Symptom families: Respiratory Secretions, Cough Related Symptoms

Parent symptom: Sputum

Sub-symptom(s): Coughing With Blood Streaked Sputum

Did you mean? Hemoptysis

What is Bloody Sputum?

Bloody sputum refers to the presence of blood in the phlegm produced from the respiratory tract, typically expelled by coughing. This symptom can range from small streaks of blood to larger amounts mixed with mucus.

Bloody sputum can be an indicator of various conditions, from minor irritations in the respiratory system to more serious diseases. It's important for such symptoms to be evaluated by healthcare professionals to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

How does TCM view Bloody Sputum?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) interprets bloody sputum as a sign of internal disharmony, often associated with patterns of Heat or Blood disorders.

In TCM, symptoms like bloody sputum are not seen in isolation but as part of a larger pattern of imbalance within the body. The approach is to identify and address the root cause based on individual diagnosis, often involving a combination of herbal remedies, acupuncture, and dietary adjustments to restore balance and health.

Root Causes of Bloody Sputum in TCM

In TCM, bloody sputum is commonly associated with two primary patterns: Heat in the Blood and Loss of Blood. The Heat in the Blood pattern is characterized by symptoms like feeling hot, red skin eruptions, thirst, and frequent bleeding episodes, indicating an excess heat condition in the Blood.

Conversely, the Loss of Blood pattern involves symptoms such as nosebleeds, uterine hemorrhage, and excessive menstruation, pointing to a Deficiency or Loss of Blood in the body. Both patterns reflect a significant disturbance in the body’s natural balance, requiring targeted treatment strategies.

Explore below more details about what might cause Bloody sputum according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Heat
  • Yin Deficiency
  • Blood Deficiency
  • Lung
  • Kidney
Detailed description of the cause

Heat

In TCM "Heat" signifies an excess of Yang energy, leading to an imbalance where heat predominates over the body's cool Yin aspects. This condition is metaphorically akin to an internal over-heating. Symptoms indicative of Heat can include feelings of warmth, fever, sweating, irritability, red face, thirst with a preference for cold drinks, and a rapid pulse. The tongue may appear red with a yellow coating. Unlike the common interpretation of heat in terms of temperature, in TCM, it represents a state of hyperactivity or inflammation in the body.... see more

Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Bloody Sputum

Common Symptoms: Night Sweats Thirst Anxiety Insomnia Restlessness Xerostomia Dry Stools Dry Throat

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heat in the Blood Bloody sputum, Feeling hot, Red skin eruptions, Thirst, Frequent bleeding, Hematochezia, Hematuria, Vomiting blood, Hemoptysis, Nosebleeds, Excessive menstruation... see more Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang | Gu Jing Wan | Shi Hui San | Bai He Di Huang Tang | Hua Ban Tang | Qing Ying Tang | Qing Re Gu Jing Tang
Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency Coughing with blood-streaked sputum, Afternoon heat sensation, Xerostomia, Preference for sipping, Dry mouth and throat at night, Night sweats, Cardiac burning sensation, Hot palms and soles, Dry stools, Scanty and dark urine, Flushed cheekbones... see more Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang | Huang Lian E Jiao Tang | Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang | Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan | Suan Zao Ren Tang
Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire Coughing with blood-streaked sputum, Wheezing, Dry throat, Hot palms and soles, Night sweats, Chronic bronchitis, Chronic pharyngitis, Spontaneous pneumothorax, Cor pulmonale, Silicosis, Pulmonary tuberculosis... see more Bai He Gu Jin Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Yin Deficiency

Yin deficiency in TCM is a pattern of disharmony characterized by a depletion of the body's Yin energy, which represents the cooling, moistening, and nurturing aspects of our physiology. This condition often arises from factors like chronic stress, overwork, insufficient rest, or prolonged illness. Symptoms of Yin deficiency can include a sensation of heat, especially in the afternoon or evening, night sweats, insomnia, a dry mouth or throat, and a red tongue with little coating. There might also be a general feeling of restlessness or irritability. Since Yin is essential for balancing the body's active and warm Yang energy, its deficiency leads to a relative excess of Yang, manifesting as heat or dryness symptoms.... see more

Yin Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Bloody Sputum

Common Symptoms: Hot Palms And Soles Night Sweats Wheezing Dry Throat Chronic Bronchitis Chronic Pharyngitis Spontaneous Pneumothorax Cor Pulmonale

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency Coughing with blood-streaked sputum, Afternoon heat sensation, Xerostomia, Preference for sipping, Dry mouth and throat at night, Night sweats, Cardiac burning sensation, Hot palms and soles, Dry stools, Scanty and dark urine, Flushed cheekbones... see more Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang | Huang Lian E Jiao Tang | Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang | Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan | Suan Zao Ren Tang
Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire Coughing with blood-streaked sputum, Wheezing, Dry throat, Hot palms and soles, Night sweats, Chronic bronchitis, Chronic pharyngitis, Spontaneous pneumothorax, Cor pulmonale, Silicosis, Pulmonary tuberculosis... see more Bai He Gu Jin Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Blood Deficiency

Blood Deficiency in TCM is like when your body's tank runs low on the vital energy that blood provides. It's not exactly the same as anemia in modern medicine, which is about having too few red blood cells. Instead, Blood Deficiency in TCM is about your body not having enough of the life-giving qualities that blood brings, like nourishment and moisture. This can make you feel tired, look pale, and even feel dizzy or have blurry vision. It's like a garden not getting enough water to stay lush and vibrant. TCM sees this as an imbalance where the body isn't being nourished as it should be, impacting overall health and well-being.... see more

Blood Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Bloody Sputum

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Loss of Blood Bloody sputum, Nosebleeds, Uterine hemorrhage, Hematuria, Hematochezia, Hemoptysis, Vomiting blood, Dark menstrual clots, Excessive menstruation... see more Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Lung

In TCM the Lungs are seen as the organ responsible for controlling Qi and respiration, as well as being a key part of the body's defensive system. They are thought to maintain the balance and flow of air and moisture, and are closely linked to the skin and hair. When the Lungs are imbalanced or malfunctioning in TCM, it can lead to respiratory issues like coughing or asthma, a weakened immune system, dry skin, and emotional disturbances such as sadness or grief. These symptoms are believed to arise from disruptions in the Lungs' ability to regulate Qi and protect the body, highlighting their central role in maintaining overall health and well-being.... see more

Lung Patterns That Can Lead to Bloody Sputum

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire Coughing with blood-streaked sputum, Wheezing, Dry throat, Hot palms and soles, Night sweats, Chronic bronchitis, Chronic pharyngitis, Spontaneous pneumothorax, Cor pulmonale, Silicosis, Pulmonary tuberculosis... see more Bai He Gu Jin Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Kidney

In TCM the Kidneys are regarded as the body's most fundamental reservoir of Essence, known as Jing, which influences growth, reproduction, and aging. They are not just organs for filtering blood, but a holistic system governing vital life forces. When the Kidneys malfunction in TCM, it can manifest as a variety of health issues, such as chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, imbalances in fluid metabolism leading to edema or dryness, lower back pain, and a sense of fear or insecurity.... see more

Kidney Patterns That Can Lead to Bloody Sputum

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire Coughing with blood-streaked sputum, Wheezing, Dry throat, Hot palms and soles, Night sweats, Chronic bronchitis, Chronic pharyngitis, Spontaneous pneumothorax, Cor pulmonale, Silicosis, Pulmonary tuberculosis... see more Bai He Gu Jin Tang

TCM Herbal Formulas for Bloody Sputum

For addressing the Heat in the Blood pattern, TCM recommends formulas like Hua Ban Tang, which contains Gypsum (Shi Gao) and is aimed at clearing heat from Qi and Blood. Another formula, Qing Ying Tang, which includes Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao), is used for clearing nutritive-level Heat and cooling the Blood.

For the Loss of Blood pattern, Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, also containing Water Buffalo Horns, is prescribed. These formulas are tailored to the individual’s specific TCM pattern diagnosis, targeting the underlying imbalance causing bloody sputum.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address bloody sputum, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Heat
  • Yin Deficiency
  • Blood Deficiency
  • Formulas that clear heat from deficiency
  • Formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind
  • Formulas that clear nutritive-level heat
  • Formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge
  • Formulas that stop bleeding
  • Formulas that clear heat from qi and blood
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify

All Formulas Recommended for Bloody Sputum Caused by Heat

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang Heat in the Blood
Gu Jing Wan Heat in the Blood
Shi Hui San Heat in the Blood
Bai He Di Huang Tang Heat in the Blood
Hua Ban Tang Heat in the Blood
Qing Ying Tang Heat in the Blood
Qing Re Gu Jing Tang Heat in the Blood
Bai He Gu Jin Tang Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire
Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Huang Lian E Jiao Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Suan Zao Ren Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

All Formulas Recommended for Bloody Sputum Caused by Yin Deficiency

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Bai He Gu Jin Tang Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire
Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Huang Lian E Jiao Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Suan Zao Ren Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

All "formulas that clear heat from deficiency" recommended for bloody sputum

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Bai He Di Huang Tang Heat in the Blood
Qing Re Gu Jing Tang Heat in the Blood
Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

All "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat" recommended for bloody sputum

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang Heat in the Blood, Loss of Blood
Qing Ying Tang Heat in the Blood

All "formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind" recommended for bloody sputum

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Huang Lian E Jiao Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency
Suan Zao Ren Tang Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

Acupoints for Bloody Sputum

Explore below some acupoints used to address bloody sputum, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Stomach Channel
  • Kidney Channel
  • Lung Channel
Kufang ST-14

Kufang ST-14

In the 1st intercostal space, on the mammillary line, 4 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Wuyi ST-15

Wuyi ST-15

In the 2nd intercostal space, on the mammillary line, 4 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Dazhong KID-4

Dazhong KID-4

Posterior and inferior to the medial malleolus, in the depression medial to the Achilles tendon, superior to its insertion at the calcaneus.

Zhongfu LU-1

Zhongfu LU-1

On the lateral aspect of the chest, in the 1st intercostal space, 6 cun lateral to the midline, 1 cun inferior to Yunmen LU-2. Below the acromial extremity of the clavicle, slightly medial to the lower border of the coracoid process.