Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain, based on ancient theories of energy pathways, organ systems, and the balance of Yin and Yang. Several patterns of disharmony can contribute to abdominal pain, and the appropriate treatment strategy may involve specific herbal remedies, dietary changes, and lifestyle adjustments.
Cold spleen refers to a condition where the digestive fire of the spleen is weakened. Symptoms include abdominal pain that suddenly attacks or drags on, worsening with cold and improving with warmth, diarrhea with a feeling of coolness, watery stool discharge, edema, indigestion, poor appetite, and prolonged diarrhea, among others.
To disperse the cold and warm the spleen, Wen-Pi-Tang can be used. This is a combination of cinnamon, clove oil, dill seed, garlic, pistachio nut, cayenne pepper, fennel, fresh ginger, mustard seed, prickly ash, star anise, white or yellow mustard, and wine.
Deficiency and Cold
This condition involves weakened energy, characterized by dragging abdominal pain that worsens with cold and improves with warmth, fear of cold, love of hot drinks, palpitations, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.
The treatment involves strengthening the energy and warming the internal region using a herbal formula called Li-Zhong-Tang. This mixture includes wine, grape, lon-gan nuts, maltose, mandarin fish, Irish potato, sweet rice, apple cucumber, bog bean, and various other ingredients.
Excess and Hot
This refers to an excess of heat in the body, leading to abdominal pain that worsens with heat and improves with cold, pain that increases with massage, burning sensations, forceful hiccups, and throat pain, among others.
To sedate the heat and regulate energy, Hou-Pu-San-Wu-Tang is recommended. This includes banana, bitter endive, black fungus, salt, spinach, strawberry, bamboo shoot, cucumber, Job's-tears, laver, leaf beet, mung bean, peppermint, and purslane.
Symptoms of indigestion include abdominal pain that worsens with massage and improves after a bowel movement, belching of bad breath after meals, dislike of foods, lack of appetite, and nausea, among others.
The suggested treatment to promote digestion and harmonize the stomach includes two formulas: Bao-He-Wan or Zhi-Shi-Dao-Zhi-Wan. These consist of ingredients like asafoetida, buckwheat, cas tor bean, jellyfish, peach, radish, water chestnut, and others.
This condition is marked by symptoms such as abdominal pain that reduces after flatulence, chest and ribs discomfort, constipation, chest pain, and retention of urine, among others.
To regulate energy and promote energy circulation, Mu-Xiang-Shun-Qi-San is prescribed. This includes beef, cherry, bird's nest, butterfish, chicken, coconut meat, date, tofu, mustard seed, sweet rice, goose meat, mutton, and various other ingredients.
Blood coagulations can result in symptoms like abdominal pain as if being pricked by a needle, bleeding from gums, chest pain, coughing out blood, headache, jaundice, lumbago, and stroke, among others.
The treatment strategy is to activate the blood and transform coagulations, promote energy circulation and relieve pain. Shao-Fu-Zhu-Yu-Tang is the recommended formula, consisting of ambergris, brown sugar, chestnut, eggplant, peach, black soybean, sturgeon, sweet basil, crab, distillers' grains, papaya, and saffron.
Chinese medicine can offer an alternative approach to treating abdominal pain. However, it is essential to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner or healthcare provider before starting any new treatment, as these remedies and their doses need to be tailored to each individual's condition and overall health.