Treatment of stomach pain,
nausea, diarrhea and constipation
by Chinese Medicine
There are many reasons that can cause pain
in stomach, nausea or vomiting, constipation or diarrhea.
Generally speaking, we can separate them into either acute or
Stomach-intestine pain syndrome
For acute stomach pain, if it is due to eat
of extraordinary food, which might not be clean, and if the
patient feels pain, bloating in stomach and has nausea and
vomit, we use herbal pill called Bao He Wan (Wan here means
pills). If the patient has pain in stomach with acute diarrhea,
use herb Xiang Lian Wan. If it is water-like diarrhea, use Wu
Ling San (San here means herbal powder). If the patient usually
has weak digestive system, which means he/she easily has stomach
pain and diarrhea after eat little bit more amount, or little
bit more hot/spicy food, this time we use Lian Li Tang (Tang
means herbal decoction) for the treatment of his/her pain and
If the patient has both symptoms of common
cold, and the stomach-intestine problem, such as chilly or
fever, headache or body pain, sour throat, cough, as well as
stomach pain and diarrhea, we use Ge Gen Qing Lian Tang (for
stronger body constitution); or use Gui Zhi plus Shao Yao Tang
or Gui Zhi plus Da Huang Tang (for weak body constitution). If
the stool is with pus and blood, and if the person has urgent
feeling inside the anus after bowel movement, it is acute
bacillary dysentery. We use Bai Tou Wen Tang for the treatment.
If the bowel movement is mostly the blood in the stool, we use
Huang Tu Tang.
The condition for a chronic stomach
disorder is much more complex. If the disorder is mostly the
pain in the stomach, the patient likes to drink warm water and
eat warm food, and likes to massage the stomach when the pain
occurs, we use An Zhong Tang, or Fu Zi Li Zhong Tang. This is a
Cold condition in the belly, according to the Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM).
such patient has acid reflux, we may use Wu Zhu Yu Tang. If the
patient does not like to massage the stomach when there is pain,
or if the pain area is hard upon touch, we use Xiao Xian Xiong
Tang. In this case, if the patient has nausea or vomit, we may
use Zhu Ru Wen Dang Tang. This is a Fire condition, in TCM
the patient has stomach pain, likes warm water drink, but has
also loss bowel movement from time to time, we use Huang Lian
Tang. This is a
condition, in which there is cold in the stomach, but fire in
the intestine. In this case if the patient has nausea or vomit,
we use Gan Jiang Qing Lian Tang.
For stomach fire condition, in which
patient feels dry and thirsty in mouth, likes to drink cold or
ice water, has belching, hard stool (defecate), we use Wei Re
Xin Huo Ling, Qing Xin Jie Yu Tang, or Bai Hu plus Ren Shen
Tang. Many western people has this type of stomach pain.
Sometimes, patient feels very cold and very
painful in the stomach-intestine. We use Wu Tou Jian (Jian means
herb decoction), or Da Huang Fu Zi Tang. If the
stomach-intestine feels cold and pain, as well as joints, we may
use Wu Tou Gui Zhi Tang. This is a kind of Cold condition in the
Many times, people have no clear stomach or
intestine pain, or bloating, or nausea, or diarrhea, but just
kind of slight discomfort. The stomach-intestine seems does not
working, not moving, not digesting food.
In TCM, it means that the
stomach Qi does not move smoothly inside. To improve the stomach
qi movement, we use Xiang Su Sang. People with such dull
discomfort in stomach-intestine system usually also have
irritable emotion (stress or easy to feel upset), anxiety and
impetuousness, and also easy to have hard stool (or
constipation). People with psychosis also tend to have
In the later stage of stomach disease,
patient may feel consist discomfort and pain in the stomach, may
have belching and acid reflex. They feel stomach pain with even
very little eat.
They may have dry mouth, slight and dull pain in the upper side
of the belly. This condition usually belongs to atrophic
gastritis in western medicine. In TCM, we use Huang Qi Jian
Zhong Tang, Yang Yin Tang or Yi Guan Jian to solve this problem.
Many times, the main problem is just
continuous bloating (fullness feeling) in the stomach. If the
bloating feeling occurs together with nausea, vomit, intestine
noise, or diarrhea, we use various Xie Xin tang, such as Ban Xia
Xie Xin Tang, Gan Jiang Xie Xin Tang, or Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang.
If the bloating is with body hot feeling (the body temperature
may not be high), we use San Huang Xie Xin Tang. If the body
feels cold, use Fu Zi Xie Xin Tang. If the stomach bloating is
with belching, or if it is mostly the problem of continuous
belching, we try the Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Shi Tang.
If the problem is most the
stomach-intestine bloating per se, and if the person usually has
weak stomach-intestine function (e.g. with easy stomach pain or
diarrhea), we use Hou Jiang Xia Cao Ren Shen Tang. If the
bloating is with body fever, we may use Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang.
If the bloating is with uneasy bowel movement, or is with
frequent flatus (gas from anus), we use Xiao Cheng Qi Tang to
enhance the intestine movement, so as to solve the bloating.
However, if the stomach bloating is with very much pain, the
belly feels hard upon touch and press, and if the person did not
have bowel movement for several days, we must consider the use
of Da Cheng Qi Tang. This is a dangerous condition, an urgent
treatment is needed.
If the stomach bloating is with enlarged
liver or spleen, for Cold condition, we use Wen Pi Tang and for
Fire condition, we use Gui Zhi plus Da Huang Tang, or Yue Bi
plus Cang Zhu plus Mang Xiao Tang, etc.
For chronic diarrhea, if the patient
usually likes to drink warm water, to stay in warm room, and if
his or her hands are usually cold, the stool is not in form
(loss stool), we use Li Zhong Tang, Fu Zi Li Zhong Tang, even Si
Ni Tang for the treatment, so as to warm up his or her
stomach-intestine system. If the stool is as thin as water and
the stool is without strong
or high smell, we will use Zheng Wu Tang for such
patient. If the patient feels dry in mouth and throat, likes to
drink cold water, but easily has diarrhea, we use Gan Jiang Qin
Lian Tang, or even Wu Mei Tang. This is Cold-Fire mixture
condition. For the irritable bowel syndrome, in which the
patient has diarrhea some days and constipation in some other
days, we use Wu Mei Tang. It works very well. The irritable
bowel syndrome is very common seen in Alberta.
Nausea and vomit
If patient has vomit right after eating, we
use Da Ban Xia Tang. If the vomit is the food is the food ate in
last meal, we use Li Zhong Tang, Jin Kui Shen Qi Wang, Fu Ling
Ze Xie Tang, Wu Zhu Yu Tang or Wu Mei Tang, depending on the
more specific symptoms of the patient.
If patient vomit water right after drink,
but not food, we use Wu Ling San, or Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, or
Fu Ling Yin for the treatment.
Lastly, we need to mention the treatment of
acid reflex syndrome, which is very common in western people. It
is also needed to diagnose if the acid reflex syndrome belongs
Cold or Fire condition, which is important to decide which
herbal formula needed to be used. If the patient with the acid
reflex also likes to drink warm water and eat warm food, and the
acid reflex may become worse after eating cold food, we use Li
Zhong Tang, or Fu Zi Li Zhong Tang, or Wu Zhu Yu Tang for the
treatment. For the Fire condition, the clinic picture is
opposite, and we use Huang Lian Shang Qin Wan, Bai Hu Jia Ren
Shen Tang, Qin Ren Jie Yu Tang, or Yu Bi Jia Zhu jia Er Huan
Lian Qiao Shi Gao Tang for the treatment.
condition belongs the mixture of Cold and Fire condition, we
mostly use Wu Mei Tang, Gan Jiang Qin Lian Tang, or Huang Lian
Tang. Many people do not know that TCM is very good in the
treatment of acid reflex.
Apparently, the clinic symptoms of the
stomach-intestine system are very complex and also there are
lots of herbal formula that can be used for the treatment. It
implies that the doctors in the TCM observe the clinic
conditions very carefully and also understand the conditions
much more in detail. If the TCM diagnosis is correct, the result
and consequence of the treatment is also very satisfied. There
are many patients with such stomach-intestine diseases in China.
It is hard to believe that a TCM doctor can work well in China
if he/she has no ability to solve the gastric diseases.
In the diagnosis, it is very important to
verify if the gastric condition belongs to Cold or Fire.
Generally speaking, if the patient likes to massage the stomach
area, likes to drink warmer water or eat warmer food, tends to
have loss (not formed) stool, the condition is more likely a
Cold condition. Otherwise, if the patient does not like massage
on the stomach, likes cold water or cold food, and has hard
stool that is difficult to pass during bowel movement, the
condition is more likely a Fire condition. Many time, the
patient may have some symptoms that belongs to Cold and others
belongs to Fire. In this case, we need to use both Cold and Warm
herbs for the treatment.
It should be pointed out that it is not
important for how long time you may have a bowel movement, but
how hard the stool is. If the stool is hard, it belongs to
constipation even if you have the bowel movement once every day.
On the other side, if the stool is soft or not formed (no
shape), it may belong to diarrhea, even if you may have the
bowel movement once every 3 to 7 days. Clearly, the concept of
constipation in the Chinese medicine is different from that in
Here what we discussed and introduced are
the commonly seen gastric disorders in clinic, not including the
disorders that are due to the disease in the liver, kidney, gall
bladder, urine bladder, ovary, or uterus. It is neither
including the disease of any kind tumor or cyst, or block (such
as the block by stone or by roundworms).
We need also to talk about the diet of
people with chronic gastric diseases. Generally speaking,
whenever have pain in the stomach, we may think that we should
eat fluid or semi-fluid food, such as soup, or to eat more
vegetables. We thought that such fluid or semi-fluid food might
cause less stress to the stomach so as to be good for the
recovery of the gastric diseases. We recommend that you can try
to eat coasted bread pieces with your mouth saliva. It works
much better than the fluid or semi-fluid food.
Acupuncture can also be used for the
treatment of gastric disorders. The acupuncture spots are
different depending on the conditions belong to Cold or Fire, on
if it is mostly pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.
Basically we can say that acupuncture works, though the healing
effect may be variable among practitioners. The commonly used
acupuncture points are on the belly, on the back of the body,
and on the legs.
For Cold and weak condition of gastric
diseases, we also use cupping therapy. We apply the cup on the
back and also on the belly mostly. For those of people who have
no chance to go to a doctor, this is also a highly recommend way
for people to do something at home by his or her self. It is
safe if the cups are not kept on the skin for too long time.