Article Abstract

Understanding vomiting from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine

Authors: Yang Ling, Dan Yang, Wenlong Shao


Vomiting is a common clinical symptom in which the conditions associated with impaired homeostasis and qi flow ascend reversely within the stomach, resulting in the expulsion of the stomach’s contents through the mouth. The stomach, located in the middle warmer (also known as Zhong Jiao), is primarily responsible for receiving and digesting food and liquid, and its qi typically flows downward. Various unfavorable conditions associated with the environment, food, mental health, or physiological stress can compromise the stomach, thereby leading to a loss of gastric homeostasis, which often triggers vomiting. However, regardless of external factors or internal weaknesses, the direct cause of vomiting is the loss of gastric homeostasis and the ascending qi flow. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) built its understanding of vomiting from the long-term accumulation of clinical observations and treatments, which were used to gradually improve and develop relevant theories, diagnoses, and treatments. This review paper presents vomiting from the nonaggressive perspective of TCM; specifically, we summarize TCM’s unique insights with regard to vomiting across various aspects including its etiology, diagnosis, locations, relationships with other organs, dialectical treatment, and drug and medical characteristics. By revealing the abundance of TCM’s theoretical and clinical knowledge concerning vomiting, we attempt to integrate Chinese and western medicines to treat it. In addition, the valuable knowledge that TCM provides with regard to vomiting certainly deserves better understanding to develop and improve modern medicine.