Heart Vessel obstructed

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 心脉痹阻

Pinyin name: Xīn Mài Bì Zǔ

Associated TCM concepts: Heart What are meridians in Chinese Medicine?

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Phlegm Depression Heart pain Chest pain Purple lips and ten other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Knotted (Jie), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: Swollen tongue with a sticky coating.

This is a complicated pattern as it is the combination of four other patterns and their features at the same time: Phlegm, Heart Blood Stagnation, Heart Qi Stagnation,  and Cold.  

If Phlegm is the dominant one out of the above four patterns, the pulse is rather Slippery instead of Wiry, Choppy or Knotted. Regardless the Phlegm in the Heart is of Hot or Cold nature, it can cause a swollen tongue, a feeling of chest oppression, feeling of heaviness, shortness of breath with inability to lie down, and spitting of phlegm. Di Tan Tang, together with Long-stamen onion builbs, Snake gourds and Crow-dipper rhizome, is more suitable for treatment if Phlegm is the main feature. 

Heart Blood Stagnation causes stabbing or pricking pain which comes and goes. This pain often occurs around the Heart or chest area but may also spread to the upper back or shoulder. In additional to that, the patients' lips, face, nail and tongue can turn to purple color due to the Stagnation of Heart Blood. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is more recommended if these features are more obvious. 

Emotional symptoms such as mental restlessness or depression are caused by both Heart Qi and Blood Stagnation. Chai Hu Shu Gan San is recommended if Heart Qi Stagnation is more dominant. 

Finally, there are also Cold pattern features such as cold hands or feeling of cold. This Coldness  can congeal muscle and worsen chest pain discussed above. In this case, it is suggested to use Dang Gui Si Ni Tang together with Immature bitter orange, Long-stamen onion bulbs and Cinnamon twigs

Diagnosing Heart Vessel obstructed

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

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), knotted (Jie), slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: Swollen tongue with a sticky coating.

Possible symptoms: Phlegm Depression Heart pain Chest pain Purple lips Purple face Palpitations Purple nails Restlnessness Frequent sighing Aversion to speak Shortness of breath Cold hands and feet Feeling of heaviness 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 Heart Vessel obstructed will tend to exhibit choppy (Se), knotted (Jie), slippery (Hua) or wiry (Xian) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Heart Vessel obstructed might experience symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, depression and restlnessness (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart Vessel obstructed

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Formula summary

Chai Hu Shu Gan San is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1602, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote Qi movement.

Besides Heart Vessel obstructed, Chai Hu Shu Gan San is also used to treat Liver Blood Stagnation or Rebellious Liver Qi.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Dispels blood Stagnation. Spreads the Liver Qi. Unblocks the channels.

Formula summary

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is a 11-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Peach Kernels (Tao Ren), Safflowers (Hong Hua) and Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1830 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Besides Heart Vessel obstructed, Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is also used to treat Heart Blood Stagnation or Pericardium Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Di Tan Tang

Source date: 1470 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Removes Phlegm. Opens the sensory orifices. Tonifies Qi.

Formula summary

Di Tan Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing) and Red Tangerine Peel (Ju Hong) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1470 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dispel Phlegm.

Besides Heart Vessel obstructed, Di Tan Tang is also used to treat Phlegm Misting the Heart.

Read more about Di Tan Tang

Dang Gui Si Ni Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Channels. Disperses Cold. Nourishes the Blood. Unblocks the Blood vessels.

Formula summary

Dang Gui Si Ni Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dong Quai (Dang Gui) and Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) as principal ingredients. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm Interior Cold.

Read more about Dang Gui Si Ni Tang