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5 Chinese Herbs to Kick Start Digestion

By Lauren Ford
Posted On Jun 08, 2016
5 Chinese Herbs to Kick Start Digestion

Without proper digestion we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the foods we love – which would be a tragedy. If your digestive system isn’t working well, the rest of your body will slowly start to fall apart. Your bowel movements will change, you’ll lack energy, and even your sleep and your skin can be affected. Basically, life would be a total nightmare.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the most important organs is the stomach. This is because it is connected with liver and spleen function – when one of these organs is out of whack – they all are affected. Here is a list of a few herbs that can help if you are experiencing digestive issues. Some of these you can get on your own, others only a TCM practitioner can get for you. Please consult your TCM practitioner before taking any of the following herbs.

Geng Mi

Geng Mi is a type of sweet rice. In TCM, rice is very soothing to the digestive system. It is helpful in managing thirst, diarrhea, and fatigue – which is why it is one of the most popular dishes in Asian cultures.

Shan Zha


Shan Zha is a hawthorn berry. You can drink it as a tea after every meal. It’s sweet and sour in taste and is considered one of the strongest food stagnation herbs around. It is also known for its cardiovascular benefits.

Mai Ya

Mai Ya is barley. It’s used to facilitate digestion of starches and carbohydrates. You could cook with barley instead of rice or pasta. If you are breastfeeding, large amounts of barley could inhibit lactation, but small amounts can promote lactation.

Ji Nei Jin

Ji Nei Jin translates to “chicken inner golden.” It is a form of chicken gizzards used to promote digestion and move stagnant food. If you haven’t had a bowel movement and need to, add this herb into your formula. It’s also considered helpful for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, moving undigested foods, and severe indigestion.

Chen Pi


Chen Pi is actually the peel of an orange or tangerine. This herb is good for your spleen and stomach, helping with digestive issues including nausea, vomiting, belching, abdominal fullness, and pain. One thing to note, it is very bitter, which means it can help drain dampness. A damp digestive system can affect your appetite and cause you to have loose stool, always be tired, and have a thick greasy tongue coating. In a nut shell, it can help you regulate your whole digestive system.

To learn more about someone who had made TCM a lifestyle, read our exclusive interview with Norma Kamali.


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