Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 痰火忧心

Pinyin name: Tán Huǒ Yōu Xīn

Associated TCM concepts: Phlegm Heart

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Coma Mucus Thirst Aphasia Anxiety and seventeen other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue description: Red and swollen tongue with yellow sticky coating and deep middle crack. Redder and swollen tip with points.

This is an Excess pattern and all the mental symptoms are caused by Phlegm obstructing the Heart so that the Mind (Shen) is disturbed and lose its residence at the Heart. This obstruction can lead to the loss of insight , manic depression, extreme mental instability or even brain injury. 

All the mental symptoms mentioned are very similar to the ones with bipolar disease in the Western medicine. However, Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart can happen without being diagnosed with bipolar disease. 

On the other hand, Heart Fire agitates the Mind so that insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, anxiety and agitation happen. 

Finally this pattern also features the symptoms of Spleen Qi Deficiency. The Spleen is the origin of all Body Fluids transformation and transportation. When this function is in disharmony, fluids accumulates to Phlegm. 

The existence of the Phlegm can be shown by the yellow sticky coating of the tongue and the Slippery Pulse. While Heat can be observed by the red tongue color. 

Diagnosing Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart

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

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua), wiry (Xian) or full (Shi)

Tongue description: Red and swollen tongue with yellow sticky coating and deep middle crack. Redder and swollen tip with points.

Possible symptoms: Coma Mucus Thirst Aphasia Anxiety Red face Insomnia Shouting Dull face Palpitations Restlnessness Rash behaviour Mental confusion Incoherent speech Mental depression Violent behaviour Muttering to oneself Dream disturbed sleep Bitter taste in the mouth Rattling sound in the throat Uncontrolled laughing or crying 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 Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart will tend to exhibit overflowing (Hong), rapid (Shu), slippery (Hua), wiry (Xian) or full (Shi) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart might experience symptoms like aphasia, coma, thirst and red face (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Formula summary

Wen Dan Tang is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1174 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

Besides Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart, Wen Dan Tang is also used to treat Phlegm Misting the Heart or Gallbladder Deficiency.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1852 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder Heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Formula summary

Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1852 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

Besides Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart, Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang is also used to treat Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium.

Read more about Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Diet recommendations

As for food, better avoid alcohol, tobacco, meat, coffee, sodas, juices, any caffeinated foods and drinks, any hot, spicy, greasy and fried foods or any processed foods especially with additives. Eat lots of vegetables, tofu, black beans, greens, rice, barley, legumes.

Try psychotherapy such as cupping, meditation or any relaxation therapies.