Phlegm Misting the Heart

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At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 痰迷心窍      Pinyin name: Tán Mí Xīn Qiào

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Phlegm

Causes

Precursor patterns: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Common causes: 1. Constitutional for children, 2. Diet

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Aphasia Vomiting Slurred speech Unconsciousness Mental confusion and three other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue description: Thick sticky slippery white coating, swollen tongue, midline crack until the tip of the tongue

Treatment

Treatment principle: Resolve Phlegm, open the Heart and the Mind’s orifices.

Common formulas: Wen Dan Tang Di Tan Tang

Pathology

This pattern is also called 'Cold Phlegm or Mucus Obstructing the Heart Orifices'. It is similar to the pattern of 'Phlegm Fire harassing the Heart' (also called 'Hot Phlegm or Mucus Obstructing the Heart orifices'), but it is a Cold Pattern here. 

Children can have this pattern and it is often constitutional. It can be the fundamental cause for symptoms like retardation or speech difficulties. 

As for adult, Phlegm together with the Wind can lead to coma, paralysis and aphasia, which happens often after a Wind-stroke attack. 

The Mind has no residence at the Heart if it is obstructed by the Phlegm, hence the symptoms of mental confusion, lethargic stupor or unconsciousness. 

The Phlegm also prevents the tongue from moving and thus aphasia happens. It is because the Heart opens to the tongue. 

Due to the Phlegm obstructing the chest, vomiting and the rattling sound in the throat are also the typical symptoms. 

Finally, the swollen tongue with sticky coating and Slippery pulse also shows the existing of Phlegm. 

Causes

Precursor patterns: Phlegm Misting the Heart can derive from Spleen Qi Deficiency

Constitutional for children : This pattern is constitutional if it happens to children.

Diet: Over consumption of greasy, cold or raw foods can cause accumulation of Phlegm and thus related patterns. However, in order for the Phlegm to mist the Heart, there are usually also serious long term emotional problems such as anxiety.

Diagnosing Phlegm Misting the Heart

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue description: Thick sticky slippery white coating, swollen tongue, midline crack until the tip of the tongue

Main symptoms: Aphasia Vomiting Slurred speech Unconsciousness Mental confusion Incoherent speech Rattling sound in the throat Lethargic and withdrawn state

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the rental confusion, rattling sound in the throat and swollen tongue with sticky coating.

Treating Phlegm Misting the Heart

Treatment principle

Resolve Phlegm, open the Heart and the Mind’s orifices.

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

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

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

Di Tan Tang

Source date: 1470 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Removes Phlegm. Opens the sensory orifices. Tonifies Qi.

Formula summary

Di Tan Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1470 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dispel Phlegm.

Besides Phlegm Misting the Heart, Di Tan Tang is also used to treat Heart Vessel obstructed.

Read more about Di Tan Tang

Diet recommendations

As for food recommendation, it is better to avoid any dairy, chocolate, alcohol, sodas, wheat, flour products, desserts, greasy and fried foods, caffeinated foods and drinks,  cold and iced drinks and foods, raw foods, fruit and vegetable juices, salads. Avoid any processed foods, especially those with additives. Better eat rice, millet and barley, black bean soup with onions and garlic, protein and vegetables.

Take some safe and mild exercise such as walking. 

Finally try some professional psychotherapy such as cupping or moxibustion.

Consequence patterns

Qi Deficiency

Phlegm can block Qi flow and causes Qi Deficiency. 

Blood Stagnation

If Phlegm accumulates for a long time without being treated, it can give rise to Dryness and Blood Stagnation. It often happens to elderly people.