Clear mucus according to Chinese Medicine

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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 poor appetite, depression and belching in the pattern “Phlegm”. 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 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 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.

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 clear mucus, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include poor appetite, depression and belching.

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

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 feeling of cold, fever and runny nose.

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

Four herbal formulas that might help with clear mucus

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 clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which clear mucus 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

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 clear mucus is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Cold include feeling of cold, fever and runny nose.

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 clear mucus is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Cold include fever, runny nose and sneezing.

Read more about Jing Fang Bai Du San here

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 clear mucus?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which clear mucus 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

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

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with clear mucus?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Wei Ling Tang for instance.

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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with clear mucus?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat clear mucus as a symptom, like Wei Ling Tang or Jing Fang Bai Du 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 Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) help with clear mucus?

Because it is a key herb in Jing Fang Bai Du San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold' (a pattern with clear mucus as a symptom)

Japanese Catnip is a Neutral herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold or Heat depending on the other herbs used. Releases the Exterior for measles. Stops bleeding. Abates swellings.

Read more about Japanese Catnip here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with clear mucus?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Ban Xia Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with clear mucus 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 Black Atractylodes Rhizome (Cang Zhu) help with clear mucus?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Ling Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold' (a pattern with clear mucus as a symptom)

Black Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Dries Damp and tonifies the Spleen. Relieves the Exterior for invasion of Wind-Cold-Damp. Relieves Wind-Damp painful obstruction. Dries Damp for either Damp-Cold or Damp-Heat when combined with the correct herbs. Clears the eyes and improves sight.

Read more about Black Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Conditions associated with clear mucus

Morning sickness