No desire to eat according to Chinese Medicine

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No desire to eat 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 no desire to eat 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 no desire to eat is often associated with epigastric pain, dry mouth and poor appetite in the pattern “Stomach Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause no desire to eat.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of no desire to eat we’ve identified three 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 no desire to eat.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause no desire to eat

In Chinese Medicine no desire to eat is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Stomach Yin Deficiency

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.

In addition to no desire to eat, other symptoms associated with Stomach Yin Deficiency include epigastric pain, dry mouth and poor appetite.

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".

Read more about Stomach Yin Deficiency here

Chinese Plums (Wu Mei) is the king ingredient for Wu Mei Wan, a formula used for Terminal Yin stage

Terminal Yin stage

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

In addition to no desire to eat, other symptoms associated with Terminal Yin stage include feeling of energy rising to the chest, cold limbs and diarrhea.

Terminal Yin stage is often treated with Wu Mei Wan, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Chinese Plums - Wu Mei - as a key herb). Wu Mei Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that expel parasites", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the Organs".

Read more about Terminal Yin stage here

Three herbal formulas that might help with no desire to eat

Shen Ling Bai Zhu San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Augments the Qi. Strengthens the Spleen. Leaches out Dampness. Stops diarrhea.

Why might Shen Ling Bai Zhu San help with no desire to eat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Yin Deficiency' of which no desire to eat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Yin Deficiency include epigastric pain, dry mouth and poor appetite.

Read more about Shen Ling Bai Zhu San here

Wu Mei Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Organs. Drains Heat. Calms roundworms. Drains the Liver. Calms the Stomach.

Why might Wu Mei Wan help with no desire to eat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Terminal Yin stage' of which no desire to eat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Terminal Yin Stage include feeling of energy rising to the chest, cold limbs and diarrhea.

Read more about Wu Mei Wan here

Mai Men Dong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Stomach. Generates Body Fluids. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Mai Men Dong Tang help with no desire to eat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Yin Deficiency' of which no desire to eat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Yin Deficiency include epigastric pain, dry mouth and poor appetite.

Read more about Mai Men Dong Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat no desire to eat

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with no desire to eat?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat no desire to eat as a symptom, like Shen Ling Bai Zhu San or Mai Men Dong 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 Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with no desire to eat?

Because Dwarf Lilyturf Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat no desire to eat as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Yi Wei Tang for instance.

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with no desire to eat?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat no desire to eat as a symptom, like Shen Ling Bai Zhu San or Mai Men Dong 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 Chinese Plum (Wu Mei) help with no desire to eat?

Because it is a key herb in Wu Mei Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Terminal Yin stage' (a pattern with no desire to eat as a symptom)

Chinese Plums is a Neutral herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Spleen, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Stabilizes Lung Qi and stops cough. Stops diarrhea. Retains Bodily Fluids and encourages their production. Expels parasites and relieves vomiting.

Read more about Chinese Plums here

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with no desire to eat?

Because it is a key herb in Yi Wei Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with no desire to eat as a symptom)

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

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.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here