A problem that often arises at this time of year is overeating, or eating too many things that are bad for the health, like sugars and starches. On Thanksgiving Day in particular, we are actually encouraged to stuff ourselves to the gills. Certainly one day a year, such indulgence can’t kill us.
However, from Chinese Medicine point of view, any time we overeat it will create what is called “Food Stagnation.” This is most definitely the bloated feeling you get after the big meal, loss of appetite (of course), and sometimes pain, or trouble sleeping. For many, there is just this temporary feeling that goes away by the next day once our body has dealt with it. But sometimes a bout of overeating can create problems that stay around for days or even weeks. A person can have abdominal pain, nausea, burping, acid regurgitation, vomiting, diarrhea, or even insomnia or emotional upset, days or even weeks later, and it can be attributed to what is formally called “Retention of Food in the Stomach.”
Fortunately, there is great acupuncture and herbs for this. In particular, I like a famous Chinese formula called “Bao He Wan,” translated as Preserve Harmony Pills. I keep a bottle of this around at all times, and definitely for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Catching Food Stagnation in the early stages is the way to go, and this is the basic formula to do that. It consists of seven herbs, many of which are now known to contain digestive enzymes! From Chinese Medicine point of view, it also moves the Qi, dissolves phlegm, clears heat, and more. I always take it after a too-big meal, and it does the trick, so I sleep better. I highly recommend having some on hand at all times; in my home, it is a household expression, “Time for some Bao He Wan!” It can also be used after drinking too much alcohol, or eating too fast! I have a stock in my office, so pick some up next time you come in, and it’s so common, I’m sure you can also find it at your local health food store. If you can’t get some before this Thanksgiving, a basic digestive enzyme complex will also help, although it doesn’t cover as many bases as the Bao He Wan.