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

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

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might 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 Xiao Yao San here

Yue Ju Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Releases all types of Stagnation (Qi, Blood, Phlegm, Fire, Food and Dampness).

Why might Yue Ju Wan 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 Yue Ju Wan here

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

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat churning feeling in the stomach as a symptom, like Si Ni San or Xiao Yao San for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony 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 Yue Ju Wan or Xiao Yao San 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 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 Yue Ju Wan or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San 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

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Dong Quai 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.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Coco-Grass Rhizome (Xiang Fu) help with churning feeling in the stomach?

Because Coco-Grass Rhizome 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.

Coco-Grass Rhizomes is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter, Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Liver, the Sanjiao and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Unblocks Stagnant Liver Qi and relieves pain. Regulates the Liver and Spleen. Assists the regulation of menses and relieves pain.

Read more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes here