Phlegm-Heat

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 热痰

Pinyin name: Rè Tán

Associated TCM concepts: Phlegm Heat pattern

Related conditions: Pneumonia Bronchiectasis Chronic bronchitis

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Nausea Red face Dry mouth Restlnessness Chest fullness and four other symptoms

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Swollen

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.

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.

Diagnosing Phlegm-Heat

Body Fluids (Jin Ye) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Body Fluids in Chinese Medicine

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Swollen

Possible symptoms: Nausea Red face Dry mouth Restlnessness Chest fullness Focal distention Feeling of oppression of the chest Coughing of copious thick yellow sputum Coughing and wheezing with copious thick and yellow sputum

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-Heat will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Phlegm-Heat might experience symptoms like red face, restlnessness, feeling of oppression of the chest and dry mouth (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Phlegm-Heat

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

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

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 with Ginkgo Nuts (Bai Guo) and Ephedra (Ma Huang) as principal ingredients. 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 Phlegm in the Lungs or Wind-Cold invading the Interior with Phelgm-Heat.

Read more about Ding Chuan 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 with Arisaema With Bile (Dan Nan Xing) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1584 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and transform Phlegm.

Read more about Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan