Chest pressure according to Chinese Medicine

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Chest pressure 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 pressure 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 pressure is often associated with dizziness, poor appetite and depression in the pattern “Phlegm”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause chest pressure.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of chest pressure we’ve identified three 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 pressure.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause chest pressure

In Chinese Medicine chest pressure is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.

In addition to chest pressure, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include dizziness, poor appetite and depression.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Late Menstruation or Scanty Menstruation.

Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

In addition to chest pressure, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat include dizziness, poor appetite and dry mouth.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Damp-Heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Damp-Heat is often treated with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

Three herbal formulas that might help with chest pressure

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Strengthens the Spleen. Resolves Dampness.

Why might Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang help with chest pressure?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which chest pressure is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Morning Sickness.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang here

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San help with chest pressure?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which chest pressure is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Damp-Heat can contribute to many health issues, including Intermenstrual Bleeding.

Read more about Ba Zheng San here

Xiao Ban Xia Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Alleviates and removes thin mucus. Directs rebellious Qi downward. Stops vomiting. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Xiao Ban Xia Tang help with chest pressure?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which chest pressure is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Morning Sickness.

Read more about Xiao Ban Xia Tang here

Acupuncture points used for chest pressure

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

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with chest pressure?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat chest pressure as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Ba Zheng San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with chest pressure?

Because it is a key herb in Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with chest pressure as a symptom)

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with chest pressure?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Ban Xia Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with chest pressure as a symptom)

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Knotgrass (Bian Xu) help with chest pressure?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with chest pressure as a symptom)

Knotgrass is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Bladder.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat and encourages urination. Drains Dampness and stops itching. Kills parasites.

Read more about Knotgrass here

Why might Chinese Pink Herb (Qu Mai) help with chest pressure?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with chest pressure as a symptom)

Chinese Pink Herbs is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Bladder, the Heart and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and expels Damp-Heat. Dissolves Blood Stasis and assists blocked menstruation.

Read more about Chinese Pink Herbs here

Conditions associated with chest pressure

Intermenstrual bleeding Morning sickness