Hypochondriac pain according to Chinese Medicine

fixed pain in the hypochondria redirects here

Hypochondriac 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 hypochondriac 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 hypochondriac pain is often associated with irritability, vomiting and poor appetite in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause hypochondriac pain.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of hypochondriac pain 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 hypochondriac pain.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause hypochondriac pain

In Chinese Medicine hypochondriac pain 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.

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 hypochondriac pain, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-stagnation include irritability, vomiting and poor appetite.

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

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids

Phlegm-Fluids

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

In addition to hypochondriac pain, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids include shortness of breath, coughing and vomiting of watery fluids.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids 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-Fluids 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 hypochondriac pain, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-qi-stagnation include irritability, nausea and constipation.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-qi-stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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

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

Dampness in the Gallbladder

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to hypochondriac pain, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-in-the-gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, inability to digest fats and jaundice.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-in-the-gallbladder is often treated with San Ren Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Apricot Seeds - Xing Ren - as a key herb). San Ren Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Damp-Heat".

Read more about Dampness in the Gallbladder 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 hypochondriac pain, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/rebellious-liver-qi-invading-the-stomach include irritability, hypochondrial distention and epigastric pain.

/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 hypochondriac pain

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 hypochondriac pain?

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

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with hypochondriac pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids' of which hypochondrial pain that is worse on coughing and breathing is a symptom.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

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 hypochondriac pain?

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

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

San Ren Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Damp-Heat. Disseminates the Qi. Facilitates the Qi mechanisms.

Why might San Ren Tang help with hypochondriac pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-in-the-gallbladder' of which hypochondriac pain is a symptom.

Read more about San Ren Tang 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 hypochondriac pain?

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

Read more about Si Mo Tang here

Acupuncture points used for hypochondriac pain

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat hypochondriac pain

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with hypochondriac pain?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondriac pain as a symptom, like Ping Wei San or Er Chen 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with hypochondriac pain?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondriac pain as a symptom, like Yue Ju Wan or Zhen Wu Tang 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 Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with hypochondriac pain?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondriac pain as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao 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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with hypochondriac pain?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondriac pain as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Wu Ling San 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

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with hypochondriac pain?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondriac pain as a symptom, like Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang or Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here