Belching according to Chinese Medicine

Home > Symptoms list > Belching

Belching can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like belching here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here belching is often associated with irritability, epigastric distension and sour regurgitation in the pattern “Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause belching.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of belching we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat belching.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause belching

In Chinese Medicine belching is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach include irritability, epigastric distension and sour regurgitation.

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach is often treated with Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Inula Flowers - Xuan Fu Hua - as a key herb). Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang belongs to the category of "formulas for a rebellious qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi".

Read more about Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach here

Inula Flowers (Xuan Fu Hua) is the king ingredient for Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, a formula used for Rebellious Qi

Rebellious Qi

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Red sides

Rebellious Qi is when Qi flows in the wrong direction. For instance, if one suffers from a rebellious Stomach Qi (a common case), the normal downward flow of Stomach Qi is disrupted and it goes upward instead. This may result in nausea, vomiting, belching or hiccupping.

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with Rebellious Qi include vomiting, nausea and insomnia.

Rebellious Qi is often treated with Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Inula Flowers - Xuan Fu Hua - as a key herb). Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang belongs to the category of "formulas for a rebellious qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi".

Read more about Rebellious Qi here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include irritability, poor appetite and vomiting.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm here

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

Rebellious Stomach Qi

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with Rebellious Stomach Qi include vomiting, nausea and difficulty swallowing.

Rebellious Stomach Qi is often treated with Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Cloves - Ding Xiang - as a key herb). Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang belongs to the category of "formulas for a rebellious qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Augments the Qi".

Read more about Rebellious Stomach Qi here

Four herbal formulas that might help with belching

Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang

Source date: 1706 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Augments the Qi. Warms the Middle Burner. Directs Rebellious Qi downward. Stops hiccup.

Why might Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach' of which belching is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Liver Qi Invading The Stomach include irritability, epigastric distension and sour regurgitation.

Read more about Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang here

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi. Expectorant, treats hiccups.

Why might Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Rebellious Qi' of which belching is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Qi include vomiting, nausea and insomnia.

Read more about Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang here

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm. Clears Phlegm.

Why might Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which belching is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Menopausal Syndrome.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Rebellious Stomach Qi' of which belching is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Stomach Qi include vomiting, nausea and difficulty swallowing.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San here

Acupuncture points used for belching

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat belching

Why might Persimmon Calyx (Shi Di) help with belching?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat belching and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat belching as a symptom (such as Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang for instance).

Persimmon Calyxes is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Directs the flow of Qi downward

Read more about Persimmon Calyxes here

Why might Inula Flower (Xuan Fu Hua) help with belching?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat belching and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat belching as a symptom (such as Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang for instance).

Inula Flowers is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Moves Stagnant Phlegm in the Lungs. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi of the Lungs and Stomach.

Read more about Inula Flowers here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with belching?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat belching as a symptom, like Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang or Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with belching?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat belching as a symptom, like Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang or Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with belching?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat belching as a symptom, like Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang or Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Conditions associated with belching

Menopausal syndrome Morning sickness