Morning sickness according to Chinese Medicine

nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and nvp redirect here

Morning sickness 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 morning sickness 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 morning sickness is often associated with vomiting, poor appetite and depression in the pattern “Phlegm”.

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

Phlegm, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause morning sickness

In Chinese Medicine morning sickness is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm". Below is a small explanation for it 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 morning sickness, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include vomiting, poor appetite and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Menopausal Syndrome or Morning Sickness.

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

Five herbal formulas that might help with morning sickness

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 morning sickness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which morning sickness is a symptom.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with morning sickness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which morning sickness is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang

Source date: 1732 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Dries and dissolves Phlegm. Strengthens the Spleen. Smoothes the Liver and calms Liver Wind (antispasmodic).

Why might Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang help with morning sickness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which morning sickness is a symptom.

Read more about Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang here

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with morning sickness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which morning sickness is a symptom.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Source date: Qing Dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder. Relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes. Resolves Phlegm. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang help with morning sickness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which morning sickness is a symptom.

Read more about Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang here

Acupuncture points used for morning sickness

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat morning sickness

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with morning sickness?

Because it is a key herb in Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' (a pattern with morning sickness as a symptom)

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

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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with morning sickness?

Because it is a key herb in Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' (a pattern with morning sickness as a symptom)

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with morning sickness?

Because it is a key herb in Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' (a pattern with morning sickness as a symptom)

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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with morning sickness?

Because it is a key herb in Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' (a pattern with morning sickness as a symptom)

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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with morning sickness?

Because it is a key herb in Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' (a pattern with morning sickness as a symptom)

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