Acupuncture and the treatment of morning sickness has been the object of more than one research study in the West and for those interested you can go here for further reading.
Research studies involving Chinese herbs for morning sickness are few and far between, apart from studies on ginger for nausea and vomiting generally. In fact, in the West the number of research studies on Chinese herbs compared to acupuncture studies on any condition is very small.
Why are there so few research studies on Chinese herbs and morning sickness?
There are many reasons for this, including that the number of registered and qualified acupuncturists far out number registered Chinese herbalists. The universities are already strapped for research funds and thus are motivated to research acupuncture.
Be it that is the case, Chinese herbs have been used for the treatment of morning sickness for thousands of years and the first specialist school of treating gynecology problems dates back to the 1200’s in China.
What causes morning sickness according to western medicine?
Western medicine views some causes of morning sickness being elevated hormone levels or low blood sugar but have no treatment for it.
What causes morning sickness according to traditional Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine has a number of causes attributing to morning sickness including
- Stomach energy deficiency with cold
- Stomach yin deficiency
- Overactive liver attacking the stomach
- Stomach heat
- Phlegm and damp
- Heart problems
There are then a number of herb formula and individual herbs that can be used to address the pattern of disharmony causing the morning sickness. This is why there is not one single combination or herb that fits all women with morning sickness across the board and diagnosis from a registered Chinese herbalist is recommended.
Different symptoms and the type of nausea help determine what is the cause and then what herbs to prescribe.
What are some examples of Chinese herbs that might be prescribed to treat morning sickness?
For example, in a case of cold stomach causing morning sickness, having some ginger will likely help the nausea. If on the other hand, the woman had a hot stomach condition, having ginger on its own would likely make the nausea worse.
Someone with an imbalance of stomach yin deficiency would need specific yin nourishing medicinals such as sha shen or mai dong.
A condition of dampness and phlegm causing morning sickness is often aggravated by drinking too much water and they probably prefer to sip small amounts of hot water. In these cases a base formula of Ling Gui Zhu Tang could be selected with additions.
Listen to the author’s radio show on Radio kidnappers on the 19th November where he interviews Ilana Sowter from Australia about Chinese herbs and morning sickness.