Clear mucus according to Chinese Medicine

Clear mucus 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 clear mucus 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 clear mucus is often associated with fever, runny nose and sneezing in the pattern “Exterior Wind”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause clear mucus.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of clear mucus we’ve identified five 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 clear mucus.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause clear mucus

In Chinese Medicine clear mucus 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.

Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) is the king ingredient for Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San, a formula used for Exterior Wind

Exterior Wind

Pulse type(s): Floating (Fu)

In addition to clear mucus, other symptoms associated with Exterior Wind include fever, runny nose and sneezing.

Exterior Wind is often treated with Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Szechuan Lovage Roots - Chuan Xiong - as a key herb). Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San belongs to the category of "formulas that dredge and disperse external wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: " Disperses Wind".

Read more about Exterior Wind here

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wei Ling Tang, a formula used for Damp-Cold

Damp-Cold

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi), Soggy (Ru)

In addition to clear mucus, other symptoms associated with Damp-Cold include fever, runny nose and sneezing.

Damp-Cold is often treated with Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wei Ling Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination".

Read more about Damp-Cold here

Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) is the king ingredient for Jing Fang Bai Du San, a formula used for Wind-Cold

Wind-Cold

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

In addition to clear mucus, other symptoms associated with Wind-Cold include fever, runny nose and sneezing.

Wind-Cold is often treated with Jing Fang Bai Du San, a herbal formula made of 13 herbs (including Japanese Catnip - Jing Jie - as a key herb). Jing Fang Bai Du San belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Wind-Cold here

Five herbal formulas that might help with clear mucus

Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind. Removes pain .

Why might Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San help with clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Exterior Wind' of which clear mucus is a symptom.

Read more about Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San here

Wei Ling Tang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wei Ling Tang help with clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' of which white watery mucus is a symptom.

Read more about Wei Ling Tang here

Jing Fang Bai Du San

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 13 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Dispels Wind and Dampness. Augments Qi.

Why might Jing Fang Bai Du San help with clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold' of which white watery mucus is a symptom.

Read more about Jing Fang Bai Du San here

Cong Chi Tang

Source date: 3rd Centry

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Unblocks the Yang Qi (Defensive Qi) in the Exterior . Induces sweating .

Why might Cong Chi Tang help with clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold' of which white watery mucus is a symptom.

Read more about Cong Chi Tang here

Huo Ren Cong Shi Tang

Source date: 1108 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Unblocks the Yang Qi (Defensive Qi) in the Exterior . Induces sweating .

Why might Huo Ren Cong Shi Tang help with clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold' of which white watery mucus is a symptom.

Read more about Huo Ren Cong Shi Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat clear mucus

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with clear mucus?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Ma Huang Tang for instance.

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

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 Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with clear mucus?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San or Jing Fang Bai Du San for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Ephedra (Ma Huang) help with clear mucus?

Because Ephedra is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Ma Huang Tang or Wu Ji San for instance.

Ephedra is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Bladder and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Releases the surface through sweating. Promotes the circulation of Lung Qi and stop wheezing. Promotes urination.

Read more about Ephedra here

Why might Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with clear mucus?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Shi Shen Tang or Jia Wei Xiang Su San for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with clear mucus?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Jin Fei Cao San or Jia Wei Xiang Su San for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here