Mild chest pain according to Chinese Medicine

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Mild chest pain 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 mild chest pain 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 mild chest pain is often associated with palpitations, stifling sensation in the chest and red face in the pattern “Pericardium Fire”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause mild chest pain.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of mild chest pain we’ve identified three herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the four medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat mild chest pain.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause mild chest pain

In Chinese Medicine mild chest pain 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.

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

Pericardium Fire

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi)

In addition to mild chest pain, other symptoms associated with Pericardium Fire include palpitations, stifling sensation in the chest and red face.

Pericardium Fire is often treated with Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Xie Xin Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Drains Fire".

Read more about Pericardium Fire here

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

Pericardium Qi Stagnation

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

In addition to mild chest pain, other symptoms associated with Pericardium Qi Stagnation include palpitations, stifling sensation in the chest and shortness of breath.

Pericardium 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 Pericardium Qi Stagnation here

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

Wind-Heat entering the Lungs

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to mild chest pain, other symptoms associated with Wind-Heat entering the Lungs include cough with foul-smelling sputum and dry and scaly skin.

Wind-Heat entering the Lungs is often treated with Wei Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Common Reed Rhizomes - Lu Gen - as a key herb). Wei Jing Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears heat from the Lungs".

Read more about Wind-Heat entering the Lungs here

Three herbal formulas that might help with mild chest pain

Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxicity. Dries Dampness.

Why might Xie Xin Tang help with mild chest pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Fire' of which mild chest pain is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Pericardium Fire include palpitations, stifling sensation in the chest and red face.

Read more about Xie Xin 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 mild chest pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Qi Stagnation' of which mild chest pain is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Pericardium Qi Stagnation include palpitations, stifling sensation in the chest and shortness of breath.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

Wei Jing Tang

Source date: 627 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat from the Lungs. Transforms Phlegm. Drives out Blood-Stagnation. Discharges pus.

Why might Wei Jing Tang help with mild chest pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Heat entering the Lungs' of which mild chest pain is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Heat Entering The Lungs include cough with foul-smelling sputum and dry and scaly skin.

Read more about Wei Jing Tang here

The four Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat mild chest pain

Why might Rhubarb (Da Huang) help with mild chest pain?

Because it is a key herb in Xie Xin Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Fire' (a pattern with mild chest pain as a symptom)

Rhubarb is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis.

Read more about Rhubarb here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with mild chest pain?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Qi Stagnation' (a pattern with mild chest pain as a symptom)

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 Common Reed Rhizome (Lu Gen) help with mild chest pain?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Jing Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Wind-Heat entering the Lungs' (a pattern with mild chest pain as a symptom)

Common Reed Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and promotes the generation of Fluids. Dispels Lung Heat. Dispels Stomach Heat. Promotes urination and clears Heat in the urinary tract. Calm the minds and stop vomiting.

Read more about Common Reed Rhizomes here

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with mild chest pain?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Pericardium Qi Stagnation' (a pattern with mild chest pain as a symptom)

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

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