Regurgitation according to Chinese Medicine

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Regurgitation 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 regurgitation 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 regurgitation is often associated with belching, irritability and epigastric pain in the pattern “Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause regurgitation.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause regurgitation

In Chinese Medicine regurgitation is a symptom for 3 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

Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach

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

In addition to regurgitation, other symptoms associated with Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Stomach include belching, irritability and epigastric pain.

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

Food Stagnation in the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)

In addition to regurgitation, other symptoms associated with Food Stagnation in the Stomach include belching, nausea and foul breath.

Food Stagnation in the Stomach is often treated with Bao He Wan, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Hawthorn Berries - Shan Zha - as a key herb). Bao He Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that reduce food accumulation and transform stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Reduces food stagnation".

Read more about Food Stagnation in the Stomach here

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

Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

In addition to regurgitation, other symptoms associated with Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm include unremitting belching.

Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm 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 Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm here

Four herbal formulas that might help with regurgitation

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the downward flow of Stomach Qi. Expectorant, treats hiccups.

Why might Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang help with regurgitation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm' of which regurgitation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Qi Deficiency With Phelgm include unremitting belching.

Read more about Xuan Fu Dai Zhe 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 regurgitation?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Liver Qi Invading The Stomach include belching, irritability and epigastric pain.

Read more about Si Mo Tang here

Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan

Source date: 1247 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Reduces and guides out stagnation and accumulation. Drains heat. Dispels dampness.

Why might Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan help with regurgitation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Food Stagnation in the Stomach' of which regurgitation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Food Stagnation In The Stomach include belching, nausea and foul breath.

Read more about Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan here

Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang

Source date: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Directs rebellious Qi downward. Stops hiccup. Augments Qi. Clears heat.

Why might Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang help with regurgitation?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Rebellious Liver Qi Invading The Stomach include belching, irritability and epigastric pain.

Read more about Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat regurgitation

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with regurgitation?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat regurgitation 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 regurgitation?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat regurgitation as a symptom, like Si Mo Tang or Ju Pi Zhu Ru 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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with regurgitation?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat regurgitation as a symptom, like Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang or Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

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 Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with regurgitation?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat regurgitation as a symptom, like Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang or Xuan Fu Dai Zhe 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with regurgitation?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat regurgitation as a symptom, like Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang or Xuan Fu Dai Zhe 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