Heart Qi Stagnation

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 心气郁结      Pinyin name: Xīn Qì Yù Jié

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Qi Stagnation

Common combinations: Heart Vessel obstructed

Causes

Precursor patterns: Liver Qi Stagnation Heart Qi Deficiency

Common causes: Emotional stress

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Depression Palpitations Chest fullness Feeling of oppression of the chest

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Empty (Xu)

Tongue description: Slightly pale purple on the sides

Treatment

Treatment principle: Invigorate the Heart Qi, open the chest, calm the Mind.

Common formulas: Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Pathology

The symptoms of slight feeling of throat lump, the feeling of chest distension, frequent sighing and purple lips all indicate a certain degree of general Qi Stagnation

As for the specific Heart Qi Stagnation, slight short breath is the typical symptom.  

Pale face here is caused by stagnant Heart Qi fails to go up to the face rather than Heart Qi Deficiency. Poor appetite and slight nausea are caused by Heat Qi fails to go down to the Stomach

Causes

Precursor patterns: Heart Qi Stagnation can derive from Liver Qi Stagnation Heart Qi Deficiency

Emotional stress: Emotional stress such as sadness, worry or grief can greatly impact Heart Qi flow and stagnate it in the chest. It is actually one of the most obvious result of these emotions. If it is untreated for a while, the stagnated Qi can accumulate and turn into Fire or Heat in the Heart.  Another more common result of emotional stress is Heart Qi Deficiency.  Three reasons explains why some patients develop the Stagnation pattern while others get the Deficiency one.  1. These patients have a more active body and it is easier for them to develop some Full/Excess patterns.  2. If the patients are more likely to hide or suppress their feeling, Stagnation pattern tends to happen more.  3. If the patients have the preexisting pattern of Liver Qi Stagnation, they are more likely to have the Full/Excess pattern. Of course, Heart Qi Stagnation can occur without Live Qi Stagnation.

Diagnosing Heart Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong) or empty (Xu)

Tongue description: Slightly pale purple on the sides

Main symptoms: Depression Palpitations Chest fullness Feeling of oppression of the chest

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the slightly Overflowing quality of the Heart pulse.

Treating Heart Qi Stagnation

Treatment principle

Invigorate the Heart Qi, open the chest, calm the Mind.

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart Qi Stagnation

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm. Clears Phlegm.

Formula summary

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement.

Besides Heart Qi Stagnation, Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang is also used to treat Stomach Qi Stagnation or Pericardium Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Consequence patterns

Heart Blood Stagnation

It can cause Heart Blood Stagnation which is a much more serious pattern. 

Liver Qi Stagnation

If Heart Qi stagnates in the chest, it can influence the Liver negatively and lead to Liver Qi Stagnation.