Focal distention of the chest according to Chinese Medicine

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Focal distention 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 focal distention 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 focal distention of the chest is often associated with bitter taste in the mouth, constipation and dizziness in the pattern “Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause focal distention of the chest.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause focal distention of the chest

In Chinese Medicine focal distention 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 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 focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire include bitter taste in the mouth, constipation and dizziness.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps or Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

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 Bladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Bladder in Chinese Medicine

Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

In addition to focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat include bitter taste in the mouth, coughing of copious thick yellow sputum and palpitations.

Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat 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 Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat here

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

Phlegm Heat in the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

In addition to focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Phlegm Heat in the Lungs include bitter taste in the mouth, coughing of copious thick yellow sputum and chest pain.

Phlegm Heat in the Lungs is often treated with Xiao Xian Xiong Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Snake Gourds - Gua Lou - as a key herb). Xiao Xian Xiong Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat".

Read more about Phlegm Heat in the Lungs here

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

Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

In addition to focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation include poor appetite, coughing and wheezing with copious sputum and digestive difficulties.

Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation is often treated with San Zi Yang Qin Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including White Mustard Seeds - Bai Jie Zi - as a key herb). San Zi Yang Qin Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm and transform phlegm-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Directs the Qi downward".

Read more about Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation here

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

Heat in Gall Bladder

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Heat in Gall Bladder include bitter taste in the mouth, nausea and mild chills alternating with pronounced fever.

Heat in Gall Bladder is often treated with Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Sweet Wormwood Herbs - Qing Hao - as a key herb). Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder".

Read more about Heat in Gall Bladder here

Five herbal formulas that might help with focal distention of the chest

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 focal distention of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi Stagnation in Gallbladder and Stomach with Phlegm Heat' of which focal distention of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi Stagnation In Gallbladder And Stomach With Phlegm Heat include bitter taste in the mouth, coughing of copious thick yellow sputum and palpitations.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Xiao Xian Xiong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Phlegm. Expands the chest. Dissipates clumps.

Why might Xiao Xian Xiong Tang help with focal distention of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm Heat in the Lungs' of which focal distention of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Heat In The Lungs include bitter taste in the mouth, coughing of copious thick yellow sputum and chest pain.

Read more about Xiao Xian Xiong Tang here

San Zi Yang Qin Tang

Source date: 1856 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Directs the Qi downward. Transforms Phlegm. Reduces harbored food.

Why might San Zi Yang Qin Tang help with focal distention of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm clogging the Lungs with Qi Stagnation' of which focal distention of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm Clogging The Lungs With Qi Stagnation include poor appetite, coughing and wheezing with copious sputum and digestive difficulties.

Read more about San Zi Yang Qin Tang here

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 focal distention of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire' of which focal distention of the chest is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire can contribute to many health issues, including Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Read more about Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San here

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Source date: Qing Dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder. Relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes. Resolves Phlegm. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang help with focal distention of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat in Gall Bladder' of which focal distention of the chest is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heat In Gall Bladder include bitter taste in the mouth, nausea and mild chills alternating with pronounced fever.

Read more about Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat focal distention of the chest

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with focal distention of the chest?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat focal distention of the chest as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi 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 focal distention of the chest?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat focal distention of the chest as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Er Chen 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 focal distention of the chest?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat focal distention of the chest as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi 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 Baikal Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) help with focal distention of the chest?

Because Baikal Skullcap Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat focal distention of the chest as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang for instance.

Baikal Skullcap Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat and Dampness. Clears Upper Burner Heat, especially of the Lung. Clears Heat and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears pathogenic Heat which is upsetting the fetus. Cools the Liver, reducing Liver Yang rising syndrome.

Read more about Baikal Skullcap Roots here

Why might Immature Bitter Orange (Zhi Shi) help with focal distention of the chest?

Because Immature Bitter Orange is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat focal distention of the chest as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Da Cheng Qi Tang for instance.

Immature Bitter Oranges is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter, Pungent and Sour. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Large intestine.

Its main actions are: Regulates the flow of Qi in the Middle Burner and reduces Food Stagnation. Moves Qi downward and helps constipation. Reduces Stagnant Phlegm and lessens distention and pain. For prolapse of organs when used with the appropriate herbs.

Read more about Immature Bitter Oranges here