Stomach Qi Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 胃气虚

Pinyin name: Wèi Qì Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Stomach Qi Deficiency / Empty


Common symptoms: Fatigue Weak Limbs Loose stools Poor appetite Lack of taste and one other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Stomach Qi Deficiency is one of the most commonly seen patterns in TCM practices and it is also a very typical cause of chronic fatigue, a very contemporary condition! A weak Stomach pulse and feeling tired in the mornings are sufficient signs to diagnose this pattern. 

The Stomach is the origin of Post-Heaven Qi since it starts the Qi creating process by receiving ingested food and drinks and then rots and ripes them. When Stomach Qi is weak, all other Organs suffer. Fatigue is the main symptom and it is especially obvious in the morning because the Stomach functions are usually most active at that time.

The Spleen and Stomach are closely related, the Deficiency of one Organ's Qi affect the other one. Spleen Qi Deficiency often results from the pattern of Stomach Qi Deficiency.  

Diet is the most common reason for any Stomach disharmonies. Irregular eating schedule, undereating, or a diet poor in protein and nutrition leads to the Deficiency of Stomach Qi. Other than that, chronic diseases harm body Qi in general which includes Stomach Qi. 

The treatment principle is to tonify Stomach Qi. 

Diagnosing Stomach Qi Deficiency

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

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Possible symptoms: Fatigue Weak Limbs Loose stools Poor appetite Lack of taste Epigastrium discomfort

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 Stomach Qi Deficiency will tend to exhibit empty (Xu) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Stomach Qi Deficiency might experience symptoms like poor appetite, loose stools, fatigue and weak limbs (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Stomach Qi Deficiency

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Formula summary

Si Jun Zi Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi.

Besides Stomach Qi Deficiency, Si Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Qi Deficiency or Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency.

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang

Most important herbs used to treat Stomach Qi Deficiency