Food Stagnation in the Stomach

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 食滞胃脘

Pinyin name: Shí Zhì Wèi Wǎn

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

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.

Diagnosing Food Stagnation in the Stomach

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

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

Tongue description: Thick coating which can be white or yellow

Possible 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

Diagnosing a pattern in Chinese Medicine is no easy feat and should be left to professional practitioners.

In particular one has to know how to differentiate between different types of pulses and tongue coatings, shapes and colors. Here patients with Food Stagnation in the Stomach will tend to exhibit slippery (Hua) or full (Shi) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Food Stagnation in the Stomach might experience symptoms like fullness and pain of the epigastrium which are relieved by vomiting, nausea, vomiting of sour fluids and foul breath (full list here above).

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 with Hawthorn Berries (Shan Zha) as a principal ingredient. 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 with Immature Bitter Oranges (Zhi Shi) and Rhubarb (Da Huang) as principal ingredients. 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.