Acid reflux according to Chinese Medicine

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Acid reflux factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, acid reflux can be associated with two so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here acid reflux can be caused by two different patterns.

To understand whether someone's acid reflux might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from acid reflux alone. For instance when acid reflux is caused by the pattern Spleen Qi Deficiency, patients also experience symptoms such as pale complexion, weak voice, poor appetite and loose stools. Similarly, patients with Spleen Qi Deficiency typically exhibit soggy (Ru) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with acid reflux so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below Liu Jun Zi Tang, a formula that can help treat the patterns Spleen Qi Deficiency and Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with acid reflux

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Spleen Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Liu Jun Zi Tang

Symptoms: Weak voice Loose stools Poor appetite Pale complexion Weakness in the limbs

Acid reflux might be due to Spleen Qi Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as pale complexion, weak voice, poor appetite and loose stools. Similarly, patients with Spleen Qi Deficiency typically exhibit soggy (Ru) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Spleen Qi Deficiency here

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner

Acid reflux might be due to Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium and focal distention.

Read more about Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner here

Liu Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula that might help with acid reflux

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with acid reflux?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Spleen Qi Deficiency and Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner which are sometimes associated with acid reflux. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here