Belching according to Chinese Medicine

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 vomiting, nausea and insomnia in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-qi”. As you will see below, we have in record five 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 five 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 five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause belching

In Chinese Medicine belching is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Inula Flowers (Xuan Fu Hua) is the king ingredient for Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/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 /tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-qi include vomiting, nausea and insomnia.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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

Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) is the king ingredient for Xiao Yao San, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation

Qi Stagnation

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

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Red sides

Qi Stagnation refers to Qi becoming stuck or stagnant, a bit like a traffic jam on the freeway. This restricted flow of Qi can be body-wide or happen in any specific Organ.

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation include irritability, poor appetite and vomiting.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Qi Stagnation here

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

Food Stagnation in the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/food-stagnation-in-the-stomach include poor appetite, nausea and insomnia.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/food-stagnation-in-the-stomach is often treated with Bao He Wan, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Hawthorn Berries - Shan Zha - as a key herb). Bao He Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that reduce food accumulation and transform stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Reduces food stagnation".

Read more about Food Stagnation in the Stomach here

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

Rebellious Liver Qi

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-liver-qi include irritability, dizziness and epigastric distension.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-liver-qi is often treated with Chai Hu Shu Gan San, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Chai Hu Shu Gan San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote qi movement", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood".

Read more about Rebellious Liver Qi here

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

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

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

In addition to belching, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-liver-qi-invading-the-stomach include irritability, epigastric distension and sour regurgitation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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

Five herbal formulas that might help with belching

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Why might Chai Hu Shu Gan San help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-qi' of which belching is a symptom.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

Si Mo Tang

Source date: 1253 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Directs rebellious Qi downward. Expands the chest and dissipates clumping.

Why might Si Mo Tang help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation' of which belching is a symptom.

Read more about Si Mo Tang here

Bao He Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Reduces food stagnation. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Bao He Wan help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/food-stagnation-in-the-stomach' of which belching is a symptom.

Read more about Bao He Wan here

Si Ni San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Regulates Liver and Spleen. Eliminates Internal Heat.

Why might Si Ni San help with belching?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-liver-qi' of which belching is a symptom.

Read more about Si Ni San 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 '/tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-liver-qi-invading-the-stomach' of which belching is a symptom.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang 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 Si Ni San or Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang for instance.

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

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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with belching?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat belching as a symptom, like Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang or Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel 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 Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

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

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