Hypochondrial distention according to Chinese Medicine

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Hypochondrial distention 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 hypochondrial distention 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 hypochondrial distention is often associated with irritability, epigastric distension and nausea in the pattern “Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause hypochondrial distention.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause hypochondrial distention

In Chinese Medicine hypochondrial distention 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.

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

Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation

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

In addition to hypochondrial distention, other symptoms associated with Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation include irritability, epigastric distension and nausea.

Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with Ping Wei San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Black Atractylodes Rhizomes - Cang Zhu - as a key herb). Ping Wei San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Dampness".

Read more about Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation here

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

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to hypochondrial distention, other symptoms associated with Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach include irritability, epigastric distension and frequent sighing.

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

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 hypochondrial distention, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include irritability, epigastric distension and depression.

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

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

Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to hypochondrial distention, other symptoms associated with Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire include irritability, bitter taste in the mouth and dizziness.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps or Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire is often treated with Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including White Peony Roots - Bai Shao - as a key herb). Xuan Yu Tong Jing 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: "Pacifies the Liver".

Read more about Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire here

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

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to hypochondrial distention, other symptoms associated with Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency include dizziness, poor appetite and fatigue.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency is often treated with Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Milkvetch Roots - Huang Qi - as a key herb). Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner)".

Read more about Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with hypochondrial distention

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with hypochondrial distention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency' of which hypochondrial distention is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here

Ping Wei San

Source date: 1051 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Dries Dampness. Improves the Spleen's transportive function. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Ping Wei San help with hypochondrial distention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation' of which hypochondrial distention is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Obstruction Of The Spleen By Dampness With Liver Qi Stagnation include irritability, epigastric distension and nausea.

Read more about Ping Wei San 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 hypochondrial distention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach' of which hypochondrial distention is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Liver Qi Invading The Stomach include irritability, epigastric distension and frequent sighing.

Read more about Si Mo 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 hypochondrial distention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which hypochondrial distention is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Liver Qi Stagnation can contribute to many health issues, including Low Breast Milk Supply.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Source date: 2002 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.

Why might Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San help with hypochondrial distention?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire' of which hypochondrial distention is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire can contribute to many health issues, including Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Read more about Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San here

Acupuncture points used for hypochondrial distention

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat hypochondrial distention

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with hypochondrial distention?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrial distention as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Ping Wei San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

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 Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with hypochondrial distention?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrial distention as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with hypochondrial distention?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrial distention 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 Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

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

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with hypochondrial distention?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrial distention as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Si Mo Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with hypochondrial distention?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrial distention as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Xiao Yao San for instance.

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

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