Cold-Phlegm

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 寒痰

Pinyin name: Hán Tán

Associated TCM concepts: Phlegm Cold evil

Related conditions: Chronic asthma Chronic bronchitis Obstructive pulmonary disease

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Nausea Cold limbs Poor appetite White and watery sputum Feeling of oppression of the chest

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

A famous saying in Chinese Medicine goes: "Phlegm has its source in the Kidneys, is then moved by the Spleen, and resides in the Lungs."

This couldn't be more obvious in Cold-Phlegm patterns. The "Cold" aspect of it is that it stems from a Fire Deficiency of the Gate of Life (Ming Men), which is the source of warmth for all physiological processes. This Deficiency inhibits the Spleen's ability to transform and transport the Body Fluids, which accumulate and become Phlegm and thin mucus.

The thin mucus is then sent to the Lungs, the natural next step for Body Fluids after they're filtered in the Spleen. Hence there are the symptoms of white and watery sputum as well as chest oppression in this pattern.

Diagnosing Cold-Phlegm

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), slippery (Hua) or slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Possible symptoms: Nausea Cold limbs Poor appetite White and watery sputum Feeling of oppression of the chest

Diagnosing a pattern in Chinese Medicine is no easy feat and should be left to professional practitioners.

In particular one has to know how to differentiate between different types of pulses and tongue coatings, shapes and colors. Here patients with Cold-Phlegm will tend to exhibit deep (Chen), slippery (Hua) or slow (Chi) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thick white coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Cold-Phlegm might experience symptoms like white and watery sputum, feeling of oppression of the chest, cold limbs and nausea (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Cold-Phlegm

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.

Formula summary

San Zi Yang Qin Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with White Mustard Seeds (Bai Jie Zi), Perilla Seeds (Zi Su Zi) and Radish Seeds (Lai Fu Zi) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1856 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and transform Phlegm-Cold.

Besides Cold-Phlegm, San Zi Yang Qin Tang is also used to treat Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation.

Read more about San Zi Yang Qin Tang

Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Lungs. Transforms congested Fluids.

Formula summary

Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and transform Phlegm-Cold.

Read more about Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang

Most important herbs used to treat Cold-Phlegm