Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 痰火忧心包      Pinyin name: Tán Huǒ Yōu Xīn Bāo

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Phlegm

Causes

Common causes: 1. Emotional stress, 2. Diet

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Anxiety Red face Insomnia Shouting Dull face and fifteen other symptoms

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

Tongue description: Red and swollen tongue with yellow, dry and sticky coating. The tip may be redder with swollen red points. There may be also keep crack.

Treatment

Treatment principle: Remove Fire from the Pericardium and the Heart, resolve Phlegm, open the Mind’s orifices, calm the Mind.

Common formulas: Wen Dan Tang Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Pathology

The Pericardium is the guard and the first defense line of the Heart. Therefore when the Heart was invaded by Phlegm and Fire, the Pericardium suffers as well. Actually the related mental symptoms of these two Organs by Phlegm and Fire are quick similar with just different severe levels. 

Fire harasses the Mind in both the Heart and the Pericardium, it causes mental restlessness, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep and agitation. When Phlegm obstructs the Mind which resides in both Organs, it leads to mental confusion, rash and manic behavior, violent behavior such as hitting or scolding people, uncontrolled laughter or crying, shouting, muttering to oneself, mental depression and dullness. 

All the mental symptoms mentioned above are very similar to the ones with bipolar disease in the Western medicine. However, these two patterns can happen without being diagnosed with bipolar disease. 

Different from above, the chest pain and feeling of oppression is unique to Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, because the Pericardium channel goes though the chest. The same channel connects to the Lung channel, which leads to slightly rapid breathing. 

Causes

Emotional stress : Long term emotional stress such as sadness, grief, worry, anger, frustration and resentment has serious negative impact on both the Heart and the Pericardium. It is because their Qi get stagnated and accumulated as Fire and Phlegm, which then disturbs the Mind.

Diet: Fire and Phlegm can be the result due to over consumption of hot and greasy foods.

Diagnosing Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

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

Tongue description: Red and swollen tongue with yellow, dry and sticky coating. The tip may be redder with swollen red points. There may be also keep crack.

Main symptoms: Anxiety Red face Insomnia Shouting Dull face Chest pain Palpitations Rapid breath 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

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the chest oppression and pain, mental symptoms and red and swollen tongue with dry sticky yellowing coating.

Treating Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

Treatment principle

Remove Fire from the Pericardium and the Heart, resolve Phlegm, open the Mind’s orifices, calm the Mind.

Herbal formulas used to treat Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

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

Formula summary

Wen Dan Tang is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1174 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

Besides Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium, 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. Invented in 1852 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

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

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. 

Consequence patterns

Yin Deficiency

Fire can injure Yin can cause general Yin Deficiency. 

Blood Stagnation

First of all, Fire thickens the Blood. Secondly, Phlegm gets accumulated due to the condensed Blood. Both are part of Body Fluids and have influence over each other.  Phlegm can worsen the pre-existing Blood Stagnation condition. 

Dryness

Phlegm is the pathological accumulation of Body Fluids and it can cause Dryness of other part of the body. 

Spleen Qi Deficiency

Phlegm obstructs Qi movement, therefore it may cause or worsen Deficiency of Spleen Qi.