obstruction through the lens of disrupted energy flows, particularly in the digestive system. TCM identifies key imbalances such as Qi Stagnation or the buildup of Heat in the Intestines as one of the contributors to such obstructions. The focus of TCM treatment is to correct these imbalances, thereby restoring the smooth flow of Qi and addressing the specific disharmonies present in the body.

Causes of Intestinal Obstruction According to TCM

In TCM, a variety of patterns can lead to intestinal obstruction. Notably, Qi Stagnation is seen as a major cause, as it disrupts the smooth movement of energy and Body Fluids, resulting in pain and bloating. Another significant factor is the accumulation of Heat within the intestines, which can lead to inflammation and swelling. TCM treatments aim to alleviate these root causes, promoting the flow of Qi and clearing out any excess Damp-Heat.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Intestinal Obstruction

TCM employs specific formulas and herbs to address the underlying causes of intestinal obstruction. When Qi Deficiency and Cold are present, formulas like San Wu Bei Ji Wan and Wen Pi Tang are used for their warming and purging effects.

For conditions of Heat in the Large Intestine, Ma Zi Ren Wan is suggested to moisten the intestines and facilitate bowel movements.

In cases of Blood Stagnation, Dang Gui Shao Yao San is beneficial for improving Blood circulation and removing obstructions caused by Stagnant Blood. Huang Long Tang is effective in situations requiring both purging and nourishing actions, while Ping Wei San is ideal for treating dampness affecting the Spleen and Stomach. These formulas are selected based on a comprehensive TCM diagnosis, focusing on treating the intestinal obstruction holistically.

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

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that warm and purge
  • Formulas that moisten intestines and unblock bowels
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation
  • Formulas that simultaneously attack and tonify
  • Formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach

All "formulas that warm and purge" recommended for intestinal obstruction

Formula Key herbs
San Wu Bei Ji Wan Croton Fruits (Ba Dou)
Wen Pi Tang Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi), Rhubarb (Da Huang)

TCM Herbs for Intestinal Obstruction

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

  • By Herb Category
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Laxative herbs that drain downward
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency
  • Aromatic herbs that transform dampness
  • Cathartic herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that warm the interior and/or expel cold

"Purgative herbs that drain downward" recommended for intestinal obstruction

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Rhubarb (Da Huang) Huang Long Tang | Wen Pi Tang
Mirabilites (Mang Xiao) Huang Long Tang