Phlegm-Fluids

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At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 痰饮      Pinyin name: Tán Yǐn

Pattern nature: Full combined pattern

Pattern(s) it combines from: Phlegm Pathological Body Fluids

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Oedema Coughing No sweat Chest fullness No desire to drink and five other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: swollen tongue with sticky white or yellow coating

Treatment

Treatment principle: Tonify the Deficient Yang, dispel Empty Cold,  drain Dampness, Fluids and Phlegm through sweating, urination or other methods.

Common formulas: Er Chen Tang Wen Dan Tang Wu Ling San and one other formulas

Pathology

Both Phlegm and Fluids here are the pathological fluid wastes that fails to be expelled or drained out of the body. Then they can accumulate and settle down in any body parts, such as the Organs, Channels, joints, limbs and etc. If these Body Fluids store between the skin and muscle, they are called 'Oedema' specifically. 

Phlegm and Fluids are different but closely related. Accumulated pathological water is called Fluids (Yin 饮).  It is often thin and watery like sputum. The concept is similar to Dampness. Accumulated Fluid or Yin become Phlegm (Tan 痰), which is more sticky, thick and turbid.  

Phlegm-Fluids is a type of Substantial Phlegm characterized by white, very watery and thin sputum. It can sometimes actually be heard splashing in the body. The fundamental causes of this pattern is the Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency which gives rise to Empty-Cold. Therefore, it is necessary to use warm herbs or formulas that drains water though urination or sweating. 

The term 'Phlegm-Fluids' has its general or specific meaning. The general one refers to all Phlegm-Fluids patterns including the following 4 main ones:  

The specific meaning refers to the first pattern: Phlegm-Fluids in the Stomach and Small intestine (Tan Yin, 痰饮)

Diagnosing Phlegm-Fluids

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: swollen tongue with sticky white or yellow coating

Main symptoms: Oedema Coughing No sweat Chest fullness No desire to drink Shortness of breath Vomiting of watery fluids Feeling of heaviness of body Abdominal distention and fullness Hypochondrial pain that is worse on coughing and breathing

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the chest, abdomen and muscle fullness and pain.

Treating Phlegm-Fluids

Treatment principle

Tonify the Deficient Yang, dispel Empty Cold,  drain Dampness, Fluids and Phlegm through sweating, urination or other methods. 

Herbal formulas used to treat Phlegm-Fluids

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. Invented in 1174 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

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

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Formula summary

Wu Ling San is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that promote urination and leach out Dampness.

Besides Phlegm-Fluids, Wu Ling San is also used to treat Yin Excess or Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing.

Read more about Wu Ling San

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Formula summary

Er Chen Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1148 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

Besides Phlegm-Fluids, Er Chen Tang is also used to treat Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs or Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs.

Read more about Er Chen Tang

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Strengthens the Spleen. Resolves Dampness.

Formula summary

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm and transform water and Dampness.

Besides Phlegm-Fluids, Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang is also used to treat Phlegm-Fluids in the Stomach and Small intestine or Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang