Food Stagnation in the Stomach

At a glance

Preliminary reading: What is a pattern?

Key attributes

Chinese name: 食滞胃脘      Pinyin name: Shí Zhì Wèi Wǎn

Pattern nature: Full

Causes

Precursor patterns: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Common causes: Eating habits

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Nausea Belching Insomnia Foul breath Poor appetite and four other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)

Tongue description: Thick coating which can be white or yellow

Treatment

Treatment principle: Resolve retention of Food, stimulate the descending of Stomach Qi.

Common formulas: Bao He Wan Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan

Pathology

This pattern tends to mostly occur in children or babies whose Stomach and Spleen are weak and food therefore tends to accumulate.

Adults can be affected too: most people can probably remember overeating a holiday meal with the accompanying bloating, belching, pain and poor sleep that resulted.

The basic mechanism is that food is improperly digested and thus retained in the Stomach. It causes a blockage and feeling of fullness and pain in the epigastrium.

Stomach Qi then becomes obstructed and rebels upwards, leading to symptoms of vomiting, nausea, belching and sour regurgitation.

The foul breath is due to the fermentation of food in the Stomach for too long.

Insomnia can also occur from this because an obstruction in the Middle Burner prevents Heart Qi from descending, which causes the Mind to be disturbed at night.

Causes

Precursor patterns: Food Stagnation in the Stomach can derive from Spleen Qi Deficiency

Eating habits: The main cause of this pattern is overeating but it can also be due to eating too quickly, eating in a hurry or eating while worried or stressed.

Diagnosing Food Stagnation in the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua) or full (Shi)

Tongue description: Thick coating which can be white or yellow

Main symptoms: Nausea Belching Insomnia Foul breath Poor appetite Sour regurgitation vomiting of sour fluids Loose stools or constipation Fullness and pain of the epigastrium which are relieved by vomiting

Diagnosis commentary: Epigastric fullness, sour regurgitation and a thick tongue coating are enough in and of themselves to diagnose retention of Food in the Stomach.

Treating Food Stagnation in the Stomach

Treatment principle

Resolve retention of Food, stimulate the descending of Stomach Qi.

Herbal formulas used to treat Food Stagnation in the Stomach

Bao He Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Reduces food stagnation. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Formula summary

Bao He Wan is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that reduce food accumulation and transform Stagnation.

Read more about Bao He Wan

Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan

Source date: 1247 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Reduces and guides out stagnation and accumulation. Drains heat. Dispels dampness.

Formula summary

Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1247 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that reduce food accumulation and transform Stagnation.

Read more about Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan

Diet recommendations

Since this pattern is commonly caused by overeating, it is wise to eat only lightly when suffering from it to leave time for the stagnation to dissipate.

Consequence patterns

Stomach Heat

If left untreated Food Stagnation in the Stomach can lead to Stomach Heat

Phlegm

The undigested food inherent to this pattern, together with the impairment of the descending of Stomach Qi, may lead to the formation of Phlegm.

Stomach Qi rebelling upwards

If left untreated Food Stagnation in the Stomach can lead to Stomach Qi rebelling upwards