Gastroenteritis according to Chinese Medicine

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Gastroenteritis factsheet

Possible causes and remedies:

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

To understand whether someone's gastroenteritis 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 gastroenteritis alone. For instance when gastroenteritis is caused by the pattern Summer Heat, patients also experience symptoms such as fever, sweating, thirst and irritability. Similarly, patients with Summer Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as a tongue with yellow coating.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with gastroenteritis 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 Yi San, a formula that can help treat the patterns Summer Heat and Damp-Heat in the Bladder.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with gastroenteritis

Talc (Hua Shi) is the key herb for Liu Yi San, a formula used for Summer Heat

Summer Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Soggy (Ru)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Recommended herbal formula: Liu Yi San

Symptoms: Fever Thirst Sweating Diarrhea Vomiting Irritability Urinary difficulty

Gastroenteritis might be due to Summer Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as fever, sweating, thirst and irritability. Similarly, patients with Summer Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or soggy (Ru) pulses as well as a tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Summer Heat here

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

Damp-Heat in the Bladder

Gastroenteritis might be due to Damp-Heat in the Bladder if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as painful urinary dribbling and stony painful urinary dribbling.

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Bladder here

Liu Yi San, a herbal formula that might help with gastroenteritis

Liu Yi San

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Clears Summer-Heat. Drains Dampness. Supplements Qi.

Why might Liu Yi San help with gastroenteritis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Summer Heat and Damp-Heat in the Bladder which are sometimes associated with gastroenteritis. 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 Yi San here

Most common herbs used to treat gastroenteritis in Chinese Medicine