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 nausea, fatigue and sticky taste in the mouth in the pattern “Damp-Phlegm”. 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.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Damp-Phlegm

Damp-Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

In addition to focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Damp-Phlegm include nausea, fatigue and sticky taste in the mouth.

Damp-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 Damp-Phlegm here

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, palpitations and anxiety.

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

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to focal distention of the chest, other symptoms associated with Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency include poor appetite, dizziness and fatigue.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency is often treated with Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Milkvetch Roots - Huang Qi - as a key herb). Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner)".

Read more about Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency 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

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 focal distention of the chest?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Phlegm include nausea, fatigue and sticky taste in the mouth.

Read more about Er Chen 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 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, palpitations and anxiety.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang here

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1675 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Spleen and Stomach Qi. Removes Dampness. Moves Qi. Alleviates pain.

Why might Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang help with focal distention of the chest?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency' of which focal distention of the chest is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Spontaneous Flow Of Breast Milk.

Read more about Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi 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 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 Xiang Sha 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 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 Xiang Sha 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 Er Chen 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 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

Conditions associated with focal distention of the chest

Spontaneous flow of breast milk Low breast milk supply

Other symptoms often associated with focal distention of the chest

Bitter taste in the mouth Nausea Constipation Poor appetite Dizziness Chest pain Fatigue Bloodshot eyes Headaches Palpitations