Digestive Disorder – A Chinese Herbal Prescription

The term digestive disorder in Chinese medicine includes: indigestion, gases, stomach pains, minor ulcer, acid reflux, lack of appetite, sensitivity to certain kinds of food, diarrhea, constipation, etc. They are all symptoms of a digestive system not performing well. Treating the symptoms individually only results in temporary relief but cannot reduce their occurrence, not to mention eliminating them. The Chinese approach involves nourishing the digestive system back to health with some patience required.

Nature of common digestive disorder:

o Multiple symptoms usually occur with different intensity.

o Some symptoms occur more often than others.

o Symptoms usually disrupt the person’s eating habit.

o The disruption of eating habit in turn may aggravate the symptoms, causing a downward spiral.

Causes of common digestive disorder:

o Irregular eating habit.

o Over-consumption of food especially spicy, greasy or sour type.

o Too restrictive a diet making the stomach extra fragile and sensitive.

o Stresses at work or at home. Food is by no means the only cause.

o Digestive disorder tends to be a delayed or uncertain reaction, so it’s hard to know which is the real cause.

The digestive system is one of the most sensitive organs deserving special attention for good maintenance. Being neglected, it can give you a lot of troubles. If you eat the wrong kind of food, your digestive system can vomit on you right away or give you diarrhea later. It may make you feel terrible the rest of the day. If your digestive system is weak, an unpleasant event or circumstance can trigger some kind of disorder or aggravate existing ones.

Most people who suffer from digestive disorder have an irregular eating habit, usually eating meals at irregular times, or eating while working. Another common habit is eating too much at one time and not at all some other times. These create undue pressure on the digestive system and disrupt its natural functional rhythm. The symptoms you get are just the reactions of your digestive system telling you that it is not happy with your way of eating. Therefore the first step is to cultivate a normal regular eating habit. To put it simply, devote some time to sitting down and enjoying regular meals with a moderate quantity of food.

On the other hand, too much attention given to the digestive system tends to create the same kind of disorder. Many people are sensitive to various kinds of food, resulting in a long list of “foods to avoid”. One thing they may not notice is that this long list will perpetuate the existing sensitivity of the digestive system, making it even more fragile, not stronger. One way to break this downward spiral is to gradually build up more strength into the digestive system. How? This can be done by slowly increasing the variety of food intake. Eat just a little bit of those foods you avoid for some reason. This won’t kill you. You will be surprised that your stomach can be trained to accept new foods little by little. The goal is to cut down the sensitivity and bring back the robustness of your digestive system so that you can enjoy as many kinds of food as possible, and consequently, enhancing your nutrition and your health.

The Chinese approach emphasizes the strengthening of the digestive system rather than trying to tackle the individual disorder symptoms. There is a special term called “Yang Wei”, which means to nourish the stomach. When the digestive system becomes more robust and able to handle an increasing variety of food, the disorder symptoms will occur less and less frequent. The following herbal package is recommended:

1) Strengthen stomach and intestines

Dang Shen

Bai Zhu

Fu Ling

Gan Cao

Sha Ren

Mu Xiang

Bai Kou Ren

2) Strengthen liver

Long Dan Cao

Gou Qi Zi

3) Help digestion

Zhi Shi

Fu Pi

4) Reduce gas

Qing Pi

Ban Xia

A total of 13 herbs are used.

Drink one cup (8 oz) of herb tea a day, preferably in the morning to allow time for the herbs to work its way through.

This is just one formula with countless variations depending on:

* How accurate the herbalist understands the root cause.

* How sensitive is your stomach to the herbs.