Stomach Ache/Tummy Ache

In Part I of this blog, I discussed the Five Stagnations in general along with some non-herbal treatments. Here are two general herbal formulas that can be used for all types of stagnation.

Stagnation Relieving Pills (Yue Qu Wan)

This formula can be found as a patent medicine easily from Chinese herb stores or herbal suppliers. As a bonus, for each Chinese herb ingredient I’ve included a substitution easily found in your spice cabinet!

Indications: This formula moves all five stagnations, treating symptoms of feeling congestion in the chest and abdomen, possible hypochondriac pain, bloating, belching, acid regurgitation, nausea, vomiting, mild coughing, and indigestion with a lack of appetite. It may be considered for nervous stomach, gastrointestinal ulcers, pain in the chest, hepatitis, cholecystitis, or gallstones.

Chinese herb pinyin Latin Kitchen equivalent
9-12g cyperus xiang fu  Cyperus rotunda citrus peel
9-12g black atractylodes cang zhu Atractylodes lancea cloves
9-12g ligusticum chuan xiong Ligusticum wallichii cayenne
9-12g medicated leaven shen qu Massa fermentata medicinalis hawthorn
9-12g gardenia fruit zhi zi Gardenia jasminoides  turmeric

Preparation: Grind into a powder. Slowly stir in enough water until the powder becomes workable enough so that you can roll the mixture into pills the size of an azuki bean. Or, take 6-9 g powered herbs with warm water. If using granulated extracts, take 3-6 g three times daily depending on body weight.


1. For Cold with stagnant Qi, add galangal (gao liang jiang or Alpinia galanga).
2. For dysmenorrhea or mental depression, add curcuma root (yu jin or Curcuma longa)
3. For Heat and stagnation in the Liver with hypochondriac pain, yellow tongue coat, and a wiry, rapid pulse, add corydalis (yan hu suo or rhizome Corydalis yan hu suo)

Universal Stagnation-Dispersing Formula

This second formula was the first herbal treatment given to all his patents by a master Chinese herbalist. Michael later learned from Jeffrey Yuen (a famous Taoist acupuncturist and herbalist) that it was created and used by his Chinese herb teacher. This formula can be taken twice daily for a week prior to the use of any other formula and regardless of the presenting symptoms. Jeffrey said that it looks like a modified Five Accumulations Formula with Dang Gui and Magnolia Combination.

Chinese herb, properties and actions pinyin Latin
6 g cinnamon twig (sweet, spicy, warm; moves Yang Qi, removes Cold stagnation) gui zhi  Ramulus cinnamomi
4 g field mint (spicy, cool; relieves Liver Qi stagnation) bo he Mentha haplocalyx
6-9 g siler (pungent, sweet, warm; removes Cold and Damp stagnation) fang feng Ledebouriella seseloides
6-9 g white peony (bitter, sour, cool; nourishes Blood, which can be depleted and dried from the use of too many strongly moving herbs; also moves Blood stasis) bai shao yao Paeonia alba
6-9 g ligusticum (pungent, warm; Moves Blood and Qi stagnation) chuan xiong Ligusticum wallichii
6-9 g fu ling (sweet to bland, neutral; dispels Damp stagnation) fu ling Poria cocos
6-9 g Angelica dahurica (pungent, warm; clears Heat and calms Wind) bai zhi Angelica dahurica
6-9 g prepared pinellia (pungent, warm; dispels Damp and removes Phlegm) ban xia Pinellia ternata
3-6 g bitter orange (no seeds) (sour, bitter, slightly cold; moves Qi and clears Heat) zhi ke Citrus aurantium
6-9 g platycodon (pungent, bitter, neutral; clears Phlegm, which is a type of Damp stagnation) jie geng Platycodon grandiflorum
3-6 g mature tangerine peel (pungent, bitter, warm; regulates Qi, dispels Dampness) chen pi Citrus reticulata
6-9 g cyperus (spicy, slightly bitter, neutral to warm; moves food, Qi and Blood stagnations) xiang fu Cyperus rotundus
6-9 g dried ginger (spicy, hot energy; removes Cold and Damp stagnations) gan jiang Zingiberis officinalis
6 g American ginseng (cool, tonifies Yin; protects the Yin that can be exhausted and depleted from the other strong-moving and drying herbs in the formula) xi yang shen Panax quinquefolium
3-6 g honey-fried licorice (warm; tonifies and protects the Qi from being exhausted due to the combined effects of the strong-moving herbs in the formula) zhi gan cao Glycyrrhiza uralensis

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