Desire for sour foods according to Chinese Medicine

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Desire for sour foods 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 desire for sour foods 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 desire for sour foods is often associated with poor appetite, depression and belching in the pattern “Phlegm”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause desire for sour foods.

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

We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat desire for sour foods.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause desire for sour foods

In Chinese Medicine desire for sour foods 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.

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 desire for sour foods, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include poor appetite, depression and belching.

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

Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to desire for sour foods, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach include dry mouth, poor appetite and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach is associated with health issues such as Morning Sickness.

Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach is often treated with Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang 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: "Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm".

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach here

Two herbal formulas that might help with desire for sour foods

Zuo Jin Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver Heat. Directs Rebellious Qi downward. Stops vomiting.

Why might Zuo Jin Wan help with desire for sour foods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach' of which desire for sour foods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Liver Qi Stagnation invading the Stomach can contribute to many health issues, including Morning Sickness.

Read more about Zuo Jin Wan 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 desire for sour foods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which desire for sour foods is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Morning Sickness.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat desire for sour foods

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with desire for sour foods?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Jin Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with desire for sour foods as a symptom)

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with desire for sour foods?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with desire for sour foods as a symptom)

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with desire for sour foods?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with desire for sour foods as a symptom)

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here

Conditions associated with desire for sour foods

Morning sickness