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 constipation, epigastric pain and dry mouth in the pattern “Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record two 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 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 regurgitation.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause regurgitation

In Chinese Medicine regurgitation 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 Fire or Stomach Heat

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red centre

Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst and gum bleeding. Stomach Fire can be the result of excessive intake of hot, spicy, greasy and deep fried foods or other factors such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar.

In addition to regurgitation, other symptoms associated with Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat include constipation, epigastric pain and dry mouth.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat is associated with health issues such as Mastitis, Breast Engorgement or Morning Sickness.

Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat is often treated with Qing Wei San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Goldthread Rhizomes - Huang Lian - as a key herb). Qing Wei San 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: "Drains Stomach Fire".

Read more about Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat 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

Three 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

Qing Wei San

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Stomach Fire. Cools the Blood. Nourishes the Yin.

Why might Qing Wei San help with regurgitation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' of which regurgitation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Fire Or Stomach Heat include constipation, epigastric pain and dry mouth.

Read more about Qing Wei San here

Yu Nu Jian

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Heat from the Stomach. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Yu Nu Jian help with regurgitation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' of which regurgitation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Fire Or Stomach Heat include constipation, epigastric pain and dry mouth.

Read more about Yu Nu Jian here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat regurgitation

Why might Gypsum (Shi Gao) help with regurgitation?

Because it is a key herb in Yu Nu Jian, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' (a pattern with regurgitation as a symptom)

Gypsum is a Cold herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and drains Fire. Clears Lung Heat. Relieves thirst and restlessness. Clears Stomach Heat.

Read more about Gypsum here

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with regurgitation?

Because it is a key herb in Qing Wei San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' (a pattern with regurgitation as a symptom)

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here

Why might Inula Flower (Xuan Fu Hua) help with regurgitation?

Because it is a key herb in Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Qi Deficiency with Phelgm' (a pattern with regurgitation as a symptom)

Inula Flowers is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Moves Stagnant Phlegm in the Lungs. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi of the Lungs and Stomach.

Read more about Inula Flowers here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with regurgitation?

Because it is a key herb in Yu Nu Jian, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat' (a pattern with regurgitation as a symptom)

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might Areca Peel (Da Fu Pi) help with regurgitation?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat regurgitation as can be seen on Areca Peel's page.

Areca Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Assists in the downward movement of Qi and relieves Food Stagnation. Removes Stagnation of Water by draining downward.

Read more about Areca Peel here