Hypochondrium fullness according to Chinese Medicine

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Hypochondrium fullness 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 hypochondrium fullness 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 hypochondrium fullness is often associated with feeling of heaviness, chest fullness and vaginal discharge in the pattern “Damp Heat in the Liver”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause hypochondrium fullness.

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

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause hypochondrium fullness

In Chinese Medicine hypochondrium fullness 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.

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

Damp Heat in the Liver

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

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern is caused by excessive Heat in the Liver and Dampness due to Spleen Deficiency. Dampness can cause the formation of Phlegm.  Patients often have a feeling of fullness. It is often caused by bad diet and lifestyle, hot and damp environment and emotional stress such as anger.

In addition to hypochondrium fullness, other symptoms associated with Damp Heat in the Liver include feeling of heaviness, chest fullness and vaginal discharge.

Damp Heat in the Liver is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang 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: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Damp Heat in the Liver 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 hypochondrium fullness, other symptoms associated with Dampness in the Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, jaundice and dull-yellow complexion.

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

Stagnation of Cold in the Liver Channel

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to hypochondrium fullness, other symptoms associated with Stagnation of Cold in the Liver Channel include testicular pain, contraction of the scrotum and feeling of cold.

Stagnation of Cold in the Liver Channel is often treated with Nuan Gan Jian, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Fennel Seeds - Xiao Hui Xiang - as a key herb). Nuan Gan Jian 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: "Warms the Liver and Kidneys".

Read more about Stagnation of Cold in the Liver Channel here

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

Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Tight (Jin)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Pale

In addition to hypochondrium fullness, other symptoms associated with Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation include coughing, dizziness and headaches.

Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Chai Hu Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Chai Hu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats the Lesser Yang Channels (Gallbladder and Triple Warmer)".

Read more about Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation here

Four herbal formulas that might help with hypochondrium fullness

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp Heat in the Liver' of which hypochondrium fullness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp Heat In The Liver include feeling of heaviness, chest fullness and vaginal discharge.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Treats the Lesser Yang Channels (Gallbladder and Triple Warmer). Regulates the Liver and Spleen functions. Addresses combined Yin-Yang symptoms of External and Internal, Excess and Deficiency, and Hot and Cold.

Why might Xiao Chai Hu Tang help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation' of which hypochondrium fullness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Lung Qi Deficiency And Liver Qi Stagnation include coughing, dizziness and headaches.

Read more about Xiao Chai Hu Tang 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 hypochondrium fullness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' of which hypochondrium fullness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Dampness In The Gallbladder include feeling of heaviness, jaundice and dull-yellow complexion.

Read more about San Ren Tang here

Nuan Gan Jian

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Liver and Kidneys. Promotes the movement of Qi. Alleviates pain.

Why might Nuan Gan Jian help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnation of Cold in the Liver Channel' of which hypochondrium fullness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stagnation Of Cold In The Liver Channel include testicular pain, contraction of the scrotum and feeling of cold.

Read more about Nuan Gan Jian here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat hypochondrium fullness

Why might Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrium fullness as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Xiao Chai Hu Tang 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 Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrium fullness as a symptom, like Xiao Chai Hu Tang or San Ren Tang for instance.

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 Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because Baikal Skullcap Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrium fullness as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Xiao Chai Hu Tang for instance.

Baikal Skullcap Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.

Read more about Baikal Skullcap Roots here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat hypochondrium fullness as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Xiao Chai Hu Tang 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 Job's Tears (Yi Yi Ren) help with hypochondrium fullness?

Because it is a key herb in San Ren Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Dampness in the Gallbladder' (a pattern with hypochondrium fullness as a symptom)

Job's Tears is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Regulates water and encourages urination. Tonic to the Spleen and stops diarrhea caused by Spleen Deficiency. Reduces inflammation and eliminates pus. Dispels Wind-Damp Bi Pain. Expels Damp-Heat.

Read more about Job's Tears here