Sputum in the chest according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Sputum in the chest

Sputum in 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 sputum in 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 sputum in the chest is often associated with dizziness, irritability and depression in the pattern “Phlegm”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of sputum in the chest we’ve identified two 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 sputum in the chest.

Phlegm, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause sputum in the chest

In Chinese Medicine sputum in the chest is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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 sputum in the chest, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include dizziness, irritability and depression.

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

Two herbal formulas that might help with sputum in 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 sputum in the chest?

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

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Menopausal Syndrome.

Read more about Wen Dan 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 sputum in the chest?

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

According to Chinese Medicine, Phlegm can contribute to many health issues, including Menopausal Syndrome.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat sputum in the chest

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with sputum in the chest?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sputum in the chest as a symptom, like Wen Dan Tang or Ban Xia Hou Pu 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with sputum in the chest?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sputum in the chest as a symptom, like Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang or Wen Dan Tang for instance.

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

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

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with sputum in the chest?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sputum in the chest as a symptom, like Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang or Wen Dan 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 Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with sputum in the chest?

Because it is a key herb in Yue Ju Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with sputum in the chest as a symptom)

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with sputum in the chest?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with sputum in the chest 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

Conditions associated with sputum in the chest

Menopausal syndrome

Other symptoms often associated with sputum in the chest

Dizziness Night sweats Hot flushes Tinnitus Dry throat Malar flush Sore back Dry mouth Dry skin Constipation