A proverb in Japan and East Asia says that, “all disease comes from the mouth”. In fact, internists count digestive disorders as 1/5th of all problems they encounter; the most frequent stomach disorder, being gastritis, and the second most common is gastric and duodenal (upper intestine) ulcers. Other common digestive complaints are food allergies and colitis ( alternating diarrhea and constipation).
Gastritis is characterized by abdominal fullness, vomiting, discomfort under the heart, and lack of appetite. Chronic gastritis involves an inflammation of the mucous lining of the stomach. Two types of Gastritis are caused either by too much or too little acid in the stomach. External factors contributing to these disorders include smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and emotional stress. Modern medicine employs antacids, antispasmodics and sedatives.
Gastric and duodenal ulcers occur when excess acid eats away at the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum and eventually forms sores called ulcers. Symptoms include pain in the stomach, heartburn, vomiting, acid regurgitation , and in severe cases, stomach bleeding. Other symptoms include bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue, joint pains and chronic vaginal, throat, sinus, lung or kidney infections. They are caused by a weakened immune system and stomach spleen, large intestine, liver and/or kidney meridian (energy channel) imbalances. Colitis is a very common food allergy and stress-related illness.
Chinese Medicine looks at gastrointestinal problems in a very different way. A Chinese doctor will examine the 12 pulses of the 12 energy channels or “meridian” of the body. Many times the root cause of gastrointestinal problems is the stomach; but it can also be the liver, spleen, gall bladder, large intestine, and/or kidney meridians. An individual may have more of one imbalance then the other, so it is important to determine which of these meridians are involved the most in a particular person’s illness.
Chinese Medicine such as acupuncture and herbs improves stomach and intestinal inflammation, assists digestion, stabilized the autonomic nervous system, and improves whole body metabolism, so that the aforementioned symptoms simply lessen in intensity. Chinese Medicine not only adjusts and heals gastrointestinal function, but also the whole body function as well. Herbs such as ginger, jujube, and ginseng improves and strengthens gastrointestinal functions so that symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue completely subside. Other herbs, such as Bupleurum, Perilla Leaf, and Peony, help to detoxify and circulate the liver which is usually stagnant, and also helps to “distress” the individual. Herbs such as Magnolia Bark, Citrus, and Sausurrea help to circulate the stagnant chi (energy) which may cause bloating, edema or gas.
However it is important to learn the precise root of the problem, because an herbal formula is individually prescribed for a person depending on how much liver, gall bladder, kidney or stomach spleen imbalance that they have. In this way, it will work more effectively so that the patient can heal not only the symptoms but the root cause, which is more important.