Esophageal spasms according to Chinese Medicine

Home > List of conditions > Esophageal spasms

In Chinese Medicine, esophageal spasms 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 esophageal spasms can be caused by two different patterns.

To understand whether someone's esophageal spasms 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 esophageal spasms alone. For instance when esophageal spasms is caused by the pattern Qi-Phlegm, patients also experience symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes and stuffiness of chest and diaphragm. Similarly, patients with Qi-Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with esophageal spasms 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 two formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with esophageal spasms, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with esophageal spasms

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the key herb for Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a formula used for Qi-Phlegm

Qi-Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Symptoms: Difficulty swallowing Stuffiness of chest and diaphragm Feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes

Esophageal spasms might be due to Qi-Phlegm if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes and stuffiness of chest and diaphragm. Similarly, patients with Qi-Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Qi-Phlegm here

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

Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Symptoms: Hiccuping Regurgitation Nausea or vomiting Unremitting belching Hard epigastric focal distention

Esophageal spasms might be due to Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as unremitting belching, hiccuping, regurgitation and nausea or vomiting. Similarly, patients with Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm here

The two herbal formulas that might help with esophageal spasms

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm. Clears Phlegm.

Why might Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang help with esophageal spasms?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Qi-Phlegm, a pattern sometimes associated with esophageal spasms. If it looks like you might suffer from Qi-Phlegm, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi. Expectorant, treats hiccups.

Why might Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang help with esophageal spasms?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm, a pattern sometimes associated with esophageal spasms. If it looks like you might suffer from Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang here