Chest heat according to Chinese Medicine

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Chest heat can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like chest heat here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here chest heat is often associated with insomnia, mouth ulcers and anxiety in the pattern “Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause chest heat.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of chest heat we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat chest heat.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause chest heat

In Chinese Medicine chest heat is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

When Yin Deficiency lasts for a long it may lead to Interior Heat

In addition to chest heat, other symptoms associated with Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency include insomnia, mouth ulcers and anxiety.

Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency is often treated with Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Softshell Turtle Shells - Bie Jia - as a key herb). Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from deficiency", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin and clears Heat".

Read more about Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency here

The Pericardium is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Pericardium in Chinese Medicine

Pericardium Fire

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi)

In addition to chest heat, other symptoms associated with Pericardium Fire include insomnia, mouth ulcers and anxiety.

Pericardium Fire is often treated with Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Xie Xin Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Fire".

Read more about Pericardium Fire here

The Small Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Small Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu)

In addition to chest heat, other symptoms associated with Full-Heat in the Small Intestine include insomnia, mouth ulcers and tongue ulcers.

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine is often treated with Dao Chi San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Akebia Stems - Mu Tong - as a key herb). Dao Chi San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears the Heart".

Read more about Full-Heat in the Small Intestine here

Four herbal formulas that might help with chest heat

Huang Lian E Jiao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Enriches the Yin. Causes Fire to descend. Eliminates irritability. Calms the spirit.

Why might Huang Lian E Jiao Tang help with chest heat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency' of which chest heat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Empty-Heat Or Fire Caused By Yin Deficiency include insomnia, mouth ulcers and anxiety.

Read more about Huang Lian E Jiao Tang here

Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxicity. Dries Dampness.

Why might Xie Xin Tang help with chest heat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Fire' of which chest heat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Pericardium Fire include insomnia, mouth ulcers and anxiety.

Read more about Xie Xin Tang here

Dao Chi San

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Heart. Promotes urination.

Why might Dao Chi San help with chest heat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Full-Heat in the Small Intestine' of which chest heat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Full-Heat In The Small Intestine include insomnia, mouth ulcers and tongue ulcers.

Read more about Dao Chi San here

Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin and clears Heat.

Why might Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang help with chest heat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency' of which chest heat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Empty-Heat Or Fire Caused By Yin Deficiency include insomnia, mouth ulcers and anxiety.

Read more about Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat chest heat

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with chest heat?

Because Goldthread Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat chest heat as a symptom, like Huang Lian E Jiao Tang or Xie Xin Tang for instance.

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here

Why might Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) help with chest heat?

Because Baikal Skullcap Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat chest heat as a symptom, like Huang Lian E Jiao Tang or Xie Xin Tang for instance.

Baikal Skullcap Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.

Read more about Baikal Skullcap Roots here

Why might Akebia Stem (Mu Tong) help with chest heat?

Because it is a key herb in Dao Chi San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Full-Heat in the Small Intestine' (a pattern with chest heat as a symptom)

Akebia Stems is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and clears Heat. Clears Heat and inflammation of the Heart. Promotes lactation. Moves and smoothes the flow of Blood. Used for painful obstruction associated with either Dampness, Blood Stagnation, Wind or Heat.

Read more about Akebia Stems here

Why might Softshell Turtle Shell (Bie Jia) help with chest heat?

Because it is a key herb in Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with chest heat as a symptom)

Softshell Turtle Shells is a Neutral herb that tastes Salty. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Nourishes Yin and subdues exuberant Yang. Resolves hardness.

Read more about Softshell Turtle Shells here

Why might Rhubarb (Da Huang) help with chest heat?

Because it is a key herb in Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Fire' (a pattern with chest heat as a symptom)

Rhubarb is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis.

Read more about Rhubarb here