Emphysema according to Chinese Medicine

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Emphysema factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, emphysema can be associated with five so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here emphysema can be caused by five different patterns.

To understand whether someone's emphysema might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from emphysema alone. For instance when emphysema is caused by the pattern Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs, patients also experience symptoms such as headaches, chills without sweating, stuffy nose and dry throat. Similarly, patients with Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

We've listed below a description of the five patterns associated with emphysema so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below six formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with emphysema, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The five "patterns of disharmony" associated with emphysema

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Xing Su San

Symptoms: Phlegm Headaches Dry cough Dry throat Stuffy nose Chills without sweating

Emphysema might be due to Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as headaches, chills without sweating, stuffy nose and dry throat. Similarly, patients with Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs typically exhibit wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the key herb for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Damp-Cold Phlegm

Damp-Cold Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Er Chen Tang

Symptoms: Nausea Vomiting Dizziness Palpitations Focal distention Coughing with copious white sputum Stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

Emphysema might be due to Damp-Cold Phlegm if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium and palpitations. Similarly, patients with Damp-Cold Phlegm typically exhibit slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Damp-Cold Phlegm here

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Recommended herbal formula: San Zi Yang Qin Tang

Symptoms: Poor appetite Digestive difficulties Focal distention of the chest Coughing and wheezing with copious sputum

Emphysema might be due to Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as coughing and wheezing with copious sputum, focal distention of the chest, poor appetite and digestive difficulties. Similarly, patients with Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation typically exhibit slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation here

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Qing Long Tang

Symptoms: Wheezing No thirst Absence of sweating Generalized body pain Alternating fever and chills General sensation of heaviness Stifling sensation in the chest Coughing of copious thin and white sputum

Emphysema might be due to Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as alternating fever and chills, absence of sweating, wheezing and stifling sensation in the chest. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm typically exhibit tight (Jin) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm here

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Shen Qi Wan

Symptoms: Incontinence Lower back pain Urinary difficulty Lower abdominal pressure Weakness of the lower extremities Cold sensation in the lower half of the body

Emphysema might be due to Kidney Yang Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as lower back pain, weakness of the lower extremities, cold sensation in the lower half of the body and lower abdominal pressure. Similarly, patients with Kidney Yang Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

The six herbal formulas that might help with emphysema

Xing Su San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Clears Dry-Cold. Disseminates the Lung Qi and relieves cough. Transforms thin mucus.

Why might Xing Su San help with emphysema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs, a pattern sometimes associated with emphysema. If it looks like you might suffer from Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xing Su San here

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with emphysema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Damp-Cold Phlegm, a pattern sometimes associated with emphysema. If it looks like you might suffer from Damp-Cold Phlegm, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

San Zi Yang Qin Tang

Source date: 1856 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Directs the Qi downward. Transforms Phlegm. Reduces harbored food.

Why might San Zi Yang Qin Tang help with emphysema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation, a pattern sometimes associated with emphysema. If it looks like you might suffer from Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about San Zi Yang Qin Tang here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with emphysema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm, a pattern sometimes associated with emphysema. If it looks like you might suffer from Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with emphysema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yang Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with emphysema. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney Yang Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

Si Mo Tang

Source date: 1253 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Directs rebellious Qi downward. Expands the chest and dissipates clumping.

Why might Si Mo Tang help with emphysema?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat , a pattern sometimes associated with emphysema. If it looks like you might suffer from , this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Si Mo Tang here