Laryngitis according to Chinese Medicine

chronic laryngitis redirects here

Laryngitis 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 laryngitis 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 laryngitis is often associated with difficulty swallowing and stuffiness of chest and diaphragm in the pattern “Qi-Phlegm”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause laryngitis.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause laryngitis

In Chinese Medicine laryngitis is a symptom for 3 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 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 laryngitis, other symptoms associated with Qi-Phlegm include difficulty swallowing and stuffiness of chest and diaphragm.

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

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

Lung Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Exterior Heat and Dryness invades the Lungs and exhausts the Body Fluids. It eventually leads to Lung Yin Deficiency, if not intervened for a long time.

In addition to laryngitis, other symptoms associated with Lung Yin Deficiency include chest pain, shortness of breath and weak voice.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Lung Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation.

Lung Yin Deficiency is often treated with Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Unprepared Rehmannia - Di Huang - as a key herb). Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that enrich yin and moisten dryness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Lung Yin Deficiency here

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

Stomach Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Stomach Yin Deficiency causes Dryness and Heat, which harms the Organ's ability of receiving and ripening foods and drinks. It is the result of prolonged unbalanced diet and irregular eating habits.

In addition to laryngitis, other symptoms associated with Stomach Yin Deficiency include poor appetite.

Stomach Yin Deficiency is often treated with Mai Men Dong Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Dwarf Lilyturf Roots - Mai Dong - as a key herb). Mai Men Dong Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that enrich yin and moisten dryness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Stomach".

Read more about Stomach Yin Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with laryngitis

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 laryngitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' of which laryngitis is a symptom.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang

Source date: the 18th century

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Improves throat. Resolves toxicity. Clears the Lungs.

Why might Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang help with laryngitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' of which laryngitis is a symptom.

Read more about Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang here

Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang

Source date: 1658 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears dryness. Moistens the Lungs.

Why might Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang help with laryngitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' of which laryngitis is a symptom.

Read more about Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang here

Mai Men Dong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Stomach. Generates Body Fluids. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Mai Men Dong Tang help with laryngitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Yin Deficiency' of which laryngitis is a symptom.

Read more about Mai Men Dong Tang here

Yi Wei Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Strengthen the Stomach. Creates Body Fluids.

Why might Yi Wei Tang help with laryngitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Yin Deficiency' of which laryngitis is a symptom.

Read more about Yi Wei Tang here

Acupuncture points used for laryngitis

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat laryngitis

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with laryngitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with laryngitis as a symptom)

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

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 Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with laryngitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with laryngitis as a symptom)

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with laryngitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with laryngitis as a symptom)

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

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 Perilla Leaf (Zi Su Ye) help with laryngitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with laryngitis as a symptom)

Perilla Leaves is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Promotes the circulation of Spleen and Stomach Qi. Calms a restless fetus. Detoxifies seafood poisoning

Read more about Perilla Leaves here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with laryngitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with laryngitis as a symptom)

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here