Feeling of lump in the throat according to Chinese Medicine

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Feeling of lump in the throat 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 feeling of lump in the throat 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 feeling of lump in the throat is often associated with depression, irritability and irregular menstruation in the pattern “Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause feeling of lump in the throat.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of feeling of lump in the throat 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 feeling of lump in the throat.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause feeling of lump in the throat

In Chinese Medicine feeling of lump in the throat is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Red points on the sides

This pattern develops from Liver Qi Stagnation, which creates excessive amount of Heat and then turn into Liver Fire. The Heat is more intense here.

In addition to feeling of lump in the throat, other symptoms associated with Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire include depression, irritability and irregular menstruation.

Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire is often treated with Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Mudan Peony Bark - Mu Dan Pi - as a key herb). Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear liver-heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi".

Read more about Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire here

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. The feeling of ‘Distension’ (zhang 胀) is the main symptom of Liver Qi Stagnation.

In addition to feeling of lump in the throat, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include depression, irritability and irregular menstruation.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Liver Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a formula used for Qi-Phlegm

Qi-Phlegm

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

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Also often called "plum-stone" or "plum-pit" syndrome, the main characteristic of Qi-Phlegm is a feeling of swelling in the throat and a swallowing difficulty. It typically originates from emotional problems and it appears and disappears according to mood swings.

In addition to feeling of lump in the throat, other symptoms associated with Qi-Phlegm include depression, irritability and mood swings.

Qi-Phlegm is often treated with Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that promote qi movement", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm".

Read more about Qi-Phlegm here

Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) is the king ingredient for Xiao Yao San, a formula used for Qi Stagnation

Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Red sides

Qi Stagnation refers to Qi becoming stuck or stagnant, a bit like a traffic jam on the freeway. This restricted flow of Qi can be body-wide or happen in any specific Organ.

In addition to feeling of lump in the throat, other symptoms associated with Qi Stagnation include depression, irritability and irregular menstruation.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation.

Qi Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Qi Stagnation here

Four herbal formulas that might help with feeling of lump in the throat

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Source date: 2002 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.

Why might Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire' of which feeling of lump in the throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stagnant Liver Qi Turning Into Fire include depression, irritability and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation' of which feeling of lump in the throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Qi Stagnation include depression, irritability and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm. Clears Phlegm.

Why might Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' of which feeling of lump in the throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi-Phlegm include depression, irritability and mood swings.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Why might Chai Hu Shu Gan San help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi Stagnation' of which feeling of lump in the throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi Stagnation include depression, irritability and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat feeling of lump in the throat

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of lump in the throat as a symptom, like Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of lump in the throat as a symptom, like Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for instance.

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

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of lump in the throat as a symptom, like Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San or Xiao Yao San for instance.

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of lump in the throat as a symptom, like Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with feeling of lump in the throat?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of lump in the throat as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan 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