The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Epigastric pain 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 epigastric pain 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 epigastric pain is often associated with constipation, dry mouth and bleeding gums in the pattern “Stomach Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause epigastric pain.
Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of epigastric pain 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 epigastric pain.
In Chinese Medicine epigastric pain 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.
Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)
Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating
Tongue color: Red
Stomach Yin Deficiency causes Dryness and Heat, which harms the Organ's ability of receiving and ripening foods and drinks. It is the result of prolonged unbalanced diet and irregular eating habits.
Stomach Yin Deficiency is often treated with Mai Men Dong Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Dwarf Lilyturf Roots - Mai Dong - as a key herb). Mai Men Dong Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that enrich yin and moisten dryness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Stomach".
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red centre
Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst and gum bleeding. Stomach Fire can be the result of excessive intake of hot, spicy, greasy and deep fried foods or other factors such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar.
Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat is often treated with Qing Wei San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Qing Wei San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Stomach Fire".
Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)
Tongue color: Bluish-Purple
Stomach Blood Stagnation is often treated with Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates the Blood".
The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)
Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating
Tongue shape: Swollen
Phlegm Heat in the Lungs is often treated with Xiao Xian Xiong Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Snake Gourds - Gua Lou - as a key herb). Xiao Xian Xiong Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat".
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Key actions: Strengthen the Stomach. Creates Body Fluids.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Yin Deficiency' of which epigastric pain is a symptom.
Source date: 1336 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Key actions: Drains Stomach Fire. Cools the Blood. Nourishes the Yin.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' of which epigastric pain is a symptom.
Source date: 1830 AD
Number of ingredients: 11 herbs
Key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Dispels blood Stagnation. Spreads the Liver Qi. Unblocks the channels.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Blood Stagnation' of which epigastric pain is a symptom.
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 3 herbs
Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Phlegm. Expands the chest. Dissipates clumps.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Heat in the Lungs' of which epigastric pain is a symptom.
Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.
Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.
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
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.
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.