Chinese herbs may assist managing bloating, reflux, and constipation. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners often recommend specific herbs to address these symptoms and promote digestive health.
The common thread with Bloating, Reflux and Constipation is:
Normal gut motility is affected. In Chinese Medicine we describe this phenomenon as Qi Stagnation.
So, in bloating: drum distention and ballooning of the lower abdomen, the Qi is not moving forwards, it is expanding outwards. (Stuck!)
And in Reflux it going the opposite way (upwards) to normal gut motility (downwards). (Stuck again!)
In constipation, the Digestive energy is completely at a halt and not moving downwards at all. (Stuck again!)
So, a primary treatment principle becomes moving stagnation, soothing the Liver and restoring the digestive motility.
Commonly used Chinese herbs for bloating, reflux, and constipation:
- Bao He Wan: This herbal formula is often used for digestive issues such as bloating and upset bowels. It can be beneficial for constipation accompanied by symptoms like abdominal distention, belching, and acid regurgitation.
- Xiao Cheng Qi Tang: This formula, also known as "Less Drastic Purgative Decoction," can be used for constipation due to excess heat. It aims to promote bowel movement and relieve constipation, particularly when stress is a contributing factor.
- Hawthorn Berry: Also known as "shan zha" in Chinese, hawthorn berry is believed to help with blood circulation and alleviate bloating.
- Ark Shell and Oyster Shell: These shells are used in TCM to harmonize the stomach, clear phlegm, and regulate stomach acidity. They can be obtained as finely powdered shells from Chinese pharmacies.
The Liver plays a big part in digestion. It produces bile and is the filtering system for the body, removing toxins from the blood stream. Often herbs will help the Liver do its job more efficiently. So, this means, improving its ability to clean out the body, eliminating waste products and metabolising hormones.
There are many herbs in the Chinese Materia Medica to support Liver function and promote healthy bowel movements.
How to use Chinese Herbal Medicine for Bloating & Reflux
Chinese herbal medicine is often used in conjunction with other TCM techniques such as acupuncture and dietary modifications to support overall digestive health.
So, you may stop bloating temporarily, but if you don't make changes to your diet, lifestyle or exercise levels, it may come back again. The Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner is there to give you guidance and work together with you for long term benefit over time.
Safety and Considerations
More scientific research is needed to validate herb effectiveness for bloating, reflux, and constipation specifically, despite Chinese herbal medicine having a long history of use.
It is important to note that individual prescriptions may vary based on the specific symptoms and underlying imbalances. Consulting with a registered TCM practitioner is crucial to receive a personalised diagnosis and appropriate herbal treatment.
Because their role involves determining correct dosage in the formula and daily dosage for the best outcome in your individualised case. Practitioners can check for drug interactions with manufacturers.
To make a Chinese Herbal Medicine appointment on Sydney's Northern Beaches, BOOK ONLINE HERE.
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