Phlegm-Heat

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 热痰      Pinyin name: Rè Tán

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: General pattern with specific forms like Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs

Causes

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Depression Mucus in stools A feeling of oppression in the epigastrium

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue description: Red swollen tongue with yellow sticky coating

Treatment

Treatment principle: Resolve Phlegm, clear Heat.

Common formulas: Wen Dan Tang Ding Chuan Tang Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan

Pathology

Phlegm-Heat is a pattern that typically occurs when Dampness or Body Fluids combine with pathogenic Heat. In this case the Heat either invades from the Exterior or is generated by emotional disorders, long-term illness, poor diet or other internal disharmonies.

The Heart is associated with Fire, while the Lungs are the Organ that is most sensitive to temperature (both hot or cold). Thus, these are the two Organs most closely affected by Phlegm-Heat, as can be seen in the symptoms. Phlegm-Heat in the Stomach can affect the Mind and cause severe mental symptoms such as manic depression.

Common symptoms include the coughing of thick, yellow, viscous sputum that is difficult to expectorate, a red and flushed face, a yellow tongue coating and a rapid pulse. There may also be dizziness, palpitations, impaired consciousness, epilepsy, or spasms.

Because Heat is the cause of the Phlegm in this pattern, it too must be addressed to resolve the Phlegm.

Causes

Precursor patterns: Phlegm-Heat can derive from Stomach Qi Stagnation Dampness in the Gallbladder Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder

Diet: It can be caused by excessive consumption of hot greasy foods, such as deep fried foods.

Diagnosing Phlegm-Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua)

Tongue description: Red swollen tongue with yellow sticky coating

Main symptoms: Depression Mucus in stools A feeling of oppression in the epigastrium

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the sticky yellow Phlegm and feeling of chest oppression.

Treating Phlegm-Heat

Treatment principle

Resolve Phlegm, clear Heat. 

Herbal formulas used to treat Phlegm-Heat

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

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan

Source date: 1584 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Phlegm. Directs Rebellious Qi downwards. Stops coughing.

Formula summary

Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1584 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and transform Phlegm.

Besides Phlegm-Heat, Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan is also used to treat Lung Heat or Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs.

Read more about Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan

Ding Chuan Tang

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Lung Heat. Expectorant for asthma.

Formula summary

Ding Chuan Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1550 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas for a rebellious Qi.

Besides Phlegm-Heat, Ding Chuan Tang is also used to treat Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat.

Read more about Ding Chuan Tang