Combat GLP-1 Side Effects with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Dr. Natazia zu Stolberg, L.Ac, DACM
May 28, 2024
8 minutes

GLP-1 medications can be incredibly effective for weight management, but sometimes cause side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea when first adjusting to the medication. In addressing these side effects, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can play an important role for those seeking holistic and long term solutions. 

Acupuncture for Symptom Relief

Acupuncture is able to help alleviate symptoms like constipation, diarrhea and nausea by restoring gastrointestinal motility and function. It has been well-studied for its efficacy in treating nausea, even in challenging cases like morning sickness. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative, so a series of sessions, ideally at least once a week, is often necessary to see noticeable results.

Chinese Herbal Medicine and Nutrition for Symptom Management

Chinese herbal medicine, along with nutritional recommendations, can also play a key role in managing constipation, diarrhea and nausea. Tailored herbal formulations can soothe the stomach, improve digestion, and reduce nausea, providing relief without the side effects often associated with pharmaceutical interventions. Simple dietary additions can also have profound benefits, treating food as medicine.

At-Home Tips for Symptom Management

Here are some acupressure points, herbal teas, and food suggestions to help alleviate the symptoms you are experiencing:


  • Acupressure point:  SJ6 and S37
  • Tea: add a spoonful of high quality local honey to hot water. 
  • Food: cooked spinach with hemp seeds.


  • Acupressure point: S25 and Ren12
  • Tea: add a handful of fresh mint leaves to 8oz of hot water. Chew and swallow the leaves after finishing the tea. 
  • Food: green bananas.


  • Acupressure point: PC6 and Ren17  
  • Tea: add 4 slices of fresh ginger to 8oz of hot water. Chew on pieces of fresh ginger for stronger relief! 
  • Food: rice congee.

While GLP-1 medications play a crucial role in managing metabolic conditions, their side effects can pose challenges for some individuals. Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture offer complementary approaches that focus on restoring balance and addressing root causes, providing relief from side effects while supporting the body's innate healing capacities allowing you to feel your best! 

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