Feeling of oppression of the chest

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Feeling of oppression of the chest 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 oppression of the chest 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 oppression of the chest is often associated with dizziness, feeling of heaviness and feeling of cold in chest in the pattern “Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause feeling of oppression of the chest.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of feeling of oppression of the chest 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 feeling of oppression of the chest.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause feeling of oppression of the chest

In Chinese Medicine feeling of oppression of the chest is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi)

In addition to feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs include dizziness, feeling of heaviness and feeling of cold in chest.

Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs is often treated with Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Poria-Cocos Mushrooms - Fu Ling - as a key herb). Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm and transform water and dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids".

Read more about Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs here

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

Heart Vessel obstructed

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Knotted (Jie), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Heart Vessel obstructed include palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath.

Heart Vessel obstructed is often treated with Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates the Blood".

Read more about Heart Vessel obstructed here

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

Heart Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Empty (Xu)

In addition to feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Heart Qi Stagnation include palpitations, nausea and shortness of breath.

Heart Qi Stagnation 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 Heart Qi Stagnation here

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

Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart include palpitations, red face and aphasia.

Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart is often treated with Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Huang Lian Wen Dan 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: "Clears Hot Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart here

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

Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium include palpitations, red face and chest pain.

Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium is often treated with Wen Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Wen Dan 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: "Clears Hot-Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium here

Five herbal formulas that might help with feeling of oppression of the chest

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 feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs' of which feeling of oppression of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Cold-Phlegm In The Lungs include dizziness, feeling of heaviness and feeling of cold in chest.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang here

Dang Gui Si Ni Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Channels. Disperses Cold. Nourishes the Blood. Unblocks the Blood vessels.

Why might Dang Gui Si Ni Tang help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Vessel obstructed' of which feeling of oppression of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heart Vessel Obstructed include palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath.

Read more about Dang Gui Si Ni Tang 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 oppression of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Qi Stagnation' of which feeling of oppression of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heart Qi Stagnation include palpitations, nausea and shortness of breath.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1852 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder Heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart' of which feeling of oppression of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Fire Harassing The Heart include palpitations, red face and aphasia.

Read more about Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang here

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Wen Dan Tang help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium' of which feeling of oppression of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Fire Harassing The Pericardium include palpitations, red face and chest pain.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat feeling of oppression of the chest

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of oppression of the chest as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Dang Gui Si Ni Tang 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 Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of oppression of the chest as a symptom, like Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang or Wen Dan Tang for instance.

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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of oppression of the chest as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Ban Xia Hou Pu 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 Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of oppression of the chest as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang for instance.

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

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 White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of oppression of the chest as a symptom, like Dang Gui Si Ni Tang or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Other symptoms often associated with feeling of oppression of the chest

Palpitations Red face Chest pain Nausea Dizziness Shortness of breath Purple lips Aphasia Rattling sound in the throat Depression