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 cold hands 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 cold hands.

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

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 feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include palpitations, depression and dizziness.

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

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

Coco-Grass Rhizomes (Xiang Fu) is the king ingredient for Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a formula used for Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus

Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

In addition to feeling of oppression of the chest, other symptoms associated with Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus include overweight, obesity and loose stools.

Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus is often treated with Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Coco-Grass Rhizomes - Xiang Fu - as a key herb). Cang Fu Dao Tan Wan 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: "Resolves Dampness and Phlegm".

Read more about Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus 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 cold hands.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang here

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm include palpitations, depression and dizziness.

Read more about Er Chen 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

Wan Dai Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies the Middle Burner. Removes Dampness. Stops vaginal discharge. Strengthens the Spleen.

Why might Wan Dai Tang help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Phlegm In The Uterus include overweight, obesity and loose stools.

Read more about Wan Dai 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 Er Chen 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 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 Wu Ling 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 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 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 Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with feeling of oppression of the chest?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of oppression of the chest as a symptom, like Wan Dai Tang or Yue Ju Wan 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

Other symptoms often associated with feeling of oppression of the chest

Palpitations Red face Depression Dizziness Nausea Purple lips Chest pain Purple nails Feeling of heaviness Shortness of breath