Gas and bloating is often associated with so-called pi-syndrome in TCM, which refers to the presentations of epigastric oppression and fullness and discomfort in chest and hypochondrium. Usually it is a self-conscious symptom, intangible and painless when pressing. No need to worry at all if this is an occasional one and it will just disappear on its own soon. But if bloating and gas, or even pain, refuses going away, some home remedies like herbs may bring in an instant relief if treated the right way. But mind you, gas bloating, as any other conditions, is classified into a number of different patterns in Chinese herbal remedies, which need to be handled differently.
What causes bloating and gas?
General bloating is a temporary symptom, but chronic one is something else. From the perspective of modern medicine, it tends to originate from diseases like Chronic Gastritis (CG), gastroduodenal ulcer, gastric neurosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, and duodenal stasis, etc. And there are a variety of pathological changes involved during this process.
(1). Mucosa congestion, edema, accompanied with viscous mucus;
(2). Ulceration, or glandular atrophy, or even intestinal metaplasia;
(3). Disorders of the stomach and bowels, delayed gastric emptying, and stomach gas bloating;
(3). Erosion of gastric mucosa or bleeding.
Theories behind natural home remedies in TCM
Actually the above-mentioned pathological changes are in line with the concept of phlegm and blood stasis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In addition, it is also widely believed related to the disorder of Qi movement in ascending and descending functions.
Being source of blood and Qi, the spleen and stomach are also the hub for the ascending and descending of Qi movement. Healthy spleen-stomach is the key to maintain proper functioning in human body. Once they are impaired for some reasons, the failure of transportation and transformation will result in not only the drying up of blood-qi source but also the occurring of phlegm-dampness. The adhesion of phlegm is bound to impact the smooth running of Qi-blood, which in turn induce blood stasis and then generate phlegm again due to dysfunction of body fluid distribution.
In other words, this condition is caused directly by dysfunction of ascending and descending in spleen and stomach and indirectly by intermingled phlegm and blood stasis stagnated in middle jiao, which affect the smooth circulation of Qi movement.
The gas bloating causes can be intricate, complex, and changeful. But no matter which factor dominates, its basic pathologic regression will lead to intermingled blood stasis and phlegm and disharmony between Qi and blood in the end. So its main pathogenesis are phlegm stasis and disorder of Qi movement.
What to take for gas and bloating in herbal remedy?
It is typically classified into two main patterns in TCM.
Qi deficiency of spleen and stomach
The symptoms and signs include discomfort in chest and stomach duct, distention and fullness, feeling better sometimes but worse other times, no feeling of hunger, loss of appetite, preferring warm beverages and pressing to relieve abdominal pain, cold limbs, shortness of breath, laziness to speak, fatigue, loose stools, pale tongue with white coating, and deep thready pulse.
The herbal formula of Liu Jun Zi Wan is preferred, to strengthen spleen and stomach for draining dampness and transforming phlegm;
Wei Le Ning Pian is advisable in the case of deficient yin in stomach, in order to tonify qi and yin and harmonize stomach to stop pain;
Li Zhong Wan is recommendable in sufferers of extremely cold stomach, to warm middle burner for dispelling cold and water retention.
Common herbs for bloating are Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel), Zhi Shi (Immature Bitter Orange), Zhi Ke (Ripe Fruit of Zhi Shi) , Mu Xiang (Costus Root), Su Geng (Perilla Stem), Wu Yao (Lindera Root), Sha Ren (Cardamon), Bai Dou Kou (Round Cardamon Fruit), Hou Po (Magnolia Bark), Chen Xiang (Aloeswood), Tan Xiang (Sandalwood), Jiang Xiang (Dalbergia Heartwood), Shi Di (Persimmon Calyx), Da Fu Pi (Areca Peel, Betel Husk), Bing Lang (Betel Nut, Areca Seeds), Gan Song (Nardostachys Root), and Xie Bai (Chive Bulb).
Dyspepsia due to spleen deficiency
Symptoms include distention and fullness, putrid belching and acid reflux, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and full from time to time, relief when warming, diarrhea, pale tongue with greasy coating, and feeble slippery stringy pulse.
Jia Wei Bao He Wan is highly suggested, to regulate Qi and strengthen spleen for draining dampness and coordinating middle jiao;
He Zhong Li Pi Wan is recommended if accompanied with bowel sound and vomit, to invigorate spleen and regulate the middle warmer.
Usual herbs for bloating are Huo Xiang (Patchouli), Pei Lan (Orchid), Cang Zhu (Atractylodes), Hou Po, Bai Dou Kou, Sha Ren, Bai Bian Dou, Cao Dou Kou (Katsumadai), Xiang Ru (Aromatic Madder), Chen Pi, and Da Fu Pi.
Gas and bloating are one of complicated deficiency-excess and cold-heat mixing pattern. Currently there is no so-called best one-stop herbal home remedies for it. According to the pathological changes, clinically the symptoms are reduced dramatically by utilizing treatments of transforming phlegm, promoting blood circulation, descending and ascending Qi movement. In terms of the indications, these herbs can be still adoptable no matter obviously intermingled phlegm and blood stasis is involved or not.