Acute gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. It is commonly caused by bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections and can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers holistic approaches to manage acute gastroenteritis by addressing the root cause of the illness and alleviating the symptoms. In this article, we will explore the treatment of four specific types of gastroenteritis according to TCM, including cold-dampness, summer heat and dampness, stomach indigestion, and spleen-stomach yang deficiency syndrome.
Cold-dampness gastroenteritis often presents with symptoms such as abdominal pain with rumbling, absence of perspiration in hot weather, acute vomiting and diarrhea, clear and watery vaginal discharge with a fishy smell, cold sensations in the lower abdomen-genitals region, and coughing out sputum with a low sound. The TCM treatment for this type of gastroenteritis is to transform dampness-sputum with aromatic herbs and to disperse cold and dry dampness.
Foods to Incorporate: Cayenne pepper, dill seed, fennel, fresh ginger, mustard seed, prickly ash, star anise, white or yellow mustard, wine, carp, celery, horse bean, jellyfish skin, Job's-tears, hyacinth bean, oregano, sweet basil, adzuki bean, bamboo shoot, soybean sprouts, and rosin.
Summer Heat and Dampness Gastroenteritis
Symptoms of summer heat and dampness gastroenteritis include abdominal fullness, burning sensation in the anus, chest discomfort, diarrhea, fever, forceful discharge of stools during defecation, lack of appetite, perspiration due to hot weather or putting on warm clothes, reddish urine, sudden attack of vomiting and diarrhea, thirst, and vomiting of substances with acid. The TCM treatment for this type of gastroenteritis is to clear heat and remove dampness and to regulate the stomach and intestines.
Foods to Incorporate: Banana, bamboo shoot, bitter endive, bitter gourd, celery, chicken egg white, crab, cucumber, mung bean, peppermint, purslane, carp, horse bean, jellyfish skin, Job's-tears, prickly ash, hyacinth bean, oregano, sweet basil, adzuki bean, soybean sprouts, and rosin.
Stomach Indigestion Gastroenteritis
Stomach indigestion gastroenteritis is characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain or swelling that lessens after bowel movement, acid swallowing and belching of bad breath, belching with poor appetite, discharge of watery, thin stools, insomnia, sour and bad breath from the mouth, stomachache, stools with an extremely bad smell, vomiting and diarrhea simultaneously, and vomiting of sour and bad-smelling foods with a love for cold drinks. The TCM treatment for this type of gastroenteritis is to promote digestion and regulate the stomach and intestine.
Foods to Incorporate: Asafoetida, buckwheat, castor bean, jellyfish, malt, peach, radish, water chestnut, cardamom seed, cayenne pepper, coriander, grapefruit, jackfruit, malt, sweet basil, tea, and tomato
Spleen-Stomach Yang Deficiency Syndrome Gastroenteritis
Spleen-stomach yang deficiency syndrome gastroenteritis presents with symptoms such as abdominal pain, clear urine, cold limbs, frequent diarrhea and vomiting, fatigue, intermittent hiccups with low sound, love of warmth and massage, pain that worsens with fatigue and hunger and improves with rest and eating, pale complexion, perspiration with cold limbs, poor appetite, shortness of breath, stomachache, upset stomach, vomiting of undigested foods, and water noise in the stomach. The TCM treatment for this type of gastroenteritis is to warm the middle region and disperse cold and to strengthen the spleen and the stomach.
Foods to Incorporate: Air bladder of shark, chicken, cayenne pepper, fennel, nutmeg, black and white pepper, prickly ash, mutton, sword bean, white or yellow mustard, cardamom seed, carp, cinnamon, garlic, and beef.