Churning feeling in the stomach

Home > Symptoms list > Churning feeling in the stomach

Churning feeling in the stomach 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 churning feeling in the stomach 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 churning feeling in the stomach is often associated with irritability, hypochondrial distention and epigastric distension in the pattern “Rebellious Liver Qi”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause churning feeling in the stomach.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of churning feeling in the stomach we’ve identified three 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 churning feeling in the stomach.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause churning feeling in the stomach

In Chinese Medicine churning feeling in the stomach is a symptom for 2 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

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

In addition to churning feeling in the stomach, other symptoms associated with Rebellious Liver Qi include irritability, hypochondrial distention and epigastric distension.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. The feeling of ‘Distension’ (zhang 胀) is the main symptom of Liver Qi Stagnation.

In addition to churning feeling in the stomach, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include irritability, menstrual cramps and feeling of distension.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

Liver 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 Liver Qi Stagnation here

Three herbal formulas that might help with churning feeling in the stomach

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 churning feeling in the stomach?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Rebellious Liver Qi' of which churning feeling in the stomach is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Liver Qi include irritability, hypochondrial distention and epigastric distension.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Source date: Ming dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation. Tonifies Spleen. Clears Deficient Heat. Nourishes the blood.

Why might Jia Wei Xiao Yao San help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which churning feeling in the stomach is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Qi Stagnation include irritability, menstrual cramps and feeling of distension.

Read more about Jia Wei Xiao Yao San 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 churning feeling in the stomach?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Rebellious Liver Qi' of which churning feeling in the stomach is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Liver Qi include irritability, hypochondrial distention and epigastric distension.

Read more about Si Ni San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat churning feeling in the stomach

Why might Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat churning feeling in the stomach as a symptom, like Chai Hu Shu Gan San or Si Ni San for instance.

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat churning feeling in the stomach as a symptom, like Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Yue Ju Wan for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat churning feeling in the stomach as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao 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 Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat churning feeling in the stomach as a symptom, like Chai Hu Shu Gan San or Yue Ju Wan for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat churning feeling in the stomach as a symptom, like Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Yue Ju Wan for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here