Stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

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Stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium 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 stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium 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 stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is often associated with nausea, vomiting and palpitations in the pattern “Damp-Cold Phlegm”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium 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 stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

In Chinese Medicine stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom for 2 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-Cold Phlegm

Damp-Cold Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

In addition to stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium, other symptoms associated with Damp-Cold Phlegm include nausea, vomiting and palpitations.

Damp-Cold 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-Cold Phlegm here

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

Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner

In addition to stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner include nausea, vomiting and coughing of copious thin and white sputum.

Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner is often treated with Liu Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Liu Jun Zi 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".

Read more about Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner here

Two herbal formulas that might help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

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 stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold Phlegm' of which stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Cold Phlegm include nausea, vomiting and palpitations.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner' of which stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Dampness In The Middle-Burner include nausea, vomiting and coughing of copious thin and white sputum.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

Why might Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi 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 stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium 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 Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium 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 Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner' (a pattern with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom)

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here