Stomach Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Related conditions: Morning sickness

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Tiredness Dry mouth Depression Poor appetite Feeling of cold and one other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Stomach Deficiency is a pattern of disharmony in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine views the human body as a complex system that tends toward harmony. A pattern of disharmony is a disorder that prevents that harmony from occurring.

Patterns give rise to symptoms that may at first glance seem unrelated from a Western standpoint but that actually make a lot of sense when one understands Chinese Medicine theory. For instance here Stomach Deficiency gives rise to such diverse symptoms as nausea or vomiting, tiredness, feeling of cold and poor appetite (as well as two others).

To diagnose a pattern, analyzing a patient's pulse as well as their tongue is common practice. In the case of Stomach Deficiency patients tend to exhibit weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Patterns aren't exactly the Chinese Medicine equivalent to Western diseases, they're rather the underlying causes behind diseases or health conditions. Here Stomach Deficiency is thought to sometimes induce conditions such as morning sickness.

Diagnosing Stomach Deficiency

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

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Possible symptoms: Tiredness Dry mouth Depression Poor appetite Feeling of cold Nausea or 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 Stomach Deficiency will tend to exhibit weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Stomach Deficiency might experience symptoms like nausea or vomiting, tiredness, feeling of cold and poor appetite (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Stomach Deficiency

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1675 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Spleen and Stomach Qi. Removes Dampness. Moves Qi. Alleviates pain.

Formula summary

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1675 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dispel Phlegm.

Besides Stomach Deficiency, Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Phlegm or Phlegm in the Uterus.

Read more about Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Formula summary

Er Chen Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) and Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1148 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

Besides Stomach Deficiency, Er Chen Tang is also used to treat Phlegm or Damp-Cold Phlegm.

Read more about Er Chen Tang

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

Read more about Mai Men Dong Tang

Special highlight: the link between morning sickness and Stomach Deficiency

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the key herb for Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang, a formula used for morning sickness caused by Stomach Deficiency

Typical symptoms for morning sickness caused by Stomach Deficiency: Tiredness Dry mouth Depression Poor appetite Feeling of cold Nausea or vomiting

Recommended herbal formulas: Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang, Er Chen Tang, Mai Men Dong Tang

There are two types of Stomach Deficiency that can lead to morning sickness: Stomach Qi Deficiency with Empty Cold and Stomach Yin Deficiency with Empty Heat. The latter one is more common among older women.

Qi is a Yang element (which is naturally Hot), so a Qi Deficiency results in Cold symptoms such as a feeling of cold. In contrast Yin Deficiency normally causes Heat symptoms such as feeling of heat in the evening, malar flush or night sweats.

Despite causing fairly different symptoms, the...Read more about morning sickness