Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire

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At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 肝郁化火      Pinyin name: Gān Yù Huà Huǒ

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Heat or Fire

Causes

Precursor patterns: Liver Qi Stagnation Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation

Common causes: 1. Emotional stress, 2. Diet, 3. Overwork

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Thirst Red face Moodiness Melancholy Depression and eleven other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: Red on the sides

Treatment

Treatment principle: Smooth the Liver, move Qi, clear Heat.

Common formulas: Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Pathology

This pattern develops from Liver Qi Stagnation, which creates excessive amount of Heat and then turn into Liver Heat. It manifests with a feeling of heat, a red face and desire to drink.

From a mental emotional perspective, patients tend to be irritable, anxious, moody and prone to outbursts of anger. This differs from Liver Qi Stagnation where patients are more able to repress their anger.

Causes

Precursor patterns: Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire can derive from Liver Qi Stagnation Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation

Emotional stress: Prolonged suppressed or overly expressed frustration, anger or resentment can largely disturb the normal Qi circulation and cause Qi Stagnation in the Liver, which then turns into Heat or Fire.

Diet: Unhealthy diet rich in stimulants, drugs, fatty and oily foods, recreational drugs, alcohol, coffee, black tea can give to Liver Qi Stagnation, which then turns into Heat or Fire.

Overwork: Overwork without sufficient rest over a long term can cause this Liver Qi Stagnation, which then turns into Heat or Fire.

Diagnosing Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: Red on the sides

Main symptoms: Thirst Red face Moodiness Melancholy Depression Irritability Heavy periods Feeling of heat Outbursts of anger Premenstrual tension Epigastric distension Irregular menstruation Hypochondrial distention Feeling of lump in the throat Premenstrual breast distension Feeling of oppression of the chest

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the feeling of distension and heat, irritability and wiry pulse.

Treating Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire

Treatment principle

Smooth the Liver, move Qi, clear Heat.

Herbal formulas used to treat Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Source date: 2002 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.

Formula summary

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 2002 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Liver-Heat.

Besides Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is also used to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency or Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire.

Read more about Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Diet recommendations

Avoid excessive hot-energy foods (such as red meat, spices and alcohol) 

Try other therapies such as cupping over the back and breathing exercises. 

Most importantly find a way to deal with negative emotions like anger, frustration, resentment, irritability, mood swings. It is better to express and release them instead of keeping them inside. Find a job or hobby that is enjoyable or fulfilling. 

Avoid mental over-work, physical over-exertion or excessive sexual activity. Take proper rest after all these exercises or work. Try going to bed before 11 pm. 

Try regular exercises such as Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong, swimming, dancing or walking in the nature.

Consequence patterns

Heart Fire blazing

Liver Fire can causes Heart Fire, because the Liver is the mother of the Heart according to the Five Phases Theory. Emotional stress such as anger, frustration or resentment can affect the Liver greatly and causes Liver Fire. However, it is the Heart that can feel these emotions as it houses the Mind. Therefore, Liver Fire can transform to Heart Fire.