Stomach Yin Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 胃阴虚

Pinyin name: Wèi Yīn Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Stomach Yin Deficiency / Empty

Related conditions: Asthma Diabetes Pneumonia and eleven other conditions


Common symptoms: Thirst Retching Dry mouth Hiccuping Dry throat and eleven other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

The Stomach is responsible for receiving foods and drinks, ripening them and sending them to the Spleen for further digestion. Therefore, the Stomach is the origin of Body Fluids. It is also an Organ that likes Cold and Dampness which are both Yin characteristics. Stomach Yin Deficiency harms the Organ's functions and cause Dryness and Heat. As a result, symptoms such as thirst, dry stools, dry mouth and dry throat appear. 

However, this is just Empty Heat due to lacking of Yin (and not the Excess of Yang), so the feeling of Heat often only happens in the afternoons or evenings. The patients experiences thirst or hunger but there is no desire to drink or eat, or they only drink in small sips. They also prefer warm liquids and their appetite is poor. Due to lack of Body Fluids, there is constipation with dry stools. Retching and hiccups may occur as Stomach's Qi downward function is impaired. 

Unbalanced diet and bad eating habits are the major reasons for this pattern. The patients may often consume spicy and acrid foods, which deplete Stomach Fluids and Yin. Prolonged irregular eating habits also have similar negative impact, such as eating on the run, skipping meals, eating while working, having late meals or working right after eating. Finally chronic Stomach disease can also be a cause. In additional to above reasons, a high fever during an infectious disease or overconsumption of antibiotics can also lead to an acute Stomach Yin Deficiency. 

The treatment principle is to nourish Stomach Yin and Body Fluids.

Related conditions

Chronic gastritis Peptic ulcers Hypertension Chronic bronchitis Asthma Pneumonia Pertussis Bronchiectasis Diabetes Laryngitis Lung atrophy Acute bronchitis Reactive lymphoid hyperplasia Radiation therapy side effects

Diagnosing Stomach Yin Deficiency

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

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 Yin Deficiency will tend to exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Stomach Yin Deficiency might experience symptoms like epigastric pain, dry mouth, poor appetite and feeling of heat in the afternoon (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Stomach Yin Deficiency

Mai Men Dong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Stomach. Generates Body Fluids. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Formula summary

Mai Men Dong Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that enrich Yin and moisten Dryness.

Besides Stomach Yin Deficiency, Mai Men Dong Tang is also used to treat Lung Yin Deficiency or Stomach Deficiency.

Read more about Mai Men Dong Tang

Yi Wei Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Strengthen the Stomach. Creates Body Fluids.

Formula summary

Yi Wei Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) and Dwarf Lilyturf Roots (Mai Dong) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1798 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Read more about Yi Wei Tang

Diet recommendations

Unhealthy eating habit is often responsible for Stomach Yin Deficiency, such as late dinner, skipping meals, short and hectic lunch, working while eating, back to work right after eating.

Also the overconsumption of spicy and acrid food may also lead to this pattern.

Most important herbs used to treat Stomach Yin Deficiency